By Mark Brodsky

There are two main differences between the people you’re connected to using email and those you who liked or who followed you on social media:

  1. When someone gives you their email address, whether it’s in person or they have signed up for your mailing list online, you own that information.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn own the contacts you’re connected with on those sites. It’s unlikely that Facebook is going to shut down, but with the recent Facebook data scare, a few people are going to deactivate their profiles. If that’s your only point of contact for them, they will no longer see your posts. If you had their email address, this wouldn’t be an issue.

  1. Roughly 95 to 97 per cent of people on your email list will see the email you sent in their inbox. With social media, you’re depending on the channel to push out your content. The organic reach on Facebook (the people who will see any average post without you paying for it) is roughly at one to two per cent.


Social media is a great tool for building awareness, but you can also use it to ask people for their email address. The easiest way to do this is by using a professional email marketing program like Constant Contact or MailChimp. Having an account with one of these systems will automate the process and give you the links you need to put things in place. Once it’s set up, you don’t have to spend any time managing it.

Facebook offers two options on your page for growing your list. You can use a “Join my list” app, depending on which email marketing system you’re using, and there’s a Call to Action button underneath your Facebook banner photo. Change that to “Sign up” and you’re on your way to building your list!

If you’re on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn (and you should be on LinkedIn!), include a link in your bio. Someone new may have found you online, but if they want to get your information via email, give them that option.

When you share your email newsletter on social media, include a link to allow your followers to sign up and let people know they can receive the email directly, just by clicking that link.

Take advantage of social media advertising – target an ad toward people in the neighbourhood or city you want to reach and ask them to sign up for your email list. It helps if you can offer something in exchange, which can be as simple as information about what people need to know about buying or selling in this market. You can always offer a prize unrelated to your business, but you risk building your list with people who aren’t genuinely interested in your business – they just want the prize.

Email and social media can be complementary tools when they’re used well.

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