While I'm sure that some businesses out there put social sharing buttons on their marketing emails only because their competitors do, the vast majority of businesses that use this practice realize that there are some powerful benefits to doing so. Simply making your emails more visual is an obvious one. Giving your audience a chance to share is a powerful second. These other positive benefits can help with your brand and customer engagement as a whole.
See an Increase in Click-Through Rates
Some have estimated as much as a 158% increase in click-through rates for emails with social sharing buttons versus emails without social sharing. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter buttons tend to have the highest engagement rates. Others estimate that number to be about 115% (which is still certainly not a bad statistic). So regardless of what other benefits are on this list, the evidence that this increases click-through rates alone may be enough to inspire you.
Bring Customers Further Down Into the Sales Funnel
Customers don't always go straight from an email to a sale. Often, an email is an invitation to engage further with some other aspect of your brand. When you have social media buttons, you're attempting to engage with those customers higher in the sales funnel (customers who are curious about your brand but not ready to buy yet) by giving them an invitation to your free and interesting content. Unlike with email, which feels to the modern consumer more like advertising, they can build a relationship with you on Facebook or Twitter. Then, when they're ready to make a purchase in the consideration stage, you'll be the first brand that comes to mind.
Improve Your Social Media Metrics
Your aim for social media campaigns shouldn't be to gain nameless followers but to gain the followers who would be your brand evangelists and best customers. If you have a good and accurate email list of current, past, and potential customers, invite them to swim in the pool of positivity social media can be. Social media is all about relationships, and you already have relationships with many of the people you email. Invite these current customers to be followers so that your social media team has a chance of getting in touch with that awesome list of emails. While a social media department may have the capability to find people with a list of emails, they might not have the most accurate or up-to-date data, and many people may use a different email address than the one that's associated with their social media accounts. Don't be greedy; sharing is caring.
Enjoy a Possible Side-Benefit of Better SEO
Your entire site benefits, for search engine optimization (or SEO) reasons, when your site's social media is managed effectively. If you have more followers and social media engagements, that tends to help the site rank better. Organic traffic as a whole can then go up, which would then attract more new visitors. And then hopefully you can bring in more customers!
Use Email and Social Media Together and With More Control
If you've relied heavily on emails to serve the functions of social media or visa-versa, it's time to use both avenues of communication for their intended purposes more effectively. Often, businesses will opt to use both. Newsletters flaunting blog posts, sales promotions, and new product announcements, for instance, can be promoted or hinted at both on social media and in emails. As long as the content is not entirely duplicate, customers will be interested. All in all, though, the left hand should know what the right hand is doing, and your email marketing team and social media team should be working together to create one voice.