I read an interesting post from J. Owyang "Email: The First - and Largest - Social Network" a few days ago and thought to add my two cents.
When I started out in online marketing, email marketing was one of my top job functions. From newsletters to direct offers, I was responsible for campaigns to millions of customers and prospects. After several years deploying email (and campaign sites), the next logical step for me was social media, online communities and/or online networking.
After years working with email, it only made sense to me that those I was connecting with should connect with each other as well. How was this done?
1. Survey your customers and prospects via email. Try to connect those with the same responses, questions and thoughts - to try to work out a solution. Better yet, find someone who has the solution and make the connection. (I did this during my conference days).
2. Within an email newsletter, ask readers for their opinions and have them post it within a branded community.
3. Within a direct email (based on database preferences), inform customers and prospects of live web broadcasting or podcasting where they can ask their questions and share with the community.
I am looking forward to further migration of email and socia media. From a marketing point of view, it will be a great way to spread relevant messages (good offers) and get the word out!