As social media continues to grow, content creators have the opportunity to grow right along with the platforms that they engage with every day. Whether you're using Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Pinterest, the chances of cultivating a community are high. While those platforms are amazing and valuable for growing your community, here's a tool I feel like quite a bit of creators sleep on when it comes to their growth strategy: Newsletters!
I'm going to jump in and tell you how having a newsletter can help you grow your community as it helped me grow mine. I'm an award-winning photographer, brand strategist, and digital content creator based out of Phoenix, Arizona, and incorporating a newsletter into my strategy was key to growth.
But first, I want to tell you the most important reason why having a newsletter can be such a growth strategy game-changer: Having a newsletter email list creates a direct connection between you and your community.
By having a list of subscribers, you are taking agency over your community. That means if there is a new social media platform that becomes all the rage or a social media platform suddenly experiences a blackout or disappears completely, you still have a direct connection to your community. Take Meta, for example. In March 2019, Meta and its platforms, Facebook and Instagram, experienced a day-long outage. This was scary for a lot of people who depend on these platforms for their careers.
Now imagine those platforms never came back. How do you get in touch with the hundreds, thousands, or tens-of-thousands of people who follow you? You send them an email newsletter updating them on where they can find you next.
In addition to keeping track of your community, having a newsletter is also valuable for engaging with your community in a different way. Hearing "different" probably sounds a bit scary right now, and with the way we're all trying to keep up with algorithms and trends on the platforms we're already on, learning a new platform and a new strategy can feel overwhelming. Here's the thing: It's your newsletter. Your growth strategy. That means you can do as little or as much as you'd like.
Here are my top tips for creating a newsletter growth strategy.
Find a newsletter platform that works for you
Use a platform that allows you to create a workflow that makes sense for you. A workflow is all the steps involved in taking something from its inception to its completion. In a newsletter setting, a workflow contains all of the individual things you want to happen for a specific group of subscribers, or everyone. For example, my "Welcome" workflow will initiate with a pre-written welcome email. In about three days, it will automatically send another email, and so on. This really makes consistency and communication fairly easy.
I like using Flodesk for my newsletter. It's easy, looks great, and supports the kind of workflow I want. This has been a great way for me to get personal with my community. You can use a welcome email to introduce yourself, share some of your best posts, and even direct everyone to all the sites and social media platforms you want them to follow you on.
Now, I know you're probably wondering, "How do I even begin to get people to sign up for my newsletter?" Offering your community an incentive for signing up for your email newsletter is very helpful. Here's an example that has proved to be successful for me: I created a printable document that my community can use to help organize their pantry. To receive that document, people have to sign up for my newsletter.
I also have other incentives, like free photo filters or presets (presets are a base for creating the image look you ultimately want to achieve), a fertility-information document that I partnered with an amazing OBGYN to create, and a printable daily planner. Having a signup link in the bio portion of your social media profile is another great newsletter strategy to drive people to subscribe.
Integrate pop-ups onto your website
If you have a blog or website, you can likely set up a pop-up window that will prompt your visitors to sign up for your newsletter.
Send out new and existing content
In addition to being a great tool to give back to your community through incentives, newsletters are also a great way to expand your reach. Here are a few ways you can continue to stay in contact with your audience:
- Send a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly recap of your content
- Send an email every time you publish a new blog post
- Share special campaigns you want to bring awareness to
Schedule your emails
Another thing to consider is scheduling pre-written emails that will be sent automatically to your list of subscribers. If you have a list of books that you swear by, you can make that an email that goes out a week after someone subscribes. You can also schedule reminders for events, products, or services that you offer. Whatever it is that you want to communicate to your community, you can do so in a way that isn't overwhelming or "spammy."
Have a personal touch
This is my favorite growth strategy, and the one that has helped me grow my community the most. I occasionally send check-in messages. I make it personal by asking how my community is and inviting people to respond to me. I'll share my thoughts on something that may be in the headlines, or I'll start a conversation.
Think of it as getting your thoughts out and sending them to everyone in your community. I get so many responses—and I take the time to respond back. I even get emails from people who aren't subscribed to my newsletter but happen to have my email forwarded from someone who is. And so, my list of newsletter subscribers—and my audience—continues to grow.
We know that social media is a great tool for growth. We also know that it is constantly changing. Whether it's a new platform, an older one, or even one that promises to be around forever, we just don't know what's to come. What we do know is that through email newsletters, we can secure the ability to communicate with our communities. So go build your lists, get to know your community, and share the content you work so hard to create!