How to get more email subscribers to follow you on social media

By Sophia Skinbjerg |

The social media landscape is constantly changing so trends never stay still for very long. Right now, businesses big and small know that they need to be on social channels but what’s not yet certain is how companies can better leverage their social use to grow their customer base. Let’s explore how social can work within your email marketing strategy so that more subscribers follow you on social media.

Disclaimer: Not all of the following examples come from Ungapped users. They are used as examples because they are good illustrations of the ideas and tactics covered in this post.


How do people currently use social within email campaigns?

I’m always paying close attention to how our customers (and non-customers) use social media within mailings and newsletters. What I’ve observed is that social media is generally used in three different ways within any given mailing;

  1. Social icons or links are included in the header or footer of an email
  2. A preview of a social profile is shown either in the header or footer of an email
  3. A piece of body content is specifically linked to promoting a brand’s social media

Sometimes these tactics are used standalone but more often than not, there is a combination of two of the three tactics. Let’s walk through each of them now and which are more effective than others.


Using social icons/links in the header or footer

By observation, the way most people tend to use social within an email is to use the latter as a way to show email subscribers that they are in fact on social media. Which tends to look a little something like this:

Get more email subscribers to follow you on social media

Source: HelpScout


Notice any problems with this tactic? While it’s a good start and certainly better than not including any links or icons at all, the issue is that it’s not really action-provoking. It’s also not at all in the main focus of the reader. All the social icons are way down the bottom of the email which is ok for people that actually make it to the end. But what about those that don’t?


Using a preview of a social profile

Another way that brands are using social in their emails is to give short previews of what they post to that channel. Often it is used in addition to social links or icons in the bottom of their emails. Design Milk does a great job of this.

Get more email subscribers to follow you on social media

Source: Design Milk


This is a great way to give readers a preview of the kind of content that you post on your socials. Showing readers that what you’re posting is relevant and interesting for them increases the likelihood that they click through to follow you.

While this is slightly better than the previous tactic, it still draws a lot of the reader’s attention to the body of the email rather than the social content.


Using a piece of body content to promote a social profile

The last of the techniques that I have seen brands use to get email subscribers to follow them on social media has been using the body of the email to highlight the brand’s social channels whilst simultaneously providing content that’s useful to the reader.

Perhaps you’re thinking “But isn’t that a very roundabout way of getting people to follow you on social media?”. Well yes, and no. It’s more indirect compared to the previous two tactics in the way that the steps required for them to follow you on social media are longer. The reader needs to first click the link to the piece of content, read, click through to your social profile and finally press like/follow/add.

However, the benefit of this tactic is that it is seamless and the most natural of the three. Creating content that meets both the needs of the reader and your own business goals is what we are all striving for – and this tactic does just that.  And it’s not hard to do. All you need is a blog post that points to the social channel you want more people to follow.

We do this ourselves on a regular basis with posts like 18 Instagram accounts to follow for email inspiration or 15 email design inspirations for the rest of your summer. In the former post, we are highlighting Instagram accounts that are worthy of following (including our own). In the latter post, we are highlighting inspiration from Pinterest (including our own boards). We then include this in our mailing lists to encourage people to come over and follow us on social media. Here it is in practice, under the post 15 email design inspirations for the rest of your summer:

Get more email subscribers to follow you on social media


Not only do these posts get high engagement in our emails, they also enjoy a higher share rate across socials than other blog posts do. This means that every time these kinds of posts are shared, even more people have the chance to come like us on our socials. It’s a win-win scenario.


Test these tactics in your own mailings

These are three very easy-to-implement tactics and I encourage you to start trying them in your next mailing, not only on their own but in combination with one another.


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Updated Oct 2022. The article was written in 2016.

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