Preparing for the New Facebook Social Inbox

Facebook’s announcement of the forthcoming Social Inbox, (summarized below) will soon be impacting email marketing directly. The average Facebook user will likely appreciate the new “messages” social inbox once enabled in their account, for marketers it is important to look at the impact it will have on email marketing efforts, consider how they might prepare, do a little housekeeping as the new social inbox rolls out to over 500 million Facebook users over the next several months. In this post you’ll learn how to request an invite for the new social inbox as well as some email marketing engagement ideas.

Preparing for the New Facebook Social Inbox

Earlier this week Facebook announced its intentions to rollout the new Social Inbox over the next several months.  To create a continuous conversation with friends regardless of the modality, in general terms it offers users the following:

  • An @facebook.com email address
  • Ability to include SMS/txt messages into the discussion stream
  • Ability to include instant messages into the discussion stream
  • Some support for 3rd party email and messaging systems like Gmail, Jabber, and others.

This graphic depicts the unified services as captured from the live streaming event. You can watch it here, or read how Facebook envisions the service here.

Perhaps the most important part of this announcement that impacts marketers directly is the @facebook.com email addresses users will receive.  It means that means messages will be scrutinized by spam servers, so as to preserve the enjoyable Facebook experience for users.  You might monitor your newsletter service for subscribers with @facebook.com emails, and observe delivery and responses.

Further, the idea that you can hook in other email services into your Social Inbox means that if the service get’s traction, everyone may very well consider this their single messaging system.

Get In Line for Access to this New Service

If it isn’t yet enabled on your account, you can request an invitation to the new social inbox here. Being familiar with the interface makes sense if you want to be in tune with how to reach your audience there.

Build Friends and Pages with your Target Market

Relevance rewards relevance.  If you build a network with those in your target market you are going to have less issues communicating with them if you stay on message (relevant).  It is unclear at this point how the algorithm will work; it makes sense that those with fewer complaints will be viewed by Facebook as a more trusted content publisher, having less issues as your network grows.

Engage with Facebook Friends

Start now. Seems obvious, and you may already be doing so, but having a pattern of engagement will improve delivery in what I term the social inbox as well as the technical inbox.

Social Inbox: The awareness in the mind of your friends and subscribers in your market that what you have to say is worth reading.  As you provide value subscribers will reward you with engagement.
Technical Inbox: These are the aspects of the software that calculate whether your email should land in the relevance box, somewhere else, or be bounced altogether.  Positive engagement (replies, etc.) history will help your message get to your desired destination.

A Few Engagement Ideas

Some things I’ve done over the years that have been helpful to increase engagement.

Clicks. When people subscribe to your newsletter (outside Facebook) drive them to a page where they can share input about your content or service, preferably a blog.
Replies. Don’t just send a “welcome email”, send a message to new subscribers letting them know you noticed they signed up, and invite subscribers to reply (via email) with feedback on the resource given during signup for your newsletter.  This is what happens here…I send an email to new subscribers asking what they thought of the MarketersFAQ special report.
Engagement like this is good practice, not just for Facebook’s new messaging platform. Consider other systems like Hotmail, Yahoo, and the Gmail Priority Inbox (more here).
This is nothing new; this is the social web….marketers who take steps now to engage and remain relevant will be in a better position for conversions and sales in the future.
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About Travis Campbell

Husband. Dad. Marketing automator. Author. Educating and coaching others in their online business endeavors. Here's his Google profile.

View all posts by Travis Campbell
  • Jessica

    Love the engagement ideas. Thanks for the heads up on this Travis.

    • http://www.MarketingProfessor.com Travis Campbell

      You are welcome!

  • http://www.dmdude.com Digital Marketing Dude

    Very interesting stuff! for sure Travis,

    I read someplace it is being referred to as the gmail killer. I guess we will see.

    I have gotten pretty close to my gmail account and would find it a little difficult to leave that myself. But if it is integrated some how maybe I won’t have to leave it in Facebook.

    A facebook email though is pretty cool. I will definitely get me one of those!

    Peter Brissette
    Digital Marketing Dude

    • http://www.MarketingProfessor.com Travis Campbell

      I think it is way to early to say what impact it might have on gmail marketshare. Until people start using it, we won’t know. The advantage facebook has is, that for the most part, Google is open (APIs, etc.), and Facebook is not. So Facebook could easily incorporate Google data (Your Gmail account), Google cannot do the same (as it is now) with Facebook data.

      Will be interesting to see as Facebook rolls it out.

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