How to Turn Your Social Media Followers Into Email Subscribers

Build Your Audience
7 min read

Do me a favor. Take a second and check how many people follow you on social media? If you’re a professional blogger (which I’m going to assume you are or want to be since you’re here), I’ll bet you’ve gathered a good-sized following on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It’s how you do business, right? That’s where you link to new posts, show off a new campaign, or tell people about a giveaway.

Now do me another favor. Check the numbers on your email list. How do the two compare? My guess is your email list numbers are WAY under your social numbers. It happens to the best of us. Even bloggers like Pat Flynn have made the mistake of not building a solid email list from the start.

You: So how big of a mistake is this?

Me: Pretty big.

What if Twitter disappeared tomorrow? Do you think it’s possible Facebook could go down in a blue blaze of glory next week? Barring any cosmic interference, I don’t think that will happen anytime soon. But you never you know. I mean…anyone been on Friendster recently? Who’s changed their Top 8 on Myspace this week?

In all seriousness, have you ever thought about what would happen to all your social media followers if the unthinkable actually happened? All those likes, follows, and retweets would instantly sink into a quickly forgotten abyss. All those years of honing your Insta-skills and corralling followers would have been completely in vain. Who would see your inspirational morning tweets? Who would buy your ebooks? If your blog isn’t read, are you still a blogger?

And what do those likes and follows even mean when it comes to creating revenue? They’re not a currency. You can’t trade 5 Insta heart taps for a slice of pizza. Likes don’t equal dollars.

Now please don’t misinterpret what I’m trying to say. I’m not trying to tell you to abandon social media. There is insane value in social media for bloggers. Branding, instant connection with your audience, creating your online personality- it’s all important for your business.

What I want you to know is how important it is to convert those social media followers into email subscribers. Think of all those people who are publically liking your pics- they’re interested in you one some kind of level. The way to get them even more interested- and I mean to the point of investing time, money, and resources- is to get them reading directed, personalized, and detailed emails sent to their inbox.

No need to turn into a doomsday prepper or anything that intense. Social media isn’t going to disappear tomorrow. Let’s just talk about how to get ahead of the game by investing your time in converting your social media followers into email subscribers.

Why you should focus on your email list over social media

According to a MarketingSherpa survey, 75% of social media users said that email is the best way for brands to communicate with them. There it is right there, straight from the horse’s mouth. The best way to communicate with social media users is through email. But if you’re still stuck deciding between whether to focus more time adding subscribers to your email list of growing your social following, here are a few more reasons:

#1. Email is still the most used electronic media.

For some people, it’s the first thing they look at in the morning and it’s their last glance before going to bed. In fact ExactTarget says that 71% of consumers favor email as their first online “check” of the day.

people check email before anything else in the morning

#2. It’s not guaranteed that your audience will see your message on social media

Email is the only way to have direct communication with your audience. With all the new algorithms used on social media, there is no guarantee that your message is being seen by your audience. Forrester’s Nate Elliot said that your emails get delivered more than 90% of the time, while your Facebook posts get delivered on 2% of the time.

Think of your email list as your own personal bat-phone. Getting your audience to comply with an email opt-in gives you your own personal, private direct line to their inbox. No-one can restrict, override or change your message there. It’s your clear permission to send those targeted, relevant messages that help turn prospects into customers.

#3. Email lists are revenue builders

In 2016 every dollar spent on email is projected to bring in $35.02

Revenue growth happens with emails lists. It’s in these direct conversations that you can nurture your audience through funnels to keep current customers, sell new customers on your biz and create segmented lists to even further target specific groups. You’ll be hard-pressed to get that kind of work done through social media.

#4. You don’t own social media.

Finally, the last reason to switch focus to email is the instability of social media. I mentioned it at the beginning of the post, but I think it’s worth repeating. You don’t own those social media channels. Yes, right now you have a big list of followers. You have people seeing your messages and your posting all the time. But permissions change and social media sites have been known to cease existing. And if that happens, you’ll lose all access to those followers. However, the email address you cultivate are all yours. You get to keep them as long as your reader lets you.

5 Steps to convert you social media followers in email subscribers

So how do you make it happen? How do you start converting social media followers into email list subscribers? Here’s four simple steps to get you on your way:

KISS- (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

Just ask for it. Not everyone will give you their email address, but the easiest way to get rolling with your list is simply to ask your social media followers. It’s as easy as sending out a tweet with a link to an opt-in form.

Give them an easy way to sign up

If a donut is placed in front of me, chances are I’m going to eat that donut. But if I have to search for that donut…well, I’ll probably still search for that donut, but I don’t think your followers are going to go on a treasure hunt for your opt-in forms. It’s important to put your links and forms in a super obvious place. Here’s a couple examples to start with:

  •  Twitter Cards- Links to opt-ins in your messagesuse twitter cards to grow your list
  • Facebook- You can create dedicate a tab on your page to be an opt-in formfacebook opt-in form
  • Pinterest- Give your audience pinnable, clickable offers that lead to an opt-in formusing pinterest to to grow your list
  • Instagram- Make the link in you bio or on photo go directly to an opt-in form.


The quickest way to get email leads from your social media platforms is by spending a little money on advertising. Check out Twitter Ads and Facebook Lead Ads if you’re ready to spend a little money.

Provide value

Providing your audience with some kind of value is great way to gather email address because there will be some who will want something in return. Maybe you give away an ebook or content upgrade they have to send in their address for or maybe you host a webinar to teach a how-to and they sign up with their address. As long as your audience sees some kind of value, they are more likely to see what else you have to offer.

Above all, be your awesome self

Being yourself and building trust between you and your audience is so important. The more they believe in what you’re doing, the more likely they are to buy into everything you’re doing. Replying to comments or saying thanks for a purchase or a retweet is a simple but powerful way to converting followers into subscribers. So keep up the communication and start growing your email list today!

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Dani Stewart

As a daughter of an entrepreneur, the wife of an entrepreneur, and an entrepreneur herself, Dani has lived and learned all sides of creating and growing businesses. She is excited to bring all that life experience as well as a decade of crafting content to the ConvertKit community. She is a part-time baker, dinner-party planner, and lover of good bourbon living the simple life in Nashville with her husband, Sean.

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