Preferred Channel: Email or Social Media?

     At Madison’s Social Media Breakfast this week, Organic Valley showed that its fans are using email newsletters less and their Facebook more? It made me ask myself if I should reduce the time I use email to talk to clients and friends?

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed recently by the amount of email I am getting. It just feels like I’m going to have to choose soon between spending my time on social or pruning my overgrown email lists.

For example, I love my work on the board of Madison’s start-up repertory theater, Forward Theater. But it can’t figure out how to send me the email newsletter. Do I miss it in between the hundreds of emails and Doodle meeting requests that I get from my theater pals who love to meet, greet and eat together? No.

Am I missing an opportunity to send that email newsletter to other potential Forward Theater fans? I am not sure they would read it because their email boxes may be filled with LinkedIn group emails, work emails, Facebook notifications, etc.

In the old days, we used to say that email was an “alert” media. When I ran the newsroom, we would quickly dispatch reporters or send out communications by email even to people who sat 10 feet away. Then the newsletters began showing up. I am not sure I could find an “alert” in the mess of email I get daily.

I have one client who has a 20 percent open rate for an industry newsletter. That’s pretty good. Particularly when social media experts are saying that only 6 percent to 16 percent of your fans read your Facebook on any given day.

Text is another channel. At Rippe Keane, some clients only talk to us via text. We all have IPads that we use in staff meetings but we also bring our cell phones to watch for texts.

Recently I was on WKOW-TV and the laptop provided didn’t have WI-Fi so my fellow panelists and I pulled out our cell phones to check election results. My email exploded with friends and competitors at other stations sending emails about my new hair-do and how great I looked. (Not so much on what I said!!)

I did check my Facebook but it’s not very easy to use on my phone so I hunkered back to email to get the latest news on the election from my colleagues at work who were watching the other stations for me and my other pals who asked for makeup tips!!

It appears the email and social are still being used for the same things. I can’t give one or the other up.

How are you making these decisions? We can’t live our lives solely on the grid!