How to Grow Your Email List with Social Media Marketing

So let me ask, how many years have you been building your email list?

Time and time again on consultation calls, I hear from potential clients who want to focus ALL of their marketing efforts on social media. But here’s the thing: you don’t “own” your social media followers. I’ve tragically seen clients’ accounts closed down by Facebook & Instagram (sometimes for no reason, just a simple mistake), meaning that they lose those followers forever or at least until they can get a hold of someone who can help! Plus, as you know, Facebook likes to choose who sees your content and who doesn’t, which is a huge bummer when it comes to digital marketing. But you know what you do own? Your email list.

While social media is an integral part of any business’s online marketing, adding those social media followers to your email list is even more valuable! Growing an email list has been at the forefront of my business for years. Every quarter when I sit down to write/tweak my annual business goals, one of the first things I look at is my email list. How much has it grown? Which lead magnets are outperforming the others? What type of lead magnets should I create for the rest of the year? Are there ones that aren’t worth creating more of? Is my newsletter strategy still working? 

Email Marketing for the ROI Win

In all of my digital marketing efforts over the past 20 years, email marketing has been the most fruitful. I’ve found that the return on investment with email marketing is 4x higher than any other online marketing efforts, with the average ROI being 122%. And I know I’ve said this before, but every week when I send out my newsletter, my calendar for the following week fills up almost immediately. That isn’t luck, that is a solid email marketing strategy that I created and have been following for the past 10 years. 

I’ve invested hundreds of hours creating and perfecting tips and tricks that convert social media followers into email subscribers. Being in business for almost 20 years, I think I have tried every tactic and strategy in the book to grow my email list. The number one way that has doubled my email list year after year is with the use of lead magnets.

Lead Magnets are the Key

One of my favorite lead magnet strategies is creating social media funnels. The goal is to drive traffic to one of your free valuable downloads. You know that amazing content that you give away for free in exchange for their name and email address? Once they opt-in, then I push them into a nurture sequence where they have more time to get to know, like and trust me. I start to stealthily sell in the bottom of the funnel where most of my conversions happen. The key is your lead magnet must be amazing! It has to be something so great, they can’t believe you are giving it away for free! 

Lead magnet? You might be scratching your head right now! If you don’t have a lead magnet yet, no worries, I have a great blog post that helps you align your lead magnet with your core offer, pick a winning topic, and give your audience a quick win! 

I might need to dig into creating lead magnets that convert in a future podcast! In the meantime, let’s get into some of my tips for growing your email list using social media! 

Tips for Instagram

If you haven’t noticed, Instagram is popping! The platform has billions of monthly users! With more than 500 million users visiting the site daily! So, if you aren’t on Instagram, it’s time to get on! 

Instagram reminds me of what Facebook used to be in the early 2000s, it was all about sharing content! A user would post a photo; their friends would like and/or comment on that photo. I remember getting hundreds of likes and comments almost instantly anytime I posted! Oh, social media simplicity in action! Those were the good ol’ days! 

Because it still maintains this simplific, Instagram is one of the best platforms to post your content. Your content will show up naturally, along with everyone else’s photos and video. It makes for a much smoother user experience, improving the odds that your followers will engage with your content. Remember the whole key to social media is to be social. You can’t just post it and forget it! There is a strategy behind getting social media to work for your business. 

Content Counts

So, first things first, what kind of content are you posting?

First, of course, post photos and videos on your account. These should not be “advertisements” for your business. Instead, try sharing behind-the-scenes photos of you on the job, graphics that direct users to your latest blog post or amazing content, tips or tricks that will make their life better, or anything else that you think might genuinely interest your audience. Don’t forget to write some excellent Instagram captions to go along with the images! A couple of weeks ago, I shared my step-by-step formula for creating a month’s worth of social media content in 1-day! You can check it out here and while you are there, grab my FREE weekly social media checklist to make sure you are staying on top growing your social media following week after week! Oh yeah, and I have a Hashtag Holiday calendar you can grab too! After all, you don’t want to miss #NationalPetDay!  

In the last few years, Instagram Stories have exploded in popularity. They are a fantastic way to put a spotlight on your content and drive user engagement. For example, you can add interactive content like polls and questions rather than just static images. If someone replies on an Instagram Story, you can reach out to them via direct message and say something like, “Thanks for voting in the poll! Here’s a great (checklist, workbook, etc.) that you might be interested in that will help you with…!” Include a link to that content in the message to get them on your email list. For example, if someone sends me a message through Stories looking for help with their social media, I offer them one of my social media freebies as the first step. 

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are also a great way to directly address your audience. Record yourself speaking to them so they will be able to see your face and hear your voice. This interaction can create a stronger connection with you and your brand, as they actually “know” you beyond just photos and text posts. I have been doing this regularly, and have gotten significant returns. On top of that, I just love speaking with my audience because it often inspires them to respond to me. Then I can send them a message like the one I mentioned above, containing a link to some of my free downloadable content. You can check out some examples of great Instagram stories we have created at to get you started. Remember, it’s called social media for a reason, you have to actually be social! 

Don’t forget your bio! Use the language in your instagram bio to encourage people to take that ONE call to action that is most important to your business! Direct them to an optimized landing page with something of value (lead magnet!) that they simply can’t resist! 

Tips for Facebook

There are many similarities between Facebook and Instagram, however it’s the differences between the two platforms that you want to focus on when using the platform to grow your email list.

My preference for using Facebook is to create a Facebook Ad Funnel. I run tons of targeted Facebook ads for my own business as well as clients that lead their audience to a landing page for your lead magnet. The big thing to remember here is that your ads need to be super engaging and must be targeted correctly to get your ideal customer to take action. Once you get their name and email address, you have to take it a step further and again push them into a nurture sequence. When the traffic is colder as it is with Facebook ad funnel subscribers, they will definitely need that warming up period!

So throughout your nurture sequence, you need to give them that necessary time to build that trust. Then, you can start to stealthily sell to them. Yep! There is definitely a formula for creating a Facebook ad funnel that converts, if you’d like to discover how to write a great Facebook ad, you can learn more in my free download here

Oh, and don’t forget that you can feature your lead magnet as a call-to-action in your Facebook cover. Just be sure to include a link in its description so people will know where to go to grab your amazing freebie!

Tips for LinkedIn

Some people think of LinkedIn as merely a place to post resumes and network, but I’ve been using LinkedIn to grow my list for YEARS! Remember there are millions of users on LinkedIn and it’s a great platform if you are trying to reach the B2B market. LinkedIn users are used to people reaching out to connect and prospect. The key is to engage with your connections. Active participation on LinkedIn enhances your visibility but also establishes your credibility, which goes a long way when trying to build relationships with your potential customers. 

First, you want to add a call to action to your profile. Including a link in your bio is a great idea (this would be a great place to add a link to your core lead magnet!) Ensure that all of your keywords are in there so people will be able to find you easily. 

LinkedIn is Becoming More Like Facebook

LinkedIn has become more like Facebook in the last few years in terms of content sharing. This shift means you can use their content marketing component to share your valuable content like entire blog posts which are then sent out automatically to all of your connections. Be sure that you weave your freebie into the post. 

Another fun tip, any time you share a super-targeted post on LinkedIn, make sure to leave a link to your freebie in the comments. It seems that LinkedIn is happier when you leave your link in the comments rather than in the post itself! Give it a try and let me know if you see your reach increase! 

And last but not least, use LinkedIn’s power of networking to your advantage. You can easily see who is your ideal client on LinkedIn. I mean it’s usually in their profile description. You can reach out to them in much of the same way that you would through Instagram’s DM to offer them valuable content that solves a problem they may have.   

Tips for Pinterest 

Should I even be on Pinterest? I hear this over and over again! 

Pinterest has millions of monthly users and the average time spent on Pinterest (per session) is almost 15 minutes! It’s a great platform to provide engaging content for motivated shoppers. 

Unlike Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, Pinterest target audience is primarily women. This makes it the perfect platform to launch a campaign to grow your email list with customers who will genuinely engage with you and your company. It’s a great platform to build brand awareness and promotion. 

I have set up Pinterest for numerous clients and each time they are a bit hesitant to add it to their social media marketing efforts. Time and time again, Pinterest quickly becomes the top referrer of traffic to their website. Since each pin includes a direct link to your website, it’s a powerful tool to increase your traffic generation. 

Pinterest like Instagam is a highly visual platform, so your posts must be eye-catching! It helps if your pins have text overlay to tell the viewer exactly what the pin is about!  Always be sure to share your opt-ins or valuable content that includes your free lead magnets on any applicable Pinterest boards so people will be able to find your content. Make sure those titles include your keywords and are actionable. In fact keywords are the most important part of Pinterest. When you use the best keywords for your brand, Pinterest can increase your search ranks on Google as well! So make sure to employ best SEO practices to see your audience grow quickly. 

Don’t Forget a CTA on Pinterest

Of course, be sure to include a call to action and link to your free download in your profile description! It’s the first place on Pinterest where people will check you out and you can get them onto your email list immediately with a great call to action here. 

Growing your email list is a vital part of being able to reach out to your customers. You can’t rely on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media network to safeguard your followers. By building your email list, you’ll create one of the most valuable marketing resources your business possesses. I’d love to hear which social media marketing tips are working best to grow your email list? Jump over to the Digital Marketing Made Simple Podcast Community on Facebook to join the conversation! 

Now all you need to know is what to do with it!

If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you grow your email list, please contact me for a free consultation. I’d be delighted to give you a hand reaching out to your customers! Oh, and if you’re at all curious about hearing me speak in my own voice about using social media to build your email list, I highly recommend you check out my brand-new podcast, Digital Marketing Made Simple

Links For This Episode:

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About Jennie Lyon

Jennie Lyon is the founder of Jennie Lyon Virtual Assistant Services. Jennie specializes in helping busy entrepreneurs organize, manage, develop and promote their brand! She is devoted to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs with social media, content creation, email marketing, client relations, website management, and administration services. If you are a small business owner, coach or self-employed entrepreneur struggling to find enough time in your day to focus on what you really love - schedule a free 15 minute consultation with Jennie.


  1. Nusrat on July 11, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Thanks Jennie Lyon! Great Article. Email Marketing is the most valuable and conventional form of online marketing. You are right that LinkedIn has become more like Facebook in the last few years in terms of content sharing also a great platform if someone is trying to reach the B2B market.
    I’m going to apply the tips you shared on the article, to grow my email list from Social Media Platform. I love your techniques and strategy. I would like to check your brand-new podcast ‘Digital Marketing Made Simple! ‘ to get more ideas.

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