9 Ways to Grow Your Email List with Social Media

Do you want to get more email leads from your social media platforms? Social media is a great tool to attract a following, but unless you get those followers onto your email list, you risk losing them all if your account is suspended or deleted. In this post, we’ll share 9 ways that you can use social media to grow your email list.

Using social media is a tricky business.

You see, most companies fall into the trap of growing their social media following while ignoring their most valuable asset: their email list.

It’s so easy to fall in love with the idea of thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook fans… but how much do these numbers actually affect your bottom line? Unless you have access to their inbox, marketing to those leads and making sales is going to be a lot harder.

But the worst part? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any social media platform has the right to suspend or even delete your account at any time, for any reason, without prior notice. So if you haven’t converted your followers to your email list by then, you’ll have lost every single one of your leads. Ouch.

Let’s go over 9 effective strategies that you can use right now to turn your social media followers into email leads…

1. Host Twitter Chats with Lead Generation Cards

Tweets and retweeting isn’t the sort of hard-hitting lead generation you might think of for some business, but Twitter chats are a horse of a different color.

Twitter chats are designed to bring like-minded individuals together to ask questions and discuss particular topics. A Twitter chat about how to use a particular software, for example, may bring quite a few would-be customers looking for answers or support.

Whole Foods has taken the idea of Twitter Chats and run with it. Every week, the food giant is hosting Twitter chats about… well, food! Topics focus on recipes, a balanced vegetarian diet and more.

More technical companies host Twitter chats as well. For example, HubSpot hosts a weekly chat about inbound marketing.

When you host a Twitter chat, you’ll not only start a conversation that can build your social clout, but you’ll also be interacting with new Twitter users every time. Naturally this leads to a dedicated, interested group of potential email leads.

To learn how to host a Twitter chat, first attend a few chats in your industry to get a feel for how they work. Then, check out this guide on how to host a Twitter chat.

To get email leads from your Twitter chats, make sure you are incorporating Twitter Lead Generation Cards. These cards allow you to collect email addresses straight from Twitter.

Here’s an example of a Twitter lead generation card:

Twitter LeadGenCard

To create a lead generation card, you’ll first have to sign up for Twitter Ads. Then, find the Twitter Ads feature under the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. Click on the Cards option and then click on the Create Lead Generation card button.

From there, you’ll be able to add a description, attach an image, and add the call-to-action button copy.

For more information on creating Twitter lead generation cards, check out this tutorial from Social Media Examiner.

2. Create a Lead-Generating Facebook Ad

The fastest way to get email leads from your social media platforms is by spending a little money on advertising.

In the case of Facebook Ads, you’ll be able to target your exact demographic, and if your message is right, you’ll see dramatic results almost immediately in terms of gathering leads.

Optin Monster Facebook Ad
Optin Monster Facebook Ad

Of course, it’s not as easy as throwing up an ad and expecting people to click. You have to carefully optimize your ad, your copy and your image in order to convert email leads. For most lead generation campaigns, this means offering something useful for free in exchange for an email address.

To create your ad, first start by finding your target audience. You can do this by going to Ads Manager from the sidebar and then clicking on Tools and then go to Audience Insights.

Click on Audience Insights

You can add countries, interests, age, gender and more to find the right people for your ad. (We recommend limiting your audience to a single interest or target group to make studying the results simpler later.)


Next, use the Power Editor to create a tiered ad campaign on Facebook.

Once your ad is created, set a low budget initially as part of your testing process and give it a try. Use tracking pixels to follow the leads you’re generating.

Give each ad at least 48 hours to run before you analyze the results. Then you can start to tweak and test your ads, and you should be running an effective lead generating campaign in no time.

For more information on this strategy, check out our detailed tutorial on 7 Steps to Optimize Your Facebook Ads for Conversions.

3. Promote Your Gated Content

If you’re not already promoting gated content, you’re missing a very simple and easy method of lead generation.

Gated content is simply content that is hidden until the visitor enters their email address. Here’s how this strategy works:

Use social networks and ads to bring visitors to your website. When they get there, block their way with a “gate” requesting their email address before they get to the good stuff. It’s a low barrier to entry, but a worthwhile one for you.

Optin Monster Content Lock
OptinMonster’s Content Lock feature

But don’t just give your content away for free… give your best content away for free. Make sure that the content you are gating is worth charging $50-$100 for, and then give it away in exchange for an email address. That’s the secret to a high-converting gated article.

So why use social media to promote your gated content? Well, gated content is easier to promote on platforms like Facebook and Twitter because it doesn’t look like a traditional lead magnet or sales pitch. It just looks like a blog post. And you definitely do not want your social media posts to look salesy if they are going to be effective!

OptinMonster makes it easy to create a gated blog post. All you have to do is login to your OptinMonster account and create an after post / inline optin form. Under the Optin tab, turn on Content Blocking.

Configure the Content Blocking options for your After Post / Inline optin in the Optin panel of the builder.

Once you’re done, simply embed it in your blog post or content area, and promote the blog post on your social media platforms.

4. Leverage LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn is a professional network designed to bring potential employees and employers together. So why not leverage that network to bring would-be clients to your business?

The groups on LinkedIn are an excellent opportunity to market and speak directly to others who value your knowledge and skills, and build additional professional networks and referrals as well.

Here’s an example of what a LinkedIn group looks like:

Linkedin Groups

To get email subscribers from LinkedIn groups, start with an optimized profile that is in line with the audience you’re trying to reach. Want to attract CEOs to your list? Make sure you note you’re CEO of your own company (provided it’s true, of course).

Then, set up your own LinkedIn group and spend time nurturing the group every single week. Post articles of your own and great articles from others, and encourage discussion among the members. (All of this is laying the groundwork for when the real efforts begin.)

To get members for your group, use the built-in advanced search feature on LinkedIn to find about 500-1000 of your target customers. Compile their information in your own spreadsheet and then begin contacting those targets individually. Connect with your would-be customers and then invite the targets to be part of your new group.

Initially, you’ll have to work hard to build the group and make it active with article and discussion. But once it builds, you’ll be in a perfect position to make an offer to join your email list in exchange for something valuable and free (a lead magnet).

Don’t forget to also make one-on-one connections with your group members. If you include a link to join your email list on your LinkedIn profile, those people may just join of their own accord. These personal connections are the warmest email leads and often make the best clients.

Paul McManus has a great tutorial on how to create a clickable lead magnet right on your LinkedIn Profile:

5. Create a Contest/Giveaway

Who doesn’t love a good giveaway? You are seeing these more and more in advertisements from mainstream companies because they work, and they are perfect for small businesses too.

Here’s an example of how you can leverage a contest to drive your social media followers onto your email list:

First, come up with a hashtag specially for your contest. Use a descriptive and catchy hashtag that markets your offer with a bit of fun and personality.

Then, take a quality photo of the product you are giving away (if you sell physical products, use one of your own to give away!).

Finally, announce your contest on social media along with the photo of the prize, your hashtag, and a link to a landing page that requires them to enter their email address in order to participate. You can also use a social media marketing tool to set up and promote your giveaway.

Example of a Twitter giveaway

Some contest ideas include asking your followers to submit a video about what they will do with your product when they win it. Then you select the best video as the winner. Or, you could have them post a selfie of themselves on social media using your contest’s hashtag. The more platforms they share it on, the more entries they will get. Then you select a winner at random.

Whatever the contest, make sure it is fun for people to participate. The more you can get people into the spirit of competition, the more social shares you will generate, and the more opt-ins you will get.

During your contest, make a point of encouraging your participants to keep going by retweeting and sharing their posts. Let them know that you appreciate their posts, and your contest will have a much better chance of going viral.

6. Create YouTube Tutorials with Call-to-Action Cards

Virtually everyone with a computer has benefited from a tutorial video at one point or another. Your own video tutorials can be a life-saver for someone trying to figure out how to do just about anything.

By creating video tutorials and then ranking them on YouTube, the second largest search engine, you can quickly build a strong following of those interested in what you’re offering.

Plus, since YouTube is owned by Google, having a YouTube video helps you to rank higher in Google’s search results as well.

The first step to getting traffic from your YouTube videos is to find “how to” keywords that people are actually searching for. Type your keywords into YouTube’s search bar to see the suggested results that come up: those are the search terms that other people are looking for. Then, create a video targeting each of those keywords.

After you upload your video, write at least 300 words of content in the description box below the video. YouTube/Google relies on the description, file name and tags to determine what your video is about and what keywords it should rank for.

Now that your videos are getting some traffic, make sure that you are adding a call to action to subscribe to your email list!

One of the easiest ways to add a call to action to your YouTube videos is by adding call to action cards to your videos.

To add a card to your video, go to the edit screen for your video inside your YouTube Creator Studio. Then click on “Cards”. From there, you will be able to choose which type of card you would like to add. Choose the “Link” option to add a call to action to visit your opt-in landing page (you’ll have to associate your website with your account first before you’ll be able to link to it).

youtube cards

That’s it! Now, viewers will see an overlay with your call to action right on your YouTube videos. You will also be able to view your cards report to get data on how well your call to action cards are converting.

7. Capture Leads on SlideShare

You may already know that SlideShare allows you to take your existing PowerPoint and slide presentations and share them online with anyone who searches for them. But did you know that you can also turn that traffic into leads on SlideShare?

SlideShare actually has a built-in lead generation tool.

SlideShare lead gen

First, click on Collect Leads from the navigation bar. Then, pick a presentation or upload a new one you’ve created.

Next, customize the lead form that is generated by Slideshare to include any information you want to gather, as well as your targeting, lead form placement, and your budget for the project.

You can also decide which slide you want the lead form to appear after, and whether you want to make completion of the lead form mandatory or not. If you make completion mandatory, you have turned your old presentation into a new lead magnet!

slideshare lead form

8. Host a Webinar with Google+ Hangouts

Webinars and live streaming videos are excellent ways to grow your email list. A Google+ Hangout is easy to take advantage of because it’s completely free to use with your Google account.

google hangout on air

A webinar, or online seminar, is a chance for current and would-be customers to ask questions and learn from the experts: you. Offer a free webinar on a topic that pertains to your products or services, and one that you know many would-be customers need help with. Promote your webinar, and collect the email addresses of those who sign-up to participate in your free session.

To create a Google+ Hangout, start by creating a Hangout on Air through your Google+ account. Add the details to the information box that appears, and select “Public” as your audience. Then Share it.

Consider adding a trailer or promotional video to the Hangout to show your audience members what to expect in your Hangout from the start. Also take advantage of the tools that Google Hangouts provide… a Q&A allows you to answer questions that visitors ask. A Showcase gives you the ability to send articles, website and online content to your audience members– especially great if you’re selling something or offering free bonus content.

Once your Hangout is set up and ready, invite people directly through Google+ or embed the link in an email or on your website. You’ll want to do some promotion ahead of time so that your audience is prepped and ready for the presentation. Once your audience is assembled, it’s time to start the show!

Click on the Start button in Google+ Hangouts and then the Screenshare button to show visitors the PowerPoint or presentation you’ve created to show while you speak.

When you’re finished with the presentation, you can use the YouTube Video Manager feature to edit and enhance your recording. You can even download this as an MP4 to use in the future.

For more information on hosting a Google+ Hangout on Air, check out Dorie Clark and Debbie Horovitch’s tutorial on Forbes. You can also watch Debbie host a hangout about using Google+ Hangouts for your business below:

9. Film Lead-Generating Vine Videos

Vines (short, looping videos that are limited to six seconds long) may not be the first option that springs to mind in terms of marketing and generating leads. However, this medium provides tons of possibilities.

On Vine, you can create short promotional videos, clever marketing slogans, entertaining or silly videos “brought to you by [your company]”… The possibilities are limitless once the creative bug bites. You need only harness that creativity!

Six seconds is a very short time, but you can do quite a bit to encourage customers and leads in that time.

For example, you could do a product demonstration. In this Vine video, HTC demonstrates how easy their mobile customization is with fun special effects:

But you don’t need special effects to make an effective video. You could simply film a brief customer testimonial, like ASOS:

Or, you could go “behind the scenes” of your business, like KFOX14 News:

Whatever you do, just be sure to always include the most important thing: a call to action. You can’t generate email leads if you forget to ask people to subscribe!

Although you can’t directly post a link to your website or opt-in landing page directly on Vine, you can integrate your Vine profile with Twitter and simply tweet the video with your link to opt-in.


When used correctly, social media can easily take your business to the next level of profitability.

The key is to continue to grow your social media following, but make sure that you are always converting those followers into email leads. This is the step that separates the amateur marketers from the pros.

Are you using social media to grow your email list? What strategy or strategies are working for you right now? Let us know in the comments!

Hey, am Uttoran Sen, the CEO and Co-Founder of Guest Crew. Am a full time internet entrepreneur who loves to blog and get busy on the social media.


  1. I thought Twitter lead gen cards were dead. Is it just the free version?

    1. Sharon Hurley Hall April 9, 2018 at 9:04 am

      No, they’re still being used, JoJo. In fact, we mention them in our guide to using Twitter for lead generation.