“I am not going to go on a rant [about] adding a ‘share this,’ ‘follow me,’ ‘digg this,’ or another technology to your email programs in order to drive cross-channel adoption of your email strategy,” says Dylan Boyd in a post at the Email Wars blog.

Instead, he wants to know one thing: Are you loading up email messages with social media add-ons just because it’s the fashionable thing to do, or because you have a solid plan built on connecting with customers where they spend their time? He hopes it’s the latter.

According to Boyd, adoption of social media options for email is not about your tech choices, it’s about your customers’. In other words, to make the best use of social media tools, you have to determine which ones your customers are actually using. “You are not going to be the driver of new technology adoption,” he explains. “[Y]ou are going to be the one to leverage existing places that [your customers] might ‘live.'”

And as you do so, remember to keep it simple! If recipients see lots of completely unfamiliar social media icons in your emails, argues Boyd, the messages will begin to look like a NASCAR racer cluttered with advertisements—and that doesn’t achieve anything for anyone.

Downshift. “Instead of rushing to add the next new thing to your email marketing programs,” says Boyd, “take a step back. Look at your audience and see if adding these things [is] valuable to your subscribers.”

Source: Email Wars