4swynSocial media is the main channel for the spread of viral marketing messages. That’s a fact that can be deployed fantastically by e-mail marketing. The audience can recommend content in social networks and expand the reach of email content to their contacts via Share-With-Your-Network (SWYN) buttons.

SWYN is a function that allows newsletter recipients to share in an easy way single articles or complete issues with contacts in social networks. Therefore, it is sometimes even called “Share to Social” and is a special form of content recommendation.


In the early days of e-mail marketing, it was very common to support recipients in the conventional forwarding of interesting newsletter to friends and business contacts. This principle was called “Send a friend”, “Tell a friend” or “Forward to a friend”, permitting the sending of additional newsletter e-mails to any potentially interested contacts.

Unfortunately, the practice got increasingly unpopular due to rising spam volumes and its vulnerability for abuse, not to mention the legal risks for the sender. With the growing popularity of social networks in the past few years, however, SWYN filled the shoes.

Mode of Operation

SWYN works through special links that address the interface of social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn. Through the link, the URL of a web version of the newsletter is transferred and possibly even an additional short text. If the recipient is logged on to the social network, he only has to confirm, so that both will appear as a status message in his profile and is perceived by connected contacts.

This kind of distribution can of course also be implemented with micro-blogging services like Twitter, or providers of social bookmarking like Delicious or Mister Wong, or even in news aggregators like Digg or Google News.

The automatic creation of appropriate links is already included as a feature in some e-mail marketing solutions, but can be done manually according to the specifications of the corresponding interface, too.

Benefits and Risks

Besides the avoidance of a spam suspicion or even legal consequences for the recipient, SWYN offers some additional advantages. E-mailing can multiply their impact, reach many more people and, for instance, generate more clicks. Further, recipients that have so far not been on the own distribution list can be addressed easily via the viral spread.

Of course, there is at the same time the risk that the spread via social media is difficult to control. Or maybe the sender doesn’t want that specific target groups receive the information from a newsletter etc., fact is that the obviously the trend is towards equipping newsletters with SWYN links - mostly in the footer. In any case it highlights the sender’s contemporary image and openness to social media and SWYN can be intelligently combined with email marketing.

When the user clicks on a SWYN button, the particular social media platform is accessed where the user can share content of an e-mail with the social media contacts there.

After the user has logged into his profile, the associated link of the shared content is automatically copied into the input field. The user only has to post the message with a final click. In that way, the recipient can share content with little effort on social media platforms and expand the reach of an e-mail to his social media contacts.

But several things should be considered when using SWYN buttons:

1. Use official SWYN buttons: In principle, each provider can design the SWYN buttons in his email the way he wants to, but you can imagine that it is best to use the official logos of integrated social networks. These are recognized easily by recipients and there will be no confusion. However, in addition to the logo, an additional call-to-action is required (e.g. "Recommend now"), as the function of the buttons depend on the context of the placement and doesn’t necessarily reveal itself easily.

2. Optimize content for SWYN: It is technically impossible to link a content of an e-mail or the entire e-mail, therefore shared content has to be available as websites, too. Content without appropriate landing pages, as well as the email as a whole, must once again be created separately as a webpage. What exactly will be displayed after posting a link to a website in social media depends on the social networks. Twitter, for example, shows only the link in abbreviated form; Google+ and Facebook, however, also locate and read the description of each search engine of the appropriate website and display it, which should therefore be optimized accordingly.

3. Buttons should be placed to catch the eye. SWYN buttons for the entire email should be integrated into the footer, or even better in the pre-header as a separate element that stands out from all other information. Unfortunately, many vendors 'hide' their SWYN links - they are tiny and almost disappear amid other content. SWYN buttons to individual content should be placed directly below the respective content, but also integrated as an autonomous element and not in the text.

4. Offer several SWYN opportunities and make sure that it is possible to share both the whole email via SWYN as well as individual contributions, depending on the content. If an email, for example, contains only an offer, the recipient should be able to share the entire message. However, if the email holds several contributions, which are independently relevant, it is advisable to offer both options.

5. Choose the right networks: Which network is thr right one for a SWYN function, depends on the specific case. It may sound attractive to offer it simply for as many networks as possible, to achieve maximum dissemination. But in principle, even here less is more. If there are too many choices the recipients could feel overwhelmed. Many buttons possibly "disturb" the design, or probably make no sense or less sense than others. If a B2B provider realizes that its specialized information is clicked more often in LinkedIn and Xing than on Facebook, it might be better to make the decision for the recipient and offer only these professional business networks. On the other hand, it is perhaps even harmful for a retailer when its special offers on e.g. wine or beer, appear in a business environment.

By Daniela La Marca