Starting a new social platform; should you still use email?

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Last week I had a discussion with one of my friends on how to get people to a completely new internal platform. And since this platform is a new social Intranet, most people involved in the project thought they did not have to use e-mail. Especially since the platform was social. However they forgot three […]

Last week I had a discussion with one of my friends on how to get people to a completely new internal platform. And since this platform is a new social Intranet, most people involved in the project thought they did not have to use e-mail. Especially since the platform was social. However they forgot three things:

  1. People aren’t  yet on the platform
  2. It only is social when there are enough people (network effect)
  3. People have to do something for about 66 days before it becomes a habit
  4. Users still share a lot of content via e-mail (and generate the highest engagements and conversion rates)

Therefore it was obvious that e-mail should be one of the media to promote the new platform together with some other internal communication tools. Especially since most people use e-mail in their daily life (how many e-mails did you receive today?) and it is an “in-the-face”-medium without annoying people too much.

However the next thing we ran into was the newsletter. The first thought about the newsletter was to put it on a seperate place of the platform and let people decide (opt-in) if they would like to receive the internal newsletter about this platform. After a few discussions we decided it was too hard for the user to decide: the user already receives quite some mail and he doesn’t know whether this new newsletter would add value for him. Therefore we decided to subscribe the users by default on this internal newsletter. However we already made sure there is an unsubscribe mechanism in place so people can opt-out if they would prefer.

For me one of the key factors to come this decision was the presentation of Dan Ariely – Are we in control of our own decisions.  What do you think, is using e-mail as one of the media for the promotion of a new platform a rational decision?

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Rick Mans is a social media evangelist within Capgemini. You can follow and connect with him via Twitter or Delicious

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