The very best social media tool for just about any relationship-building goal is email. Rumors of the death of email have been greatly exaggerated.

Why do we use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the others? To connect? Stay in touch? Build relationships? If we list all the benefits of social media, I believe we would find that email provides inherent benefits that exceed the best of even the most popular social megaphones.

Many of us spend significant time in social media strategy and execution. Lately, there has been a lot of hand wringing about why Facebook doesn’t “show” my posts to all my friends. It’s really a simple answer. Facebook owns your mailing list and they can do what they want with their site. You gave them permission to do so under the “Terms of Service.” If you dump Facebook today, the database of your friends goes poof. It’s the same for every popular social tool in use today. Why would I work so hard to build a “mailing list” I cannot take with me?

I need to make it very clear that a leader must have a lifelong process of building and maintaining a personal mailing list. Without question, your most important platform is your email list. It’s better to have a complete database of the names on your list, but first commit to a daily drip of building an email list.

To be clear, your personal list of email addresses is a platform—the best platform.

Please don’t wrinkle your nose and proclaim that “email bothers people” or “I don’t like email and don’t like a cluttered inbox.” If an email from you to your list is spam, there is something wrong with your list. And there’s probably a problem with your content.

If your argument against email is that other people use the medium poorly, you probably won’t be able to preach again.

In part 5 of this series on Friday, I will provide a more information about the development of effective email content. I will also challenge readers to consider another key marketing principle that most people misunderstand.

“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).

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