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Communication is imperative for firms of virtually any industry. If a business does not put a sufficient premium on reaching out to new customers as well as maintaining engagement with existing ones, it will struggle to remain competitive.

Increasingly, firms are coming to realize that social media can serve a valuable function in this regard. After all, millions of people around the world use Facebook, Twitter and other networks on a daily basis, making this a viable means of communicating with a diverse audience. In fact, some have gone so far as to suggest that social media may be a superior marketing medium than email.

However, most industry experts agree that email marketing still trumps social. Here are three reasons why:

1. More precise targeting
One of the biggest advantages email marketing has over social media is the ability for firms to precisely target recipients, as Memeburn’s John Ginsberg recently highlighted. While acknowledging that social media now features a limited degree of audience-targeting capabilities, he asserted that these features lag far behind those of email marketing. An email marketer can use sophisticated tools to segregate contact lists, sending tailored email messages to varying demographics.

List segregating is important, and one of the most critical aspects of email advertising. The likelihood of a person being interested in a particular product or service will depend greatly on that individual’s age, location, income, past purchasing history, interests and more. Email marketing is far more able to take advantage of this information than social marketing.

2. Improved sales
As a recent Forrester Research study revealed, email is a much stronger driver of sales than social media marketing.

“While the hype around social networks as a driver of influence in eCommerce continues to capture the attention of online executives, the truth is that social continues to struggle and registers as a barely negligible source of sales for either new or repeat buyers. In fact, fewer than 1 percent of transactions for both new and repeat shoppers could be traced back to trackable social links,” wrote Sucharita Mulpuru of Forrester Research.

3. Heightened credibility
While social media is undoubtedly useful as a means of spreading an organization’s messages, many people still do not think of it as a sales channel. They are therefore less likely to pay attention to posts and messages offering discounts and other types of engagement. Email, on the other hand, is well-established as a medium for learning about new products, services and special offers.