Last week we talked about our “tweet this email” button, and I mentioned ExactTarget and their social forward option. This week I played around with it a bit, and it is quite easy to set up, so today I’m going to go over the ins and outs of social forward and give some tips on implementing them into your email.

I should note that this is for Exact Target only, so if you’re not using ET you may want to skip it and wait for my next post on how to do most of this without the ET social forward features (warning, it will take much more work).

Social forward is pretty easy to set up in the ET GUI.

Step 1:
Open the content section you want to share, then from the edit menu select “social properties”

Step 2:
In the “content area properties” window that pops up, click “allow content to be shared” and fill in the boxes, including a shared content slot. The checkbox and shared content slot must be filled, though the others are optional (you do want to fill them out though, as they will be the description of your content once it has been shared).

Once you’re done press OK

Step 3:
Back in the edit content window, go to Insert, and select “social forward…”.

Step 4:
Select your social forwards by clicking the applicable social forward service check box, select your shared content slot (which you defined in Step 2) and then click ok.

Buttons for each of the social networks you selected should be placed in your edit content window.

But maybe you’re feeling more complicated and want to select several sections, or maybe you don’t like to use the WYSIWYG editor (can’t blame you, what with the jumbled code it creates), so instead lets look at how to do this in HTML.

Any reigon you want to share has to be defined. You can define it with the following code:
Place at start of section to be shared:

Place at endof section to be shared:


Make sure you fill in the social slot, as well as the title and description.

Now to share it is just as easy. Create an anchor, and as its href use “%%=GetSocialPublishURL(‘*number*’,’*social slot name*’)=%%”

The area marked *number* should be a number from 1 to 8 that defines which social sharing service to use. Here are the numbers:

  1. Facebook
  2. Delicious
  3. Digg
  4. Myspace
  5. StumbleUpon
  6. MSN
  7. Yahoo! Bookmarks
  8. none, as far as I know
  9. none, as far as I know
  10. Sharethis

So all you need to do is put one of those numbers and your social slot name into the link above, and you’re set. Easy, no?

“But wait,” you say, “I don’t have ET and I want to take advantage of the social sharing feature, but want to!” Then stay tuned for our next post on how to replicate a bunch of these features with regular old HTML, and some virtual elbow grease.