Social media sites like Facebook have become great tools for businesses to reach their customers. With Facebook’s ever-growing presence in the social lives of their consumers, it’s understandable for businesses to want to tap this resource. One of the ways businesses have recently been increasing the size of their recipient lists is by taking email addresses from Facebook profiles. Why using Facebook email addresses doesn’t always work. Unfortunately, for well-meaning businesses, mining Facebook profiles for email addresses has become the latest pitfall in delivery reputation. Taking addresses from Facebook profiles means that businesses are trusting that the user has a valid, current email address. After signing up, however, Facebook doesn’t verify email addresses again. This means businesses are left with old or throwaway addresses in their lists. For example, even my own account is registered to an email address from my alma matter that has since been deactivated. One of the ground rules of being a white hat sender is ensuring that all email recipients have directly opted-in to receive content. Even though a user on Facebook may have chosen to follow you, that doesn’t give direct consent to send additional content to them. This can lead to an increase in spam report rates as well as damage your reputation as a sender. How to use Facebook to your advantage. While using email addresses from Facebook profiles may not be an email best practice, there are ways for businesses to use social media to their advantage. One of the ways we suggest businesses grow their email list on social media is by building in their own functional, direct opt-in to your existing Facebook page. By building this independent opt-in to your Facebook page, you are still able to tap into this excellent resource, grow your recipient list, and avoid sending email to people that don’t want it or to old, non-functional addresses. Allowing users to manually enter addresses increases the likelihood of obtaining a current address. This will also provide direct permission and guarantee the recipient wants to receive your content. Examples of this type of opt-in include: A sweepstakes or giveaway entry form with an email subscription option A monthly email newsletter sign-up area A discount offer with an email subscription option To learn more about the healthy ways to increase the size of your recipient list, you can downloaded our brand new guide Grow: How to Authentically Grow Your Email List.