I bet you remember the days when the whole concept of marketing revolved around bombarding prospects with print and TV ads. This was mostly interruptive, and customers are turning away from brands that keep using these traditional means. Enter inbound marketing- Hubspot defines an inbound marketing strategy as an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful- not interruptive. With an inbound marketing strategy, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.
Inbound marketers engage in actions of attracting, converting, closing and delighting customers. Here, the aim is to obtain visitors then leads, and finally customers and promoters of your brand.
The essence of social media when it comes to your inbound marketing strategy is content promotion and you can find content ideas on social media, because there are social media monitoring tools and social media analytics which are helpful in generating new content ideas. These include- Personal networks, Interest-based networks, online reviews, Social publishing, Bookmarking sites, Media sharing networks, and Discussion forums. With Discussion forums for example, you can use sites such as Quora and Reddit to learn more about what kind of content people are sharing the most.
Social media contains significant amount of information and data that when analysed could give you an in depth understanding of your customer personas. You can use social media analytics tools to understand your customer’s demographics, their geographic locations, and also address these four questions about your customer personas:
What do they like and dislike?
Are they reading blogs, books or newspapers?
Where do they spend time on the Internet?
Where do they purchase?
In so doing, it forms the basis for creating personalized content, essentially speaking the language of your customers. This will consequentially enable you to create content that is SEO-friendly.
Apart from enhancing your knowledge about your customers and creating SEO optimized content, social media can help you create strategic relationships with partners. These partners include bloggers, influencers on social media, and brand advocates who are looking for avenues to promote their brand. This is a good way of link-building and is very important in raising your ranking and visibility on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Social media is characterized with a whole new world of opportunities, helping brands gain penetration into new markets. For instance, Hootsuite has a listening tab with search stream for any content that you get to publish. With this feature, you are able to see who has shared your content and the hashtag that is trending. If statistics of a certain hashtag are rising, or the shareability of your content is on the rise, it could mean that there is a greater potential for your product in that given segment.
Conducting a Smarter Inbound Marketing Strategy on Social Media
Here’s a look at how you can achieve this:
1. Know your buyer personas and the social media channels they actively use
Defining data-based buyer persona profiles is a critical basis for any inbound marketing strategy. In addition to establishing the best fit buyers, you get to learn other aspects like their digital environs and places where they are mostly found. This will help you know which channels they prefer for communication. Additionally, determining what times users are active on the social platforms is good for informing marketers what optimal time is ideal for posting their content. And if your strategy includes both Twitter and Facebook, make sure that your tweets or Facebook posts include relevant links back to your website, where readers can get more information on a particular topic or take advantage of a special offer on a landing page.
2. Measure continuously the impact of each channel (ROI) individually
Whereas it is true that social media is cheap for an inbound marketing strategy, this does not mean that we can be wasteful. For an inbound marketing strategy, there is need for mapping financial goals to lead generation targets from the very beginning. Examine your inbound marketing social media strategy to ensure that you are investing in the right channel(s)- for instance, LinkedIn has been found to be 277% More Effective in Lead Generation than Facebook and twitter, which recorded 77% and 69% respectively of visitor-to-lead conversion rates.
3. Understand the concept of content sharing
Social media is a prime way for any marketer to distribute their content, attract traffic and generate more leads. A buyer persona is critical for correct content engagement. Those who are just starting out on their purchasing journey and are in the awareness stage will greatly appreciate a highly informative content. For example, consider a typical example in the insurance industry, whereby a prospect might be asking: “What is the best Insurance Policy and how can I get it”. A good marketer should come up with a content title in the lines of: “Why you need the best Insurance Policy and here’s how to get it”. Remember the emphasis here is to share content that addresses buyer’s challenges at a first-touch level since your audience on social is unlikely to be looking for in-depth facts about your solution/product. As they move through the sales funnel, their needs change, and therefore, you will have to tailor content to those needs.
You can also leverage tools such as Feedly, Juice.li, etc. which make it easy to find fresh, compelling, interactive, and niche-relevant content worthy of sharing out. The 80%-20% rule is also critical for all content, that is, 80% of your content should be non-self-promotional. It should be expert advice, new solutions, industry influencers, news and trends among others. The remaining 20% could be subtly self-promotional.
Even though the concept of inbound and social media is fairly straightforward, it can be a challenge for some companies, particularly older ones, to adapt. But all in all every business venture can tap into the tremendous potential of this strategy to scale its transformative heights. This is because a sound inbound marketing strategy that seamlessly integrates with social media will help with key conversion factors like social proof and brand equity, while also driving traffic your way. This traffic when fully nurtured registers into leads and eventually become customers and promoters of your brand.
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