Benefits of Social Media in Inbound Marketing

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Let’s start with this question: Does social media marketing get results? Well, it depends. I’ve seen cases where a strong social media strategy has worked wonders for clients, and I’ve seen cases where it hasn’t. Which leads me to my next point. If your social media marketing isn’t getting you results (and by results I mean an increase in brand awareness, website traffic or leads), you’re doing wrong social media marketing. So, the question is, how do you do social media right? By ensuring your strategy is comprised of the following three elements.

UNDERSTANDING

I recognize that I sound a bit like a broken record, but everything starts at your persona level. Hopefully, by now, you’ve already identified your audience personas. You know their pain points to the degree that you can recite them in your sleep. You know their goals, their priorities, their needs, and their motives.

But do you know:

  • What their biggest pet peeves are?
  • Where they go for industry information?
  • Who they look for trusted advice?

Believe it or not, these pieces of information are also necessary for you to adequately understand and reach your personas. While these may seem like oddly specific details that don’t actually apply to your inbound marketing strategy, they are critically important. They speak to their habits and typical behaviors, and you can apply this knowledge to how you create your content, as well as where you should promote your it and the online influencers you should try to connect within the process.

 

ENGAGEMENT

Now that you can understand how your personas interact on the Internet, you can take your understanding to the next step, and look to see how they interact (and who they interact with). Luckily, if you’re a HubSpot user, there are a few different ways that you can do this. I find the HubSpot Social capabilities to be some of the most helpful around. Specifically, I use the following:

  • Social Inbox This is great to see who interacts with you: Did someone retweet you? Like you? Mention you? Follow you?
  • Social Monitoring and Social Streams These are so cool! You can track the collective activity of all of twitter, or even custom Twitter or HubSpot contact lists that mention something specific.

Now while these tools can provide some great insights, they don’t benefit you until you use them for something. So engage. Interact. Reach out to the people that interact with you, follow you and share your content. Thank them. Start a conversation with them. Expand your connections through a valuable exchange. HubSpot is giving you the capability to track them, to like their posts, to retweet their messages, and even to follow or tweet at them. Use these capabilities to engage with potential contacts.

PROMOTION

Making Twitter connections and demonstrating your social media etiquette is a great first step, but that’s just laying the foundation for the real purpose of social media marketing: For you to share that fantastic, insightful content that you create. Did you write a new blog? Great, share it. Did you develop a new piece of premium content? Fantastic, make it known.

But again, unless you promote your content correctly, you’re really not promoting at all. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Automated corporate publication
  • Long-term individual promotion

Now, when it comes to automated corporate publication, you might be thinking of all those spammy messages that you see companies posting. Every day at 9 a.m., “Schedule your free consultation here,” with a little link across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But chances are, you don’t really want that consultation, so essentially that company’s post is adding absolutely no value to you or your social media experience.

SHOULD YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN YOUR INBOUND STRATEGY?

Those are the companies with social strategies just off the mark. Instead, they should use social media promotion as an opportunity to promote their content in a way that is valuable to you, actually encouraging you to click through to read their content. So to ensure that this happens, be sure you talk with your followers, and not at them. Be conversational, don’t use social media as your brand’s own personal soapbox. And think about how your content will be found and consumed.

But when it comes to long-term promotion from an individual’s account, rather than a corporate account, you must shift focus a bit. Specifically, I’m talking about shifting from all social media platforms to LinkedIn, and utilizing an employee’s personal account and leveraging the groups that they are involved with to share relevant content that educates and empowers like-minded individuals. But again, just as the case with corporate promotion, your posts must add value. Don’t spam, engage. Look to the groups most relevant for your personas and start discussions. Yes, these discussions should showcase your content – but they should be discussions that people actually want to participate in!

IT’S EASIER THAN YOU THINK

Incorporating social media marketing into a part of your overall inbound strategy doesn’t have to be challenging. You just have to focus on your personas; on understanding what they’re looking for (and how they search), on actively engaging with them, and on promoting your content in a way that adds value.

Do you have any social media marketing success stories? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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