In modern, inbound digital marketing, the power of social media is undeniable. Social media marketing allows businesses to tap into massive audiences, raise brand awareness, and generate leads. If leveraged correctly, it can even nurture leads and serve as an excellent PR asset. However, using social media for effective inbound marketing is easier said than done.
With this in mind, this blog spot will be dedicated to incorporating social media marketing into your inbound strategies.
- Inbound vs. outbound marketing and where social media belong
- Setting the groundwork for effective social media use
- Using social media for effective inbound marketing
Inbound vs. outbound marketing and where social media belong
Inbound and outbound marketing are quite distinct practices, and there’s a good reason why digital marketing gravitates toward the former. In brief, outbound marketing is:
- Disruptive; often dubbed as “interruption marketing”, interrupts the flow of one’s activity to get attention
- Traditional; it includes most “traditional” means of advertising, such as TV, radio, and billboard ads
- Broad; it leans on delivering a message to as large a group of people as possible
In contrast, inbound marketing is:
- Organic; it focuses on attracting attention organically rather than interrupting
- Digital; it includes most forms of modern digital marketing, such as social media marketing, SEO, PPC, and content marketing
- Focused; it targets specific audiences and qualified leads, leaning into quality over quantity
That’s not to say the two can’t be combined by any means. For example, many marketers successfully engage in outbound cold calls while still growing a healthy digital foundation for inbound traffic. However, the longer, more complex customer journey and modern audience sensibilities make inbound marketing the wiser strategy to focus on.
Setting the groundwork for effective social media use
Common shortcomings as regards proper social media marketing implementation often boil down to the fundamentals. Using social media for effective inbound marketing hinges on proper groundwork, including such steps as the following.
Make your work easier with plugins
Social media marketing tends to be rather extensive, which increases the demands for manual work and supervision. In this regard, working smarter necessitates at least a little automation or other convenience tools.
Since WordPress powers almost half of the internet, chances are it also powers your website. If so, before considering external or dedicated tools, you may explore social media plugins for WordPress. Some great plugins you can use include:
- Social media monitoring plugins like Sprout Social and Buffer
- Scheduler/auto post tools like Revive Old Posts and SchedulePress
- Share button plugins like Monarch and Kiwi
Expand to platforms where your audiences are
Working smarter also entails proper audience targeting. That is, your activities should reach your ideal audiences where they usually reside.
For this step, you may rely on your audience segmentation process and buyer personas. Examine where your most valuable audience segments prefer to be, and expand your activities to these platforms. If these are not platforms you typically engage in, you can cross-post appropriate content to reduce your marketing workload.
Consolidate your platforms
Once you do expand your reach, it is vital that the additional workload does not strain your teams. To avoid this, you can seek to consolidate your platforms and data under one dashboard.
CRM solutions can offer notable assistance in this regard and gather actionable data to drive revenue growth. Collaborative features will keep your teams focused, productive, and time-efficient.
Using social media for effective inbound marketing
With the above groundwork in order, you may begin to weave social media marketing into your inbound marketing strategies. Since those can vary quite significantly, here we will delve into the principles rather than specific strategy synergies.
Start with a plan and audience insights
First, tap into existing marketing strategies and insights tools to announce your plan. Those can include:
- Your CRM; with the right CRM in hand, you should have a trove of actionable customer data.
- Website analytics tools; Google Analytics, heat maps, and other performance measurement and audience behavior monitoring tools can also offer insights.
- Historical campaign performance data; any insights you may have on past campaigns’ performance can also drive your current efforts.
For this step, you may also explore such tools as:
- PPC platforms’ built-in audience targeting tools, such as those of Google Ads
- Social media platforms’ built-in audience insights tools, such as those of Facebook
- Qualitative data, such as data acquired through user surveys
No matter which tools you use for this step, the goal is to capture your audiences’ preferences. Any and all information you have on this front will allow you to better connect with and cater to them.
Leverage video marketing to engage audiences
Knowing exactly how to allure your audiences and grab their attention, you may begin leveraging video marketing. If your content marketing strategies already include video, this won’t be new territory for your teams.
Indeed, a video may well be the best way to augment social media for effective inbound marketing. The vast majority of marketers swear by its power, as HubSpot reports citing Wyzowl:
- 96% of marketers see video as an “important part” of their marketing strategy
- 96% of marketers agree that videos have helped increase user understanding of their product or service
- 92% of video marketers reported that video gives them a positive ROI
- 87% of marketers feel that video has a direct, positive impact on sales
Moreover, most social media platforms are strictly visual-focused by nature. With very few exceptions, captivating videos are exactly what your audiences are there to consume.
Engage and link back to your website
Once your awareness efforts succeed, you can leverage your visibility to incite engagement. There’s a wide range of ways to do so, but fundamental practices should include the following:
- Gamification; consider surveys, quizzes, and other interactive content which suits your brand and audiences
- Communication; respond to comments, questions, and concerns, and consider AMA-type content, among others, to open up communication channels
- Participation; depending on your brand, campaigns, and audiences, you may consider user-generated content (UGC) to let your engaged audiences and customers participate in your presence
As you do, you must link back to your website whenever possible and appropriate. Add a clear, visible link to your bio or wherever your platform allows, and promote it on relevant posts and content.
That’s a vital practice because social media won’t substantially affect your SEO score otherwise. Of course, using social media for effective inbound marketing requires you to synergize the two. But plain social media engagement won’t suffice, according to Google’s own John Mueller, despite the common SEO myth.
Monitor and adjust
Finally, once your campaigns do take off and your inbound strategies align, it is vital always to keep an eye on your efforts. Since such strategies consist of many components across the customer journey, your monitoring efforts should expand in turn. Consider such metrics as:
- Social media metrics; how, how often, and how meaningfully do your audiences interact with your posts and content
- Website metrics; how much organic traffic your efforts are yielding, how qualified incoming leads are, and so forth
- Costs and sales metrics; how your campaigns’ ROI looks, between total costs and new sales
Any and all such metrics, alongside qualitative data, can and should inform your efforts. An array of possible pitfalls could be undermining your strategies, from lacking a mobile-friendly website to not engaging with audiences enough and more. Adjust any component of the customer journey in kind as you identify shortcomings, and your efforts should soon pay off.
In summary, social media is a powerful marketing tool for businesses of all sizes and budgets. It is an inbound strategy by nature, offering to help tap into massive potential audiences. And unlike outbound marketing, it does not disrupt your audiences’ activities – making it a better fit for modern digital marketing.
That said, using social media for effective inbound marketing requires diligence and thorough planning. Its extensive nature may burden smaller or inexperienced teams, especially ones without the proper tools for the challenge. It requires a firm hold on your target audiences and their preferences and the willingness to engage them continuously. And, like all things marketing, it requires a restless eye on performance metrics for swift adjustments as needed.
As a certified HubSpot Partner Agency, we not only understand the benefits of using the inbound marketing platform to increase traffic and engagement, improve SEO, generate leads, design effective websites and boost sales, we know how to make it happen.
We are inbound marketing experts, SEO gurus and top-notch website developers.
Our team of Engineers Turned Marketers can help get you noticed - for a more innovative and effective way to reach customers, or provide a more seamless way for companies to find your services. Inbound Marketing has no limit to industry, serving from Crypto & NFT, mining, oil and gas, technology & automation, engineering, technology, construction, healthcare, industrial & manufacturing, Cajun food & product distribution, and Amazon sales.