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Adopting an inbound marketing strategy for your business means meeting your prospects where they are and providing value with educational content. While social media plays a large role in building communities among B2C brands, it’s not always considered a necessity in the B2B space.
The fact of the matter is that social media marketing aligns neatly with the inbound methodology. Most importantly, it provides another medium through which to serve content to your prospects and learn more about how to best engage with them.
Why is Social Media an Important Part of Inbound Marketing?
Social media platforms are not just places where people connect and share content. They are also powerful marketing tools that businesses can use to amplify their inbound marketing efforts. Social media allows businesses to reach a larger audience, increase brand visibility, and drive organic traffic to their website.
Benefits of social media for inbound marketing
One of the key benefits of using social media for inbound marketing is the ability to target specific demographics and interests. Others include:
1. Enhanced brand visibility: Social media platforms provide businesses with an opportunity to increase their brand visibility and reach a wider audience. By consistently sharing valuable content and engaging with their followers, businesses can build brand awareness and establish themselves as industry leaders. Social media allows businesses to showcase their personality, values, and expertise, which helps in building trust and credibility.
2. Increased website traffic: Social media can be a powerful driver of organic traffic to your website. By sharing links to your blog posts, landing pages, and other valuable content on social media, you can attract potential customers and direct them to your website. This not only increases your chances of generating leads but also improves your search engine rankings.
3. Improved customer engagement and relationships: Social platforms provide businesses with an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with their customers. By actively listening to customer feedback, responding to comments, and addressing concerns, teams can build strong customer relationships. When customers feel heard and valued, they are more likely to become loyal advocates for your brand.
4. Cost-effective marketing: Compared to traditional channels, social media marketing is relatively cost-effective. Most social platforms offer free business accounts, and marketers and sales teams alike can reach a large audience without spending a fortune on advertising. On the earned media side, advertising on these platforms allows teams to target specific demographics and interests.
5. Measurable results and insights: These platforms provide businesses with detailed analytics and insights into their marketing efforts. By tracking KPIs such as reach, engagement, and conversions, businesses can measure the success of their social media-driven inbound marketing campaigns.
Now, here are the four ways to incorporate social media into your lead generation efforts.
1. Promoting Your Content
Content marketing is the fuel for any successful inbound program. Creating persona-driven, search optimized content helps you attract the right visitors to your website and ultimately convert them into leads.
But, building up your organic traffic takes time. Your content needs to start ranking in search engines and your prospects need to start searching for answers to their challenges to discover it. Alternatively, you can meet your prospects where they are.
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer up massive platforms with millions of users for your content. Promoting on these channels provides the opportunity to distribute content beyond your website and drive traffic through non-organic methods.
2. Learning About Your Buyers
Effective inbound marketing requires a comprehensive understanding of your ideal customer. By developing detailed buyer personas, you can ensure that your content speaks to their unique needs and challenges. That way, you’re able to attract more of the right visitors to your website and only focus marketing and sales calories on prospects more likely to close.
Much like how social media provides an excellent platform for sharing your content because of its wide audience, there’s a lot of potential to learn about your audience from it.
Leveraging social media analytics, social listening tools and general observation can help you identify what your followers or broader target audience is interacting with. Are they engaging with awareness stage content? Or are they deeper in the process and using social media as a decision-making tool?
By determining which brands or content your buyer personas are interacting with on social media, you can gain insight into who and what they rely on for information or consultation during their buying process. These details can inform how you identify or conduct outreach for partner marketing opportunities or which websites to focus your display advertising on.
For example, if your ideal customers are interacting with content from major business magazines, you could consider placing advertising on their site or seeking out a guest blogging opportunity to earn backlinks to your website.
On a macro level, understanding this information helps you gain greater clarity into where your audience resides and at what stage of the buyer journey they’re discovering you on certain platforms.
3. Informing Your Content Strategy
Beyond learning more about your audience themselves, leveraging information gleaned from social media can help inform your content strategy as well. In the same way you can use engagement data to learn more about your customers, you can learn more about what content is working and which isn’t.
If your product how-to guides are generating more engagement than your thought-leadership content, it might be a sign to invest more time and resources into product-centric content. Though, like any area of your strategy, it’s important to not let limited data sway you in any particular direction. Look for trends and consistent success before leaning toward or away from any segment of your content strategy.
You can also leverage social media to explore what your competitors or aspirational brands are sharing with their followers. While you should never make decisions solely based on what competitors are doing, understanding what they’re posting and sharing from their own website can help you pinpoint gaps in your content and identify future subjects for your editorial calendar to better attract and engage with prospects.
4. Interacting with Customers
A core principle of the inbound methodology is that doesn’t stop when a deal closes. Continuing to delight your customers not only helps build brand affinity, but it’s a reliable way to scale your business.
Social media is an exceptional community-building tool. By pushing customers to your social media channels, you can help create a sense of belonging among your customers and enable them to continue interacting with your brand after the sales conversation has ended.
Beyond that, social media is a great tool for soliciting customer feedback or serving as a support platform for your users, especially for product-centric organizations. Customers are quick to default to social media as a way of voicing concerns or communicating product challenges.
Maintaining a consistent presence on social media to react to these challenges or better yet — proactively address outages or feedback can go a long way toward building better customer relationships.
Given how its impact can occasionally pale in comparison to what it does for B2C brands, social media can occasionally be treated as an afterthought for B2B marketers. While it may not be a primary revenue driver for many brands, it’s still an important part of your inbound marketing strategy.
As a platform to promote and inform your content, learn more about your audience and build community, social media can play a significant role in driving demand for your business. Like any part of your strategy, it’s important to test tactics regularly and review outcomes to decide how it can benefit your business goals.
Chris is a Brand Marketer at New Breed where he is responsible for crafting design and video assets that support our brand. When he's not behind the camera, he enjoys kayaking and tending to his sourdough starter.