5 Ways to Strengthen Your Use of Inbound Marketing
Now that that's out of the way, congratulations are in order! Well done. You’ve made it to the last part of our Inbound Marketing Methodology saga! But the work isn’t over quite yet. Now that you’ve made it this far, you owe it to yourself to learn just a bit more about all Inbound has to offer, and really prepare for what’s to come during and after implementation. So let’s go over some of what we believe is the most helpful information, including some great tips and tricks for the Inbound methodology. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- The Role of Social Media in B-B Inbound Marketing
- Offering Valuable Content and Be Rewarded
- Using Social Media and Growing an Audience
- Which Platform is Best for You?
- The Importance of Authenticity on Social Media
If you want to refresh your memory on the other pieces of our methodology breakdown, head over to (whatever name we decide for the first blog) and (the second blog). Once you’re all set, let’s begin.
The Role of Social Media in B-B Inbound Marketing
Business executives, especially in B-B companies, are often skeptical regarding the usefulness of social media; they themselves don’t use social media, and “none of their clients are on social media.” They’ll say other things like: “no one in our industry uses X (insert Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn etc.) And because they do not understand it, they ignore it.
It is foolish to ignore social media. As of this writing, Facebook alone has more than 1.5 billion active monthly users. And more than that, nearly all of the major social media platforms have more than three hundred million active monthly users. The odds that someone who is a good-fit client for you is using a social media platform are very, very good… if not 100%. The role of social media in B-B Inbound Marketing can no longer go ignored. And if it does, you’re setting yourself up for a loss.
Offer Valuable Content and Be Rewarded
There is an even more pragmatic reason to be active on social media than just attracting your best-fit clients. Google’s algorithms reward websites that generate traffic from social media, and whose content is valuable enough to be shared onto social media. Receiving shares and back links from social media sites is valuable to increase your organic position in the search engines.
The Internet has morphed into a mesh of interconnectedness that is self-rewarding. The more connections your visitors create on your behalf, the more authoritative websites that connect to your content, thus bettering your website’s authority score. The overall score of your website will contribute to how individual pages are ranked in Google for your most important keywords.
The bottom line here? If you want to generate leads online, you must be an active and valuable contributor to the social media mesh that is part of the ever-growing conversation throughout the world.
You can find more ideas on different types of content to offer using Inbound in our quick start guide.
Using Social Media and Growing an Audience
Besides upping your Google rank, there’s a lot that using social media can do for your business. Whatever your motive may be—to promote a product, gain a following, or enhance your customer base’s experience—social media can help. Knowing your audience is the key here. It is the first step in making social media work for you.
Which Platform is Best for You?
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and countless others can help expand your private network, increase your referral rates, and introduce you to new people and ideas. If you’re not familiar with social media or where/how it exists on the web, here’s a good place to start: create accounts on platforms that will encourage your image. For instance, if it’s difficult to talk about your line of work in 140 characters or less, don’t use Twitter. Likewise, if you’re lacking visual content, Instagram isn’t the platform for you. However, Facebook is generally a safe-bet for all different walks of life—personal and business. Especially if you and your business are largely unfamiliar with social media, Facebook is a great jumping off point. It claims the most evenly distributed demographics of any social media platform; Facebook is far and away the best platform to encourage brand awareness—and it’s a great place for virtually any brand to begin its social media reality.
Likewise, LinkedIn, which was once largely an individual-to-individual platform, is currently a strong choice for businesses of all kinds to connect with the masses—to explain who they are, what they’re doing, and even if they have any employment opportunities available. It’s quick to learn and offers multiple means for communication.
Google+, meanwhile, is used predominantly in the technology industry. It provides users easy-to-use methods for connection, brand marketing, and content sharing. The Google Hangouts and Circle Communities functions in particular make this platform efficacious for personal communication and the expansion of professional networks. As is true of every platform, keep in mind who it is you are trying to reach; the demographics for Google+ are specific, with a whopping 67% of users being male, averaging around age 28, and working in a technical field.
It’s important to provide your audience with interesting, shareable content. Every piece of content you create, every photo you put out there to be consumed by the social media world should support your brand’s image. If you don’t know yet what type of content is best received by your following, do a data analysis. You may find that the text you post garners only half as many likes and shares as your photos (posts with images attached have been found to generate over 100% more engagement than those with text alone!) Gleaning this type of information should tell you something, and you probably already guessed what it is: post more photos. While it is important to keep content versatile, images are easily consumed and shared by viewers—which is exactly what social media is for: to help you be seen and shared.
The Importance of Authenticity on Social Media
It’s important to be authentic on social media—to create organic, true to-your-brand content is what will attract people to you in the first place. Building authentic relationships with customers and influencers, and actively trying to further your customer base is key to growing your following. And ultimately, genuine content and communication is what will keep people coming back for more. Promotional social media, while once popular, is now considered disruptive. With so much authentic content out there, promotional media now does little more than annoy. Offering your audience interesting tidbits that are only available on your feed will give them a reason to revisit, and likely share. There’s no simpler way, really, other than word-of mouth, to encourage your business’ growth.
There are so many moving parts to the Inbound methodology, and getting the hang of it certainly takes time. Be patient with yourself and your business—follow the lead of what you’ve read in our last few pieces—and more forward confidently. When done right, Inbound can be incredibly lucrative. But it’s a hard job, that’s for certain. And as is true of most things, patience in this case is a virtue. Good luck as you move forward, and keep checking back for more advice on the wonderful world of Inbound!