Social Media. You’ve heard of it. But is it a part of your inbound marketing strategy? And more importantly, how is your brand using social media to display your content, attract visitors, and convert those visitors into leads?
Brands ranging from major corporations to grassroots start-ups are using social media to engage their customers in a way that was almost unheard of a few short years ago. The landscape has changed for those who have integrated social media into their inbound marketing process, and for those who haven’t!
Ask yourself: How do your social media platforms look? Are they optimized for your target personas? How are you planning to reach your prospects? Here are five steps you need to take:
1. Optimize Your Profiles
A major part of the inbound marketing process is creating relevant content and then optimizing that content so it’s searchable, shareable, and available to your visitors. You can treat your social media platforms the same way by optimizing your content as much as possible. How? Start by including keywords in your profiles. SEO is one of the key components of inbound marketing. Do some research, brainstorm with your staff, make a list of important topics to your industry and include those terms throughout your social media profiles. Second, make sure to include links to website. Make it easy for people—the idea is to drive people to your site, isn’t it? Lastly, be sure to add visuals and customized content. People visiting social sites will interact with visuals more than simple text. Give them a reason to like, share, retweet, etc...
2. Who Are Your Target Personas?
Before you can completely optimize your social media profiles, you’ll want to determine who your target personas are. With inbound marketing, your target persona is essential. If you don’t know your audience, how can you create content that speaks to them? Ask yourself: Where is your audience spending time on the internet? Which social networks are they a part of? Why are they there? Business or pleasure? And most importantly, what types of content do they want to read or share? If you can answer these questions you should be able to paint a picture of exactly who your target personas are, and then better serve them with content that they are more likely to engage with.
3. Build Reach
So you’ve narrowed down who your target personas are and you’ve optimized your profiles with links and keywords. Now it’s time to build your reach… to expose your content to as many prospects as possible. Build a fan base by connecting with prospects, customers, and thought leaders via each of your social media platforms and keep the conversation going. Ask questions rather than talk about yourself. Stimulate conversation among your fans and be sure to share a variety of related content from other people.
4. Customize Your Content
Content curation—selecting the best work produced by others and presenting it with your comments—is very powerful. So create relevant content, find relevant content, and share both types through your social media channels. On Twitter it may mean using the appropriate hashtags and posting pictures, on Facebook it could mean asking questions and instigating some conversation from your fans. Regardless of what your favorite social media channel may be, the name of the game is curating content that your fans will want to engage with.
5. Analyze and Refine
You’ve done it. You are now curating excellent content for all of your visitors to engage with, but is it working for you? How can you be sure? The fifth and final tip of your social media marketing strategy is to analyze and refine your content. Inbound marketing is driven by results! So how do we know which content is right for our audiences? Start by asking yourself a few questions about your content.
- How many visits are you getting?
- Out of those visits, how many are you converting into leads?
- How many followers do you have and are they increasing or decreasing?
- How shareable is your content?
- Which types of content engage your fans the most?
Think about who’s viewing each piece of content and where they are along the buyer’s journey. You can use tools in HubSpot, Hootsuite, Facebook, and Twitter, to name a few, to measure each post’s engagement. There are specific types of content for each stage of the journey…
- Awareness-stage content is typically more educational.
- Consideration-stage content tends to help readers learn more about a specific problem.
- Decision-stage content should lay out a clearly defined solution so you can convert those leads into customers (and then those customers into promoters via your excellent social media content!).