When it comes to business, social media is one of those marketing channels that can either be very powerful or a waste of time. Oftentimes, the success of social media efforts depend on your approach going into it. There are two different strategies you can take when it comes to your social media and marketing: the inbound approach and the stand-alone approach.
Stand-Alone Social Media
Very few types of businesses are able to use this approach successfully. Businesses that use this approach tend to post at whim and use social media as more of an advertising tool than a true lead-generating tool. A common example of where you would see this type of implementation is in the restaurant business.
A common theme you will find restaurants taking is solely posting photos of their food or atmosphere. Very rarely will you find a link to their website included in their social messages. However, in this instance, this strategy may be O.K. to use. Not only is it likely that visitors to their social channels are finding what they’re looking for (examples of the food they serve and reviews from previous patrons) but it is also likely that this is the only form of advertising that they do. This strategy is O.K. to use in this instance because deciding where to go out to eat is a very low impact decision. It’s a one-and-done. But this usually is not the best approach to take for all types of businesses.
Inbound Marketing’s Approach to Social Media
An inbound approach to social media means you view social media as just one part of your overall inbound marketing strategy. This strategy should be focused on the buyer’s journey, where social media is used throughout. An inbound approach will always start with your website – does it have relevant and helpful content? If it doesn’t, then you should start there first. The whole point of an inbound approach to social media is to attract visitors and potential customers back to your website where they will hopefully be nurtured into a customer. If they visit your site and you don’t have the content they’re looking for, chances are they will look somewhere else. Get them to your site (via social), keep them on your site with high quality content, and give them the opportunity to turn into customers through forms or appointment requests.
Once you have great content and opportunities for your visitors to convert on your website, you are ready to start on your inbound approach to social media. Because you started by making sure your website has great content, posting relevant and helpful content socially is much easier. By sharing helpful blogs or web pages, you not only attract visitors to your website, but you will also turn into a thought leader in your industry. After consistently posting high quality content socially, people will start turning to you when they have a question or want to learn more.
Social media is not only great at attracting visitors to your website, but it’s also great at “delighting” your customers. Many loyal customers follow their favorite brands on social media. This is where you get to directly engage with them one-on-one when they are not in your place of business. Not only is it great for building lasting relationships with your customers, it’s also great for saving those who may be considering switching brands. For example, if someone writes a novel on your wall about how your product or service failed them, you are able to clearly see they had a problem and then resolve that problem publicly so your other followers can see you are interested in doing right by your customers. Not only is that a customer saved, but also likely ten more customers that are delighted with your service and compassion.
What Role Should Social Media Play in Your Marketing?
If you have a website, some type of “inbound marketing” should always play a role in your social media strategy. By providing your followers with great content that will help them solve their problems, they will turn to you when they have a need for your product or service. Also, why not direct them to your website after you have put so much work into making it awesome? Yeah, we don’t know why you wouldn’t either.
So, in Summary…
1.) Attract visitors to your website via social media
2.) Convert visitors into leads on your website by having them fill out a form to get a free helpful resource from you
3.) Close your leads into customers by having them either request an appointment or directly buy from your website
4.) Delight your customers on social media by interacting with them, providing helpful information, and responding to comments or complaints in a positive way
On a quick side-note, don’t forget to showcase who you are as a brand! People will love your great content, but they also want to see that you’re human. By combining an inbound marketing approach and culture social posts, your followers will get exactly what they signed up for. With that in mind, very rarely will a stand-alone social media strategy provide results. Remember that.
With a passion for helping, both consumers and businesses, I enjoy using my knowledge and skills to create engaging social posts and interactions that start a prospect on their inbound journey. As the Inbound Social Lead, I utilize my social media and interpersonal skills to develop and nurture one-on-one relationships between a business and their customers. When I'm not at the office, I enjoy spending time outdoors (fishing and floating on a tube are my favorite) or crafting on my kitchen table.