A common denominator among all social media networks that have gained traction in recent years is that millions of people are using them to communicate. A great deal of the public now uses these networks to not only talk to one another, but to get their news and entertainment. Social networks also play a key role for inbound marketing. They act as a net that captures the attention of people who may be interested in the content a company is offering.
It’s also clear that each social media platform brings different strengths to the table. Each one has its own opportunity to leverage certain kinds of content. For example, Instagram is great for images. YouTube is great for video. Facebook is wildly popular and flexible and Twitter is great for short, fast-paced dissemination of news-related content. Continue reading our inbound marketing guide for social media to learn more.
Before we get into positioning content on different platforms, it’s important to realize why social media is crucial to the inbound marketing puzzle. The main reason social media is so vital to inbound marketing is because it is one of the cheapest means of advertising your content.
The reality is that you can produce exceptional writing, video, images and any variations of these content forms, but if you have no way to tell people about them, chances are they will never get seen. Let’s think about this for a moment: if there were no social media and no search, how would you get Internet users to see your content? You would have to advertise it online or offline in some fashion.
With social media, you can build a unique and personal network in which to push information to. What’s better is that these platforms are completely free less the cost of paying a knowledgeable person to manage it all.
The Data Behind Social Media
Everyone is talking about using social media, and many companies know they should be doing it, but we have to look for hard data when we are forking over cash for these initiatives. HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound marketing report has a ton of great stats on how marketers are making a difference with social media and inbound marketing.
For example, it was reported that social media contributed 14% of marketers’ total pipeline in 2013. It was also reported that 82% of companies that blogged daily acquired a customer through their blog. The chart extracted from HubSpot’s report shows that marketers surveyed are allocating much of their marketing budget toward social media and SEO.
Positioning Your Content
Depending on what kind of content you are pushing out, there are specific ways you should position it on the various social platforms. Some networks allow for more engagement opportunities and still others are more or less effective for certain kinds of content.
Links to blog posts relevant to your target market are great to share on virtually all networks that you are active on. They are also great to share in emails and even as URLs in print ads. On social media, this content can serve as the reason that someone goes to your site.
You want to be sure that the content you share is relevant to the market you’re sharing it with. For example, you can use circles in Google Plus or the inline audience selector on Facebook to share content with segmented lists of people.
Images are great to share on sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Infographics are image-based pieces of content that combine interesting information with attractive graphics. Be careful not to give too much away when sharing these. Start out by sharing a smaller version of the graphic along with a link to the original one so that people have to visit your site in order to read it.
Sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, Vine and Instagram’s new 15 second video service are all great places to engage people with video. YouTube is a network that can be leveraged the most because you have the ability to embed links, callouts, ads and other things (provided by the network itself) in your videos. People can also subscribe to your channel and get emails when you post new videos.
You don’t hear about a lot happening with audio, but it can be an effective form of content for inbound marketing. People love to find useful podcasts, audiobooks and music among other forms of audio for use in all sorts of scenarios. Some companies are even taking advantage of a newfound popularity of audio. An app called Dubbler for iOS and Android is making its rounds and allows users to record 60 second snippets for sharing on popular social media sites.
Social media is the channel through which people are discovering all kinds of useful content. Part of getting people to discover the great writing, video, images or audio that you produce is having a robust social presence made up of your target market.
How do you use social media for inbound marketing? Is there anything that you would add to our inbound marketing guide for social media? Join the conversation by commenting below.