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Social Media and Inbound Marketing Integration

Up until the past couple of years, internet marketers and online entrepreneurs hadn't yet recognized the value of social media and did not use this as a component of their inbound marketing campaign strategy. As of late, the inbound marketing landscape has changed considerably and social media is oftentimes referred to as a game-changer for those same individuals who once failed to see the value of it. Despite the fact that the integration of social media and inbound marketing is a relatively new concept, it is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your promotional arsenal.

The Changing Relationship between the Two

Although engaging with other members at social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is the primary focus, the primary reasons that SMB's now use these is to generate more sales and profits. By composing interesting, relevant content for these social media site members, online entrepreneurs and internet marketers have the opportunity to develop a following and those followers are all potential buyers. Additionally, this is the foundation of inbound marketing plans and strategies (or at least it should be). More importantly, it is also the main reason that you need to integrate social media in your inbound marketing plan and strategy.

The Primary Focus of Inbound Marketing Strategies and Techniques

Attracting qualified website traffic to the products or services that an online business offers is the primary focus and intent of inbound marketing strategies and techniques. Due to the way in which inbound marketing complements the decision-making process of consumers, it is now widely accepted and growing in popularity. This is evidenced by the fact that more consumers than ever before now use the internet and mobile applications to not only search for products or services, but to engage in social networking as well. So it makes sense that blogs and social media have evolved into a powerful inbound marketing tool.

As opposed to the more traditional technique of outbound marketing, inbound marketing overcomes those consumer purchasing barriers without constantly bombarding them with direct mail offers, radio and TV ads, and telemarketing calls. Therefore, outbound marketing is oftentimes referred to as "interruption" marketing. It focuses on forcing a single message onto a massive consumer audience without regard to demographics and purchasing barriers. Conversely, the value of blogs and social media is derived from placing the focus on the user both collectively and individually.

The Integration Process

Integrating social media and inbound marketing is similar to a layering process. A good "reverse" analogy of this is how you layer your clothing when you are going out in cold weather - say fishing - and it is a sunny day. As the sun climbs higher in the sky, the air temperature gets warmer. As the air temperature gets warmer, so do you. Eventually, you start removing those layers of clothing in order to be more comfortable as the air temperature continues warming. Now reverse that analogy and you will have an idea of how you can integrate social media and inbound marketing.

The following are 5 ways that you can apply that layering mindset and integrate those social media activities with your inbound marketing efforts:

Build consumer profiles - the connections and followers that you develop when you engage in social media networking can reveal their buying personas and what drives them to your business. This information is oftentimes valuable and can be used in your inbound marketing efforts (or any others for that matter).

Convert Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter followers into e-mail contacts - those e-mail addresses are far more valuable than your actual followers because you can redirect them to content on your site and encourage them to join your list.

Dig deep for referrals - the greatest asset of social media networking is how cost-effectively you can reach a massive target audience. Although one consumer may not buy that much from you, he or she may refer you to others who will.

Increase the use of public relations - believe it or not, today's journalists rely heavily on what they read at social networks, especially Twitter. You should, too in order to boost your public relations and use it as a component of your inbound marketing plan or strategy.

Strengthen your current SEO content - where discussing blogs and sharing links are involved, social media networks are excellent platforms. Major search engines such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo hold these links in high regard. So when you integrate good SEO content with social media activities could improve your SEO content considerably.

Blogs and social media networks are effective platforms that can be used in any inbound marketing strategy to reach your target audience more efficiently. Without a doubt, they are the most cost-effective forms of generating leads that you can integrate into your current marketing strategy and all strategies in the future.