Adopting an inbound marketing strategy for your business means meeting your prospects where they are and providing value with educational content. While social media plays a large role in building communities among B2C brands, it’s not always considered a necessity in the B2B space.
The fact of the matter is that social media marketing aligns neatly with the inbound methodology. Most importantly, it provides another medium through which to serve content to your prospects and learn more about how to best engage with them.
1. Promoting Your Content
Content marketing is the fuel for any successful inbound program. Creating persona-driven, search optimized content helps you attract the right visitors to your website and ultimately convert them into leads.
But, building up your organic traffic takes time. Your content needs to start ranking in search engines and your prospects need to start searching for answers to their challenges to discover it. Alternatively, you can meet your prospects where they are.
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer up massive platforms with millions of users for your content. Promoting on these channels provides the opportunity to distribute content beyond your website and drive traffic through non-organic methods.
2. Learning About Your Buyers
Effective inbound marketing requires a comprehensive understanding of your ideal customer. By developing detailed buyer personas, you can ensure that your content speaks to their unique needs and challenges. That way, you’re able to attract more of the right visitors to your website and only focus marketing and sales calories on prospects more likely to close.
Much like how social media provides an excellent platform for sharing your content because of its wide audience, there’s a lot of potential to learn about your audience from it.
Leveraging social media analytics, social listening tools and general observation can help you identify what your followers or broader target audience is interacting with. Are they engaging with awareness stage content? Or are they deeper in the process and using social media as a decision-making tool?
By determining which brands or content your buyer personas are interacting with on social media, you can gain insight into who and what they rely on for information or consultation during their buying process. These details can inform how you identify or conduct outreach for partner marketing opportunities or which websites to focus your display advertising on.
For example, if your ideal customers are interacting with content from major business magazines, you could consider placing advertising on their site or seeking out a guest blogging opportunity to earn backlinks to your website.
On a macro level, understanding this information helps you gain greater clarity into where your audience resides and at what stage of the buyer journey they’re discovering you on certain platforms.
3. Informing Your Content Strategy
Beyond learning more about your audience themselves, leveraging information gleaned from social media can help inform your content strategy as well. In the same way you can use engagement data to learn more about your customers, you can learn more about what content is working and which isn’t.
If your product how-to guides are generating more engagement than your thought-leadership content, it might be a sign to invest more time and resources into product-centric content. Though, like any area of your strategy, it’s important to not let limited data sway you in any particular direction. Look for trends and consistent success before leaning toward or away from any segment of your content strategy.
You can also leverage social media to explore what your competitors or aspirational brands are sharing with their followers. While you should never make decisions solely based on what competitors are doing, understanding what they’re posting and sharing from their own website can help you pinpoint gaps in your content and identify future subjects for your editorial calendar to better attract and engage with prospects.
4. Interacting with Customers
A core principle of the inbound methodology is that doesn’t stop when a deal closes. Continuing to delight your customers not only helps build brand affinity, but it’s a reliable way to scale your business.
Social media is an exceptional community-building tool. By pushing customers to your social media channels, you can help create a sense of belonging among your customers and enable them to continue interacting with your brand after the sales conversation has ended.
Beyond that, social media is a great tool for soliciting customer feedback or serving as a support platform for your users, especially for product-centric organizations. Customers are quick to default to social media as a way of voicing concerns or communicating product challenges.
Maintaining a consistent presence on social media to react to these challenges or better yet — proactively address outages or feedback can go a long way toward building better customer relationships.
Given how its impact can occasionally pale in comparison to what it does for B2C brands, social media can occasionally be treated as an afterthought for B2B marketers. While it may not be a primary revenue driver for many brands, it’s still an important part of your inbound marketing strategy.
As a platform to promote and inform your content, learn more about your audience and build community, social media can play a significant role in driving demand for your business. Like any part of your strategy, it’s important to test tactics regularly and review outcomes to decide how it can benefit your business goals.