Have you heard the term “social media marketing” (sometime also referred to as “social or digital selling”) but you’re not sure what exactly it means ? Or maybe you’ve been thinking about implementing a social media marketing strategy but you’re not sure where to begin. Social media marketing is one component of an inbound marketing strategy, which is a method to bring customers into your business instead of going out to market them. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content marketing are the other components. Social media marketing is a necessary part of your overall marketing strategy to increase leads, promote your brand and increase organic search traffic to your website.
I was thrilled when Connect.Data.com invited me to discuss this topic in an hour long webinar on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 10:00 am PST and hope that this article will encourage to attend this complimentary online session, which is entitled: Dig into the Power of Social Media Marketing for Lead Generation, Branding, & SEO.
It can really work if you do it right. The key to a good inbound marketing strategy is to create high-quality, customer-centric content with the right keywords on a regular basis and use social media platforms and channels to promote it.
Here’s an example of how it can work: I recently wrote an article for a website called Social Media Examiner about how to encourage employees to share content on LinkedIn and within the first three months, it got over 2,200 shares on social media (not counting Twitter shares since Twitter no longer makes the information available) and the article has been read by thousands of people. Besides promoting the article to Social Media Examiner’s email list, we actively promoted the article on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. which allowed us to reach a different target audience we may not have reached by email.
By creating a high-quality article and promoting it through email and social media, I actually landed several new customers interested in developing a LinkedIn employee engagement program.
A social media plan is a cyclical process involving multiple steps from understanding your target audience to developing good content to tracking your results. You’ll go through the cycle multiple times to find what works and each time you add new marketing campaigns. Let’s take a quick look at each of the major components of a winning social media marketing plan.
High-quality, Relevant Content
There’s so much content out there that you have to produce high-quality, relevant content in order to stand out from all the rest. Do your research to learn about your audience and what needs they might have.
Most of your content should give back to others; it shouldn’t be about your business. Content should be helpful and informative for your audience, like promoting events that they may be interested in, providing trends in your industry or sharing fun information pertaining to your industry. By providing customer-centric, informative content, you’ll become seen as a thought leader.
Creating and using a content calendar will bring organization to your overall strategy. You can map out what you want to produce and when, like two blog posts a month and an article once a month, and it’ll give you a roadmap to work from. Of course, you’ll need resources to manage the calendar and develop the content, and we’ll discuss that in more detail during our webinar.
Search Engine Optimization
In addition to creating great content, you’ll also need an SEO strategy to make your content more findable in search engines. If your audience can’t find your content within the first few pages of a search engine’s results, they probably won’t get to it at all.
Keywords, which are a key component of an SEO strategy, are terms that people type into search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, to find information. You’ll want to add your keywords into the content that you create to make it appear higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). I’ll cover SEO at a high level during the webinar.
Social Media Marketing and Tracking
Here’s where social media marketing comes in. Once you have high-quality, relevant content with a roadmap and you know the right keywords to use in your content, you use social media to promote and track it.
Do your research to decide which social media platforms you should use. Identify your target audience and see what platforms they’re using, what they’re saying and what language they’re using. In addition to platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn is a valuable resource to get information and to use in your social media strategy. SlideShare, which is LinkedIn’s slide and document sharing platform, has also become a valuable resource to share all kinds of information in digital format. You should consider these platforms in your strategy if they make sense for your target audience. Ultimately you should target the social media platforms that your customers are using.
To put it all together: use the applicable social media sites to add high-quality content, share it across platforms and promote it. You’ll also want to go into the social media platforms to track the data and compare it to your original social media strategy goals to see how it’s working for you.
For example, I helped one customer develop a social media strategy to include:
- A bi-monthly webinar and a weekly blog post
- Two personal LinkedIn status updates per day
- One LinkedIn company page status update per day
- Two LinkedIn group and Showcase page postings per day
- One Facebook and Google+ post per day
- Two tweets per day
As a result, we saw:
- 100-250 webinar registrants per webinar
- 60-80 new leads on a monthly basis since the webinar recordings are now available on demand on their website
- 15-20% monthly recurring organic increase in followers of their social media platforms
- 50% percent increase in Google organic search traffic since we create and publish new, high-quality, content to the website on a regular basis
The list goes on and it really can work!
I hope I was able to wet your appetite for learning more about this topic and invite you to join me on February 18, 2016 for the webinar. You can learn more and register right here.
Chris Raulf and Boulder SEO Marketing
My name is Chris Raulf and I’m the founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a boutique online marketing agency located in Boulder, Colorado. We assists local, national, and international clients with all of their search engine optimization, social media, and content marketing needs. I frequently author guest-articles for industry websites such as Social Media Examiner, and my international background make me one of the few professionals in the industry who truly live and breath international and multilingual search engine optimization on a daily basis. I enjoy speaking at industry conferences and my passion is to teach digital marketing so that other people can learn SEO too.