There is a lot being said about social media and inbound marketing these days. Google it and you’ll notice that what is published every minute exceeds your reading capacity for the day, if not the week. What is very surprising to me is that so little of what is being written is concrete, practical, and applicable. Clients ask me questions like:
What good is social media?
What will it do for me?
They’re not going to buy answers like it enables you get into the discussion. People are more savvy than a lot of marketers give them credit for; they want tangible answers if they are going to invest tangible resources.
The reality is, social media does a lot, but for some reason a lot of people are sheepish about saying so. On the other hand, poorly managed social media that isn’t strategic will often do absolutely nothing. But getting results isn’t rocket science. Here are four direct effects that social media will have on your inbound marketing strategy:
1) Inbound Traffic
This equates to more people visiting your website than before. It’s that simple. You used to get so many visitors a month and now you get X percent more. Often they are new visitors as well. These are additional visitors who can buy your product or service. Additional visitors that give your site more SEO juice in the search engine’s eyes. These are also additional visitors that can fill out a form, get a free resource, and become a lead.
2) Distribution Channels
This is essentially free outbound marketing. You have more places that you can post about your events, activities, news and even the occasional promotion. You can also post about free resources, stir the pot, create excitement, and so on. In the end you want to create more inbound traffic, but you have more channels to broadcast your outbound message as well.
3) Increased “Sharability”
The dictionary doesn’t recognize it as a real word, but it’s far more important than a lot of so called real words. This is both your ability to share things with new people, and people’s ability to share things about you. If your content is optimized to share, then people can pass it on. Your message, your offers, and your brand are able to spread and can even go viral.
4) The “Holding Tank”
Of all four factors, you hear about this one the least. Inbound marketing teaches you to capture people’s email addresses so you can get them in your official inbound marketing loop. But social media creates a holding tank, or an unofficial inbound marketing loop. Here potential leads can digest content, get a feel for the brand, interact, talk, and stay engaged until they are ready to convert into a lead or a customer. Social media becomes a holding tank where people with interest can hover. Before social media, visitors went to a site and then left a site. Now they have another place to go, and something to do there.
Each of these four outcomes are tangible; they can be measurable to some degree. They might not sound as poetic as engaging your audience in more meaningful interactions and discussions than ever before, but they are realistic and people understand what they mean. Don’t settle for poetic and intangible explanations about the benefits of social media. And if you get results you’ll also likely get some of the flowery stuff along with them.
The ineffective or inappropriate use of social media is something we refer to as being socially awkward. If you’d like more information that can provide social media training, social strategy, and the social media help your organization needs to stay out of this category then download our Free Guide Social Media 101 today!