Inbound marketing is comprised of three main online marketing tactics—SEO, content marketing and social media marketing. While each of these three campaigns can be very successful on its own, when the three are properly integrated the results for your website and brand can be remarkable. Internet marketing is not a one-or-the-other kind of battle. The most successful websites understand how to leverage all their online assets to their benefit, including social media marketing.
By now, most businesses realize the importance of having some level of a social presence. Social media have even bled into traditional advertising, with television commercials ending by asking viewers to like them on Facebook or find them on Twitter. From Fortune 100 global brands to the mom-and-pop pizza joint around the corner, most business owners know they should be involved in social networking. Where it gets tricky is what they are actually supposed to be doing with those social profiles. Having them is one thing, but really using them is what makes them so valuable for your inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing works to position your website in front of a target audience that is already looking for you, your products or your services. Instead of trying to capture the attention of a passive audience, inbound marketing helps your website attract a visitor that is already interested. Think of it this way; if you owned a hardware store would you try to sell snowmobiles in July? Probably not, seeing winter is a long way away and your customers are more concerned about pool maintenance supplies or lawnmowers. In July, you focus your marketing efforts to position your store as the go-to source for lawn care equipment, air conditioners and other summertime hardware. Inbound marketing follows a similar pattern, just in the online space.
Studies have shown that social media profiles are great for engaging and connecting with current customers because are more likely to be interested in what you have to say and share. How many brands do you follow on Twitter or Like on Facebook that you haven’t already had some level of interaction with? Why should your target audience behave any differently? Your social profiles let current and past customers interact directly with your brand, which helps establish a strong trust factor. People want to do business with other people and social profiles let you create a personality for your brand that you website might not have.
When someone searches for your brand directly, your social profiles are likely to rank just under your actual website. This is a good thing for multiple reasons. First off, it helps you dominate a larger percentage of the search results. A branded search could also return sites that you’ve written guest blogs on or 3rd party reviews. You want the SERP to be as filled as possible with your own sites and profiles. Secondly, social profiles make your company that much more transparent. It lets your customers feel like they have a direct line of communication with your company and you are willing to have a conversation with them should the need arise.
When it comes to inbound marketing, you have to think of your social profiles like the spokes in a bicycle wheel—they should all point back to your main website. Getting people to Like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter is great, but wouldn’t you rather have them convert on your site? All your inbound marketing tactics, including social media, should work to push visitors along to your website, no matter which touch point (blog post, article, social profile update, etc) they first arrive at.