Overcome Social Media Confusion & Generate More Leads
Social media serves an important, yet often misunderstood, role in inbound marketing success. No doubt, many companies feel that they should “do” social media, yet I find that many business owners and marketers are confused and apprehensive about implementing a social media campaign.
In the business-to-business world, especially, social media conjures up thoughts of posting holiday photos on Facebook, making silly movies for YouTube, or wondering who’s going to write all of those blog posts. And for many business owners, the blood pressure starts to rise at the sound of the word Twitter.
Relax. It need not be so overwhelming.
Have content. Will socialize.
Any discussion of social media must begin with content.
From an inbound marketing standpoint, the most effective way to use social media is as a content promotion tool. When you create and optimize content that your prospects will value and you publish or share that content through social media, you will begin to understand the social media hype. (Of course you won’t just talk about your own content – you’ll also share other people’s great content, comment on other content, and share ideas that don’t involve self promotion. Yet, without your own content to add to the mix, you won’t get the social media results you seek.)
What kind of content do you need?
Articles, press releases, videos, presentations, webinars, eBooks, guides, whitepapers, blog posts, free trials, free demos, and just about any other type of content can be promoted through social media. A video can be posted on YouTube, a presentation can be shared on SlideShare, a webinar can be promoted via Facebook, an eBook can be promoted with an online press release, an authority article can be submitted to any number of article submission websites, your latest blog post can be tweeted on Twitter, and a free trial offer can be promoted to your LinkedIn network. Use keyword research to explore topics for your content.
Clearly, if you’re going to get serious about social media, you must also get serious about content. Without it you will continue to sit on the sidelines wondering if you’ll ever “do social media.”
3 Reasons to Love Social Media
With content in hand you’re ready to experience the benefits of social media.
For companies looking to build their business through inbound marketing, participation in social media can bring 3 primary benefits:
1. Social media brings more traffic to your website.
Social media gives you more opportunity to be found by people who are looking for information related to what you offer. And as more people find you, your traffic will grow. Probably the best and most common way to build traffic with social media is through a blog. Your business blog gives you an easy platform with which to create and publish content on wide range of topics. When built correctly, the structure of a blog is naturally well-optimized for search engines and when you use good SEO practices in writing your blog, you can gain an immediate presence in the search engine results pages.
Create blog posts about a variety of niche topics that are of interest to your target market and you’ll give yourself lots of opportunities to attract high quality traffic to your site. (Note: Your blog should be built into your website, not a separate domain.)
2. Social media helps you generate more leads.
If you’re a B2B marketer, you are no doubt interested in lead generation. In fact, if you’re like most B2B marketers you don’t even want to talk about marketing unless it involves lead gen. Well, say no more. When done right, social media can be a powerful lead generation tool. The key, of course, is to create content that is so compelling that a prospect becomes willing to give up their anonymity in order to access it. And once you have that compelling content in place, promote it through social media and tie it back to a landing page that captures lead information and fulfills your offer.
A webinar is a great example of using valuable content to generate leads. When you create and promote a webinar that is chock full of free and useful information, you can build a nice list of leads (through the webinar registration). Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, your website, and press release submissions are usually great ways to promote lead-generating content, such as webinars.
3. Social media helps you build more links.
Links. Perhaps no other word in the world of internet marketing generates more conversation and debate. Yet, one thing is certain: Links are a critical factor in building your website’s search engine rankings and traffic. Keyword-rich links from other high quality relevant websites to your website are the kinds of links you want. The more, the better.
So, how can you build links through social media?
My favorite way is to create content that your prospects and customers will want to share! (I told you, it all comes back to content.) When people share your content with others through social media, you get more links. Bloggers can write about your content, Twitter users can tweet your content, Digg users can digg your content, etc. Sure, not all links will lead to SEO credit, but only good can result from putting out great content that others want to share. If not for direct SEO credit, how about for traffic and lead generation? Links can do all of that and more.
There are many other ways to build links in social media, including submitting articles and press releases to submission sites, building profiles on social media sites, commenting on other blogs, and participating in Q&As.
In short, while the social media topic has been played out ad nauseam in the online marketing community confusion and apprehension among business owners is still alive and well. Only by understanding the role of social media and making a commitment to content can B2Bers experience the positive effects of social media lead generation.
Want to talk about social media for your company? Request a meeting or call me at (800) 474-1573.
Interested in learning more about inbound marketing? Request our free Inbound Marketing Guide here.