According to BtoB and the Association of National Advertisers, 66% of marketers have started using social media. They’ve figured out that the inbound marketing capabilities of social media are important and started using it—ideally to drive more awareness phase traffic to company expertise and perspectives that are important to the buying process. Even given this ideal use, many marketers don’t leverage social media fully. What many don’t realize is that social media and outbound marketing are not silos. By leveraging company, team member, customer, and prospect social media profiles in outbound marketing, you can significantly increase campaign reach and realize new blood in your database that you can begin marketing to. These are additional benefits of social media that come from going beyond typical use.
So just how do you go about integrating social media and outbound marketing efforts? Below are a few best practices we’ve found in working with our customers.
Best Practice #1: Add social media links to the headers or footers of email and landing pages
These links are not to your social media profiles. Many marketers incorrectly link back to their inbound marketing efforts. This may increase awareness to the value you provide through these profiles, but it doesn’t help increase the success and reach of that specific campaign. The better thing to do here is enable the sharing of your email or landing page. When someone clicks on the Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn link on your email or landing page, they should be able to share your content with their friends and followers. This increases campaign reach. Even the 5-10% typical share rates and average 70-120 friends or followers (depending on the social media site) translate into an impressive increase in reach. When that expanded audience opts in to your campaign, you’ve just added someone new to your database at no additional cost to you.
Best Practice #2: Measure immediate results of integrating social media with outbound efforts
It’s important to look at how this integration of social media and outbound marketing is going. For each of the emails you send, this means monitoring how many shares you have via different social media tools and who is doing the sharing. With just this simple tracking in place, you can learn a lot. Understanding who is sharing helps you identify your promoters. You can then reward them, talk to them about a case study, educate them about your next big thing, etc. This can have a significant influence on future campaign success. By understanding where and in what frequency your content is getting shared you can also adjust your inbound marketing strategies. For example, if you see your target audience sharing more on LinkedIn than any place else, yet you put all your effort into Twitter, it may be time to re-examine your strategy.
Best Practice #3: Change your approach to what you deliver in outbound marketing
For many marketers, the next promotion is all they think about with campaigns. Email and landing pages focus on the same tired things. But social media users can sniff out a sales pitch from a mile away. If you want your content to get shared, it has to be compelling. Compelling here doesn’t mean you try to convince someone why your products are superior. They don’t even know who you are most of the time. The idea is to provide content that addresses a specific lack of knowledge or need. You provide value via the white paper, webinar, quick guide, etc. while at the same time making your expertise known. Giving useful content to the new people your message is getting shared with is what gets them to engage with you.
Best Practice #4: Dedicate a resource
To really succeed in inbound marketing you have to be active in it. It requires regular (daily in some cases) updates of your social media profiles. If your content is not fresh or interesting, or worse, is 100% sales focused, you will not be successful. Find someone in your organization that is passionate about social media and your company to run this effort and measure your results.
These are just a few best practices to get you started with integrating your social media and outbound marketing efforts. It can help you increase campaign reach, identify and leverage your promoters, and add another element to your customer acquisition strategy.
Download the free white paper below for a more in-depth discussion, as well as some information on technology from TreeHouse Interactive that can help.
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