Why Social Media for Inbound Marketing is Crucial in 2020

Leaders, listen up! If you’re overlooking social media for inbound marketing, you’re walking past a treasure chest without even knowing it.

In this blog post, we’re unpacking all the reasons why social media is a linchpin in your marketing arsenal. It’s where the magic of connection meets the science of conversion, and trust us, it’s a space ripe with opportunities to snag potential customers.

So, let’s dive in and discover how making social media a cornerstone of your inbound strategy can transform your approach and amplify your success.

Social Media: The New Search Engine

Social media has become an undeniable force in today’s digital landscape.

When folks want the scoop on a business or product these days, they’re just as likely to hit up Facebook or Instagram as they are to Google it. It’s where your prospects are starting their customer journey, scrolling through LinkedIn feeds or Instagram stories.

54% of social browsers use social media to research products (GlobalWebIndex). That’s more than half of social media users turning to platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to decide where to spend their money.

So, what does this mean for you and your brand?

It’s simple. A robust social media presence is no longer optional; it’s essential. Being proactive, present, and engaging online is critical. It’s how you make sure when potential customers are looking, they find you.

At one time, businesses had a choice about being on social media. Now, the focus is on doing it well. Click To Tweet

Build Relationships Through Social Engagement

Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of building those all-important relationships through social media engagement.

Think of your social media platforms as your very own coffee shop, where conversations are buzzing, and you’re the barista who knows everyone’s name and order. That’s the level of personal connection we’re aiming for.

Platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram are not bulletin boards for your announcements; they’re your stage for real-time, connection with your audience.

Someone leaves a comment? Hit them back with a personalized reply, not just a generic “Thanks!”

Dive deeper. Ask them questions, share a laugh, or offer insights. It shows you’re listening and genuinely care about the conversation, not just broadcasting messages into the void.

Then, there’s the power of the DM (Direct Message). It’s like pulling someone aside for a one-on-one chat. Use DMs to respond to queries, thank them for shares, or even surprise a loyal follower with a special invitation to an event. It adds a layer of exclusivity and a personal touch that can turn a casual follower into a loyal fan.

Polls, Q&As, and challenges are valuable social media tactics for sparking engagement and gathering insights. They’re your open invitation for your audience to share their thoughts, preferences, and ideas. It’s like saying, “Hey, we value what you think, and we’re all ears.”

In essence, make each follower feel seen and heard. Treat your social platforms as spaces for genuine interaction,  where you’re not just building an audience; you’re nurturing a community.

Reach Your Audience on Their Preferred Platforms

The world of social media is vast. Each platform is a unique ecosystem, brimming with potential clients and partners.

Imagine harnessing LinkedIn’s professional network, where industry leaders converge, or tapping into Instagram’s vibrant community, where visuals transcend words (and yes, even C-level execs join the scroll). It’s an opportunity for precision targeting-matching your message to the medium and audience.

The action plan?

Start with data-driven insights to pinpoint where your audience hangs out. Are they scrolling through LinkedIn looking for industry insights? Or are they on Instagram, engaging with visually compelling content?

Once you’ve got that figured out, it’s time to craft your content.

Customize your content to align with the platform’s language and style. LinkedIn loves insightful, thought-leader content, while Instagram thrives on engaging visuals and stories.

Next step? Measure and refine.

Use the analytics tools these platforms offer to track engagement and understand what resonates with your audience. This isn’t a set-and-forget strategy; it’s a cycle of continuous improvement and engagement.

Focus on forging meaningful relationships in spaces where your audience is already active and engaged. It’s not enough to simply find our audience; we need to enchant them with content that not only connects with them but also inspires action.

The Power of Connection and Creativity

You know, tapping into the power of connection on social media is like throwing a party where everyone’s invited, and you’re the host with the most.

Customers don’t just want to see what you’re selling; they want to feel a part of your world.

So, how do you make that happen?

Get real and get creative. Share stories that pull back the curtain on your brand — maybe it’s the journey of your product from idea to shelf or the extra lengths your team goes to in order to deliver extraordinary customer experiences.

Let your brand’s personality shine, whether that’s through humor, inspiration, or even a little vulnerability.

Then there’s the creativity bit. Ever thought about an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session or a creative challenge that encourages followers to share their own content? These are the kinds of things that get people talking, sharing, and feeling connected.

Here are a few campaigns that stand out for connecting on a human level and turning ordinary interactions into meaningful conversations.

  1. Airbnb’s #WeAccept Campaign: Airbnb knocked it out of the park with their #WeAccept campaign. Launched amidst a tumultuous social climate concerning acceptance and diversity, Airbnb used this campaign to showcase stories of people from different backgrounds, cultures, and countries, reinforcing their commitment to acceptance and inclusivity. By sharing real stories from hosts and guests around the globe, they didn’t just promote their service; they sparked conversations about diversity and belonging. The campaign resonated deeply with users, turning followers into advocates for the brand and its values, creating a community united by stories of acceptance and belonging.
  2. Spotify’s Wrapped Campaign: Each year, Spotify takes personalization to the next level with their Wrapped campaign, which provides users with a snapshot of their past year’s listening habits. But Spotify didn’t stop there; they encouraged users to share these insights on their own social media profiles. This genius move turns each user into a storyteller and their personal listening experience into a shared event. Followers get a kick out of comparing their music tastes, creating a sense of community among Spotify users. It’s a celebration of individuality and shared experience all rolled into one, turning passive listeners into active participants and fans.
  3. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches: Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign is a classic example of creating deep, emotional connections. By contrasting how women view themselves with how others see them, as depicted through forensic sketches, Dove struck a chord on issues of self-esteem and the perception of beauty. This campaign went viral because it touched on universal truths, prompting discussions about beauty standards and self-acceptance. It wasn’t just about selling soap; it was about initiating a movement. By engaging with these profound themes, Dove transformed customers into community members, all rallying around the concept of real beauty.

These creative, clever campaigns show just how powerful connection can be.

In short, make your brand feel like a friend they trust and enjoy hanging out with. Infuse our social media with the kind of creativity and connection that turns followers into fans and customers into community members.

Embracing New Trends: Influencer Marketing, AI, and Audio Content

The social media landscape is constantly evolving. Stay ahead of the curve with some of the most dynamic trends shaping our digital world.

influencer marketing (including micro-influencers and virtual influencers), leveraging AI-powered content creation, and utilizing audio-based platforms like podcasts to reach your audience in innovative ways.

First off, the buzz of influencer marketing is booming. Even micro-influencers are making huge waves. Why? Because authenticity connects. In fact, campaigns leveraging micro-influencers are seeing engagement rates soar to 60% higher than traditional celebrity endorsements (Markerly).

Then, there’s the AI revolution in content creation. AI isn’t the future; it’s here, helping brands craft personalized, compelling content at scale. AI makes it possible to deliver the perfect message, to the right person, at the exact right time.

And don’t overlook the power of audio. Podcasts and other audio platforms are on a meteoric rise, with over 155 million people listening to a podcast every week (Edison Research). It’s an intimate, engaging way to share your brand’s story, directly in the ears of your audience.

So, how do you ride these waves?

Start by identifying influencers who truly resonate with your customers and your brand ethos, not just those with the largest followings. Prioritize relatability over reach.

For AI, experiment with tools that can automate and personalize your content, making each customer interaction feel one-of-a-kind.

And when it comes to audio, consider launching a podcast that dives deep into topics relevant to your audience, providing value that keeps them coming back for more.

Whilst video in all its forms (Live, IGTV, YouTube, etc.) has continued to grow, audio-enabled influencer content like podcasts are becoming powerful mediums in a marketer's toolkit. Click To Tweet

Lead the charge and leverage the full spectrum of digital innovation to amplify your brand and embrace these trends to engage your audience on a deeper level.

Employee Advocacy: Leveraging Internal Influence

Ever considered that your most impactful brand ambassadors might already be on your payroll? That’s right, your team can turbocharge your brand’s voice in ways you might not have imagined.

Here’s the scoop: About 33% of employees are already eager to share positive news about their company online, but when encouraged, this number can jump significantly (Weber Shandwick).

Harness this potential.

Your employees have networks and credibility that can amplify your brand’s message far beyond your usual channels.

So, how do you turn your workforce into a powerhouse of advocates?

Here are a few practical steps to take:

  1. Make sharing as easy as pie. Whether it’s pre-crafted posts or a library of shareable content, take the grunt work out of it for them.
  2. Recognition is key. Celebrate the shares and shout-outs. It could be as simple as a thank-you note or spotlighting their efforts in company meetings.
  3. Equip your team with the know-how on not just what to share, but how to share effectively, keeping it authentic and engaging.

When you empower your employees to become brand advocates, you amplify your message and enrich your brand’s narrative with authentic voices. You’re creating a chorus of support that resonates across networks, making your brand seen, trusted, and preferred.

Data Privacy and Transparency: Building Trust in the Digital Age

Today, data privacy is as hot a topic as the latest tech gadget. Transparency is nice AND necessary.

Think of it this way: every time someone interacts with your brand online, they’re handing you a piece of their trust. And how you handle that trust—specifically their personal info—can make or break your relationship.

So be as clear about what data you’re collecting and why.

No legal jargon that requires a law degree to understand. Just plain speak about what info you’re gathering, how you plan to use it, and, most importantly, how it benefits them.

It’s like saying, “Hey, we need this to make your experience with us even more awesome, and here’s exactly how we’re going to do that.”

And don’t stop there. Give your users the keys to their own data. I’m talking about easy-peasy ways for them to see what info you have on them and control it. Want to delete their data? Make it as simple as clicking a button. Opt-out of certain uses? A no-brainer. It’s like handing them the steering wheel, letting them know they’re in charge of their data journey.

Treat data privacy and transparency as top priorities.  This builds a foundation of trust. In this digital age, skepticism is the default. Being open about your data practices and giving control back to the users tells your audience, “We’ve got nothing to hide, and we respect your rights.”

And that, my friends, is how you turn cautious consumers into loyal fans.

The Ever-Growing Content Landscape

Customers are bombarded with content daily. To stand out, you need to create high-quality, engaging content that caters to the ever-increasing amount of time people spend on social media.

You’ve got a treasure trove of insights, perspectives, and audience understanding at your disposal. It’s crucial, however, not to let this wealth slip through your fingers by settling for content that yawns rather than dazzles.

The solution?

Bring on board writers who know how to turn a phrase, stir emotion, and spark action.

Here’s a thought: be bold.

Lean into controversy, embrace your quirks, and don’t shy away from laying out your stance.

You’re crafting a brand narrative that does more than sell; you’re creating memorable moments.

Make them remember you.

Let’s break it down into a straightforward, action-ready checklist for social media content that passes the not-boring sniff-test:

  1. Tap into the minds of your customers and internal visionaries for fresh insights and quotes that pop.
  2. Have a clear, punchy argument or story at the heart of your content — something you can sum up in a tweet.
  3. Back your words with solid research and facts that stick.
  4. Bring stats to life by relating them to everyday experiences. For example, say: The average American generates 4.5lbs of trash per day—the equivalent of five cans of Campbell’s Tomato Soup.
  5. Where it fits, sprinkle in memes, cartoons, and GIFs. If that’s not your style, at least keep the vibe upbeat and inclusive. Remember, no one’s here for a lecture.
  6. Keep it conversational. Scrap the “howevers,” “therefores,” and “in order tos.”
  7. Love short sentences. But, steer clear of turning your prose into a string of empty soundbites.
  8. If it doesn’t add value, cut it. If you sound like you’re repeating yourself, you probably are.
  9. Be specific. Make every point count and back it up with examples that resonate.
  10. Always keep your ideal reader in the loop. After each section, ask, “Would this enlighten or engage them?”

At its core, the magic of social media content lies in the value it delivers.

Style and grammar are your allies, but only when they amplify the insights, entertainment, and clarity your content brings to your ideal customer.

Stellar content doesn’t just inform or entertain; it does both, leaving your audience both wiser and more engaged.

Consider the brilliance behind Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign or the clever, engaging banter of Wendy’s on Twitter. These examples show how vibrant, distinctive content can forge deeper connections and drive sales.

When approached with strategic flair and creativity, social media content resonates, engages, and ultimately, transforms.

Video is consistently growing, but podcasts are the new ASMR. Whisper sweet nothings into listeners' ears. #MarketingTrends #AudioIsHavingAMoment #SocialMedia #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

Optimizing for Success

Inbound marketing success on social media requires ongoing analysis and adaptation.

First off, keep your eyes glued to those analytics. Which posts are getting the love? Is it the behind-the-scenes peeks, the how-tos, or maybe those cheeky memes?

Then, listen to your audience. They’re pretty much telling you what they want more of — whether it’s in the comments, the shares, or even what they’re not engaging with. It’s like being a social media detective, piecing together clues to crack the case of ultimate engagement.

Now tweak your strategy. Tried a live Q&A and saw those engagement numbers soar? Do more of that. Notice a certain time of day gets you more likes? Adjust your posting schedule.

Be nimble. Try new tactics, and don’t be afraid to ditch what’s not working.

And don’t forget the power of a good old experiment. Mix up your content types, play with your posting times, and maybe even test out different hashtags. Think of it as your social media lab where every test teaches you something new.

Bottom line: Stay curious. Pay attention, be willing to change things up, and always look for ways to connect authentically with your audience.

Beyond Likes and Follows

The Power of Social Media for Building Relationships and Driving Sales

Social media can build relationships, educate, inform, and so on. But it can also be a B2B sales powerhouse.

Diving into #SocialMedia for B2B sales? You need strategy, skill, and a dash of swagger to score with content that hits home. Don't fire off posts like you're tossing darts in the dark. Aim for impact, not just activity.… Click To Tweet

Let’s break it down, shall we?

First off, find your publishing cadence. Think of it like catching the groove in a hit song. Too much too fast can overwhelm, while too little could mean you’re out of the game.

The real trick? It’s balancing that eye-catching content with the stuff that seals the deal.

Think of platforms like LinkedIn, that’s where the magic happens. Your goal is to craft posts that catch the eye and also spark action.

Instead of being another cog in the content factory, focus on what a single, standout piece could do for your business.

Craft content with a clear purpose, content that strikes a chord so powerful with your audience, they’re compelled to engage.

This is how you turn content into opportunities, prospects, and, ultimately, sales.

And the best part? This doesn’t require an eternity to see results. A solid strategy can spark success much quicker than you think.

So, where do you start with creating that knockout social media content, and how do you make sure it finds its way to the right audience? It all starts with knowing your audience like the back of your hand. What’s keeping them up at night? What are they Googling? Dive into these insights because, trust me, they’re worth their weight in gold.

Here are a few ideas on how to snoop and understand your target audience   

  • What’s something you looked up online recently?
  • What do you find yourself ranting about with your colleagues?
  • What was the last article you bookmarked or shared? Why did you like it?

And once you’ve got that content? Share it, promote it, and then listen closely to the feedback. It’s a loop, a conversation, a way to make your next piece even more spot-on.

Bottom line: Social media isn’t a billboard. It’s a bustling marketplace where relationships are forged, trust is built, and yes, deals are closed. Create content with purpose, and watch as those digital connections blossom into real-world success.

What was considered a fad five years ago is now a worldwide daily staple for 78% of adults.

Yet, while reaching more people at the push of a button has become possible thanks to the massive proliferation of social media, managing the platforms is increasingly complex.

The winning alchemy of outreach is a combination of communication and context. It’s about not just developing high-quality content, but ensuring everything you do is perfectly adapted to specific behavior on the social media platforms and mobile devices where your target audience is. Success hinges on understanding and speaking to them in the right way on the right social platform whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.

Wish you had 36 hours in a day? We hear you! That’s why we created Reactionpower. We’ll help you build your social media presence so you can grow your business.

People are consuming more content than ever before. In fact, we spend more than 142 minutes just on social media a day. As people’s content consumption continues to rise, they are finding new ways to engage with content throughout their lives.

At Reactionpower we pride ourselves in helping you lead the charge in a changing world and capitalize on the explosion of new content types, brand immersion experiences, and technology capabilities to maximize your business performance.

You’ve got this. We’ve got your back.

Jenn Wise is an information technology enthusiast and AWS solutions architect. An innovative product, business development, and strategic operations executive, she is experienced in e-commerce, marketplaces, global expansion (APAC, EMEA, and LATAM), and leading innovation initiatives. Jenn is currently the Director of Business Development at Reactionpower.com. Her mission is to help busy tech and marketing executives get more done, particularly during fast-paced periods of challenge and change.

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