The Inbound Growth Blog

Twice weekly articles to help SMB business owners and managers use an integrated marketing strategy to drive revenue growth

How to Grow Your Business with Social and Inbound Marketing - Part II

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 1, 2012, 4:32 AM

social media computerHubSpot’s SVP of Sales, Mark Roberge  teamed up with Salesforce’s VP of Social Media and Video, Jamie Grenney to present a webinar entitled, “How to Grow Your Business with Social and Inbound Marketing.”  Roberge and Grenney laid out a data-driven approach to social and inbound marketing with one goal in mind:  maximizing sales resulting from the marketing plan.  The recommended plan for social and inbound lead generation consisted of four components.  Our last article focuses on the first component – measuring marketing efforts to maximize return on investment.  This article will focus on the remaining components concentrating on using social media to grow your business.

How to Grow Your Social Database

Whether you’re a small company trying to expand your business or a big company trying to enter a new market, it’s important to fill the top of your funnel with prospects and engage in meaningful interactions with them.  The traditional approach to inbound revenue generation consists of three steps:

  1. Drive traffic to your website
  2. Create leads by web visitors completing a form to receive a content offer
  3. Sales follows up with marketing-qualified leads to close business

The primary tactics used to generate website traffic were Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing.  Small business found it difficult to compete with larger firms with more marketing resources for those first few spots on the Google results page.  The good news for small businesses is that Google’s latest search algorithms place less emphasis on technical SEO tactics like page optimization and link-building and are favoring websites that create relevant content that is frequently updated and shared and liked on social media channels.  Here are some tactics to grow your social database.

Crack the Code on Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is when your content or product is widely shared on social media channels – think of the YouTube video that everyone is watching.  Although easier said than done, you should seek out opportunities to have others spread your message for you.  Reach out to thought leaders in your industry and see if they will promote your content.  Get your blog article published in a trade journal and share it through your social media channels.  The best way to go viral for a small business is to create good content.

 

Create Your Content Engine

With Google’s new ranking algorithm, it’s important to create as much good content for your audience as possible.  The best way to do this is through blogging – companies that blog get 55% more website traffic and 79% more twitter followers than those that don’t.  Blog about things that are important to the audience you’re trying to reach.  For example, the top ten questions your prospects and customers ask can be the basis for ten blog articles.  If they’re well-written and solve prospect and customer problems, your audience will share them through their social media channels.

Create an Editorial Calendar

To keep your content engine rolling, create an editorial calendar and produce:

  • 1 big video or eBook per month - something that prospects will exchange contact information to receive
  • 4 to 10 blog posts per month – the more you blog, the more web traffic and leads you will get.  We recommend starting out with 4 blog posts per month and then increasing production once you’re comfortable.
  • 8 Facebook posts per month – Facebook posts should promote your blog articles and other content. 
  • 16 Tweets per month – Twitter tweets are short and sweet.  Use Twitter to promote your content and ask your followers questions.

Make sure you include targeted calls-to-action on all of your content and social media sharing buttons.  Creating good content takes a lot of effort, but the payoff in terms of increased web traffic and leads justifies the effort.

Build Deeper Relationships with Prospects

In order to build relationships, you need to meet your prospects where they live.  Accessing social media content on mobile devices is becoming more popular every day.  In order to connect with your prospects, you need to get into their social media feeds.  Grenney suggested the following tactics for increasing social media followers:

  • Advertising for fan acquisition
  • Campaigns driving to “Like” gates on Facebook
  • Like and share buttons on your website and e-mails
  • Active engagement on social channels
  • Drum beat of great content

You also need to assign someone in your company to monitor your brand mentions on social media daily.  Thank people who praise you and help people who are having customer service issues.

Use Social Data for Smart Marketing Decisions

LinkedIn and Twitter profiles are a great way to research prospects early on and to customize your approach to that prospect.  More and more prospects are open to conversations through their social media channels – if someone downloads an eBook, consider sending them a Tweet asking them if they have any questions.

If possible, you should integrate social media data into your CRM system for a 360-degree view for your sales team.  Most CRM and marketing automation software incorporates social media data into prospect and lead records.

Lastly, you should track social media performance in your closed-loop analytics to determine which social media platforms work best and which have room for improvement.

In summary, social and inbound marketing tactics are evolving to reflect how consumers use the internet.  Smart businesses are adjusting their tactics constantly to maximize the return on their social and inbound marketing investment.

 

 

High_Res_Portrait_for_NVTCJohn Beveridge is the President and Founder of Rapidan Strategies, an Inbound Marketing Agency and Certified HubSpot Partner located in Fairfax, VA. Prior to founding Rapidan Strategies, John spent 25 years as a management consultant and specializes in helping professional services and technology firms grow rapidly with inbound marketing strategies. John is a Social Media Today contributor and currently serves as the Vice Chair for the Northern Virginia Technology Council's Business Development, Marketing and Sales Committee

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