Social Is Inbound: How To Win With Social Engagement
Social is inbound, and inbound is social. These two marketing strategies are now inextricably linked: good content and good conversation go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Social even takes inbound one step further. While inbound marketing offers solutions to consumer questions, social media marketing can answer questions before they’re even asked. Imagine that you call a friend up with a question, and he answers you in great detail—you end up trusting him more, and you will likely return to him with future questions. That’s inbound. However, social engagement makes it even more effective. Social engagement is like inviting that friend to your home and saying “I find what you say valuable, and I want to hear more.”
Social allows us to start the conversations again, but keeps the power in the hands of the masses—if they don’t like what we have to say, they can turn it off with the click of a mouse. They’ve invited us into their homes; they’ve requested that our content show up amidst updates from trusted friends. This is why the world of social can be so precarious, but the trust it has the capability to build is so important.
Staying Connected Through the Funnel
Many of your top of the funnel prospects likely began following your brand because they had a question, and you answered it. They discovered your blog, met one of your employees or found you via good old-fashioned keyword search, and found what you had to say valuable enough to invite you into their home page feed. They’re interested in what you have to say and what you have to share. They’ll notice right away if you’re not sharing third-party information (they like to know that you, too, are interested in furthering the cause).
When a social connection is at the top of the funnel, you can measure their interest through teaser posts and social posts. Analyze which topics they’re gathering around, and then write a longer blog post or perhaps a larger resource for them. Social media is the perfect testing ground for new ideas, and these people at the top of the funnel are waiting for you to deliver.
Once someone has arrived in the middle of the funnel, they’ll prefer more specific content over high-level information. Since they’re on the same social page as top and bottom of the funnel people, you’ll have to strike a balance between introductory and mid-level content.
These are the people who will likely have questions about your products and services. Enforcing a strict response time for your social media managers is important to maintaining your “social cred” as a brand. Did you know that 42 percent of consumers expect a response from a company within 60 minutes of their post? The pressure is on, but every question and comment is an opportunity to form a relationship with a prospective client and give them the information they need to move on down the sales funnel.
People at the bottom of your sales funnel are probably already engaging with you on social media and perhaps in-person. Reaching out to them directly over social media is still a bit invasive, but if they’ve proven to be open to conversation before through frequent interaction, it’s not entirely off the table. However, it’s in better taste to get in touch with them through more traditional methods (provided they’ve already given you that contact information).
To please those in bottom of the funnel, it’s best to continue engaging people further up in the funnel. Show them that you are approachable, knowledgeable, and interesting. With social, most interactions are publicly accessible, and it doesn’t take long to figure out if a company is receptive to social interaction.
The Golden Rule of Social Media for Marketers
No matter what section of the funnel your social connections are in, there’s one rule you must always keep in mind: no blatant sales pitches over social media. Let people know if you have special offers or new products, but don’t use social media as you would a television commercial or print advertisement. One-way marketing is a thing of the past. Ultimately, sharing updates and content that people want (and don’t yet know they want!) is the key to starting social off on the right foot.
Think of it this way: if you invited your friend over for some enriching conversation, and he tried to sell you something instead, would you invite him back?