The Key to Inbound Marketing

The term “inbound marketing” was coined in 2006 by the founders of Hubspot, Inc., Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, as “marketing strategies and practices that pulled prospective customers toward a business and its products through the use of Web 2.0 tools and applications like blogging, search engine optimization, and social media.”

The biggest obstacle in the marketing world today is simply getting people’s attention. With apps like Spotify and Netflix, people are now paying to watch TV or listen to music, without the interruption of ads. That’s what outbound marketing is to some extent, an interruption. Outbound marketing such as TV commercials, internet advertisements, and so on, are used to interrupt people’s lives to promote a product or service. Inbound marketing such as blogs, websites, and social media networks, doesn’t interrupt anyone, but actually attracts customers to you and your business, improving your search engine optimization and visits to your company’s website.

So how do you use inbound marketing to attract people to your company? Here are the steps to engaging your market using inbound marketing…

Identify your Audience

You probably already feel like you have a pretty good understanding of who your audience is, however inbound marketing is extremely dependent on you providing the right content for your audience. So making sure you have a detailed and complete understanding of who your audience is is extremely important in successfully using inbound marketing.

Take a walk around the office, ask a couple other employees who they think your audience is, or maybe one demographic the audience has. Soon you will have a list of demographics important in figuring out what content to put out, and where for your inbound marketing strategy.

Figure out What Channels your Audience Uses

Inbound marketing channels can include anything from social media networks, to search engines, blogs, and websites. What’s a better way to find out what channels your audience uses than to search for the channels and find them yourself! Here’s an example, if you own a trendy, modern restaurant, go on google and search “foodie” and dive into the blogs, websites, Instagram accounts, and so on that come up. Next, visit Instagram or Facebook themselves and search for foodie accounts, or find trending hashtags that have to do with food and search by the hashtag. The best way to succeed in inbound marketing is to engage in it yourself, as if you were your own customer.

P.S. Keep a list of all the words you used in your search so you know which words to optimize yourself to improve your website and/or blog’s SEO.

Identify What Your Audience Wants to See

This could include problems they have, hobbies they’re interested in, questions they have about the industry, news related to the industry your company is in, and so on. This will help you determine what content you should be posting to attract their attention. Remember, inbound marketing is all about bringing the customers to you, not the other way around. This is the time to be extremely subtle and not over-promote your company. Your content will do the promoting for you.

Last but not least, create your content!! Make sure you change it up consistently and post on all of the topics your customers are concerned with. Have a good group of diverse people to work together to deliver one message, across multiple channels, with engaging and exciting content. The people creating this content need to maintain a consistent tone and give your company a personality your customers can relate to and enjoy seeing.

How to Effectively Reach your Audience Using Social Media

Identify your Audience on Social Media

This is the first step to any type of marketing your company is involved in. You may think you have this figured out, because your company’s social media audience is just your target market, right? Wrong. Your company’s audience on social media is not only your company’s customers, but everyone associated with your company and your brand. Partners, stakeholders, employees, and customers are all included in your company’s social media audience. Recognizing every type of involvement your social media audience has with your company is essential in knowing how to effectively reach them through your company’s social media posts.

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Another factor to consider when determining your company’s social media audience is the variety of age and demographics in your audience. For any company’s social media audience, it is safe to say the ages of the audience will contain a range of at least 20+ years. Considering this, posting content that attracts every age in your audience is very important in maintaining your social media following and engaging your audience. This means not posting content that would only be understood by one specific age group such as trendy phrases that only a younger generation might understand, as well as references to subjects only older groups would recognize.

Determine What Social Media Platforms Apply to your Audience

pexels-photo-429247.jpegNow that you have identified who your company’s social media audience is, you need to determine what social media platforms they use most, or are most valuable to them. If you already have active social media accounts, you could determine this through simply looking at your company’s current following on each social media site. You could also determine this however, by performing secondary research to find out what social media sites are most used by what kinds of people. www.statista.com contains various statistics on the demographics of users on social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram. Performing this secondary research, as well as using your current information on social media usage specific to your audience is very beneficial in knowing what social media platforms apply to your audience.

 

Find out what your Audience wants from your Social Media

Knowing what your audience wants out of your company’s social media is extremely important in creating effective content for your social media accounts. In trying to figure out what your audience wants from your social media, it can be very helpful to look not only at your specific product or service and your specific company, but at the industry as a whole. Everyone involved in your business, and included in your social media audience; partners, shareholders, employees, and customers, is therefore involved in your industry. Posts that apply to that industry as a whole will appeal to all of your social media audience.

If you run a dog shelter, you may post images or write posts for dogs that are up for adoption currently. This will appeal mainly to the customers in your social media audience. To appeal to the other sectors of your social media audience, you could post images of dogs that were recently adopted and are now in loving homes, employee stories, pet tips & advice, interesting articles that are pet / animal related and or company activities. By posting adoptions, employee stories and company activities it will allow your employees and customers to engage more and share their involvement to their personal sites.  It’s also important to remain relevant and interesting to your audience, by posting more than just “pets up for adoptions” your brand will grow further than those solely looking for a new family member, which can help other animals get adopted by people sharing content that they find interesting, which helps grow your brand and link back to your social media channels.

 

Create a Personality for your Social Media that Appeals to your Audience

Creating a personality that all of your social media audience can relate, or agree with is extremely important in attracting your audience to your company’s social media posts. People not only pay attention to the pictures being posted, or even the words written in the post, but how they are written, and the voice behind them. Knowing the type of personality that would appeal to your audience will make them enjoy your posts even more, and feel more comfortable engaging in your company’s posts with responses, likes, and so on. This will also encourage your audience to read through your posts when they see them on their social media feed as they not only like seeing the posts, but hearing that voice behind each post.

pexels-photo-708440.jpegHaving social media accounts that are constantly receiving likes, comments, or reviews from your audience will further enhance the effectiveness of the accounts, as well as help your company maintain a good brand image. Although your company already does maintain relationships with your customers through business transactions & follow up, social media can be another great way to enhance those relationships, and maintain a company presence even without people actually physically interacting with your company.

 

Implementing your New Social Media Strategy

Making alterations to any business process can seem daunting at times, but that is never a reason not to do it. Whether you just need to make one slight change to your social media accounts after reading this, or feel the need to do a complete overhaul, it is possible, and it is always worth doing to improve your company. Below are three ways you can go about implementing your new social media strategy…

Hiring a Social Media Management Company

Hiring a third party company to revamp your social media accounts and create posts for your company allows you to almost entirely eliminate the stress of doing it yourself. Social media management companies not only post to your company’s accounts, but meet with your company’s employees to discuss the type of audience your company wants to appeal to. Our company, Max Exposure Business Solutions, offers various packages to help maintain an excellent social media presence, including our Max Exposure Essentials – Basic package. This package includes social posting, responding to customer reviews/comments, and monthly analytics reports amongst other services. 

Hiring a Professional for In-house Training

Hiring a professional to train you or one of your employees on how to use social software can be extremely helpful in revamping your social media accounts. This is a cost effective way to get a handle on where to start in improving your social media accounts and how to constantly track the progress of your social media activity. Max Exposure Business Solutions offers a DIY Software Training service which offers one hour of professional training on social posting, social listening, social media analytics, and more.

Facebook Ads

pexels-photo-267482.jpegCreating Facebook ads for your company can help you identify who your audience is, and gain an increased following from your audience. People on Facebook will view your ad and if the subject appeals to them, they can click on the ad, view your page, and like your page, automatically sending your posts to their feed. This is a time and cost efficient way for you to identify what people apply to your company’s social media audience, while simultaneously marketing for your company. If your company is looking to increase their Facebook following and find its social media audience, feel free to look at Max Exposure’s Facebook Advertising – Level 2 package!