You know that social media is important. Unfortunately, like many marketers, you might make the mistake of treating it as a separate, disjointed entity rather than a vital component in your inbound marketing strategy.

However, social media plays a crucial role in every stage of the buyer’s journey. Understanding the full extent to which social media can help generate leads and drive conversions can give you an edge over competitors to boost sales and maximize business growth.

In this post, we’ll explain the important role social media plays in online marketing. Then we’ll provide you with four ways you can use social media to boost your inbound marketing strategy.

Let’s get started!

Understanding the important role social media plays in online marketing

The premise behind any strong inbound marketing strategy is earning attention organically in a non-intrusive or disruptive manner. Social media is a powerful platform for achieving this.

It can help with the initial stage of your inbound marketing funnel: attracting consumers and sparking interest. Over 3 billion people use social media monthly. However, it’s how they use it that demonstrates how social media extends to every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Of course, social networks are no longer used solely to interact with friends and family. Here are just a few other uses:

  • Make purchases. One study discovered 72 percent of Instagram users have bought a product they saw on the app. According to GlobalWebIndex, nearly one-third of consumers use social media to research and purchase products.
  • Read and write reviews. Forty-two percent of users will look at posts from current customers to influence their purchasing decisions.
  • Discover and connect with brands. More than one-third of people use social media to discover new products and services. It’s used by 29 percent of decision-makers for price comparisons and nearly as many for general research purposes.

Your social presence can help improve your reputation and strengthen your brand. What’s more, social media can help promote key assets in your inbound marketing strategy. You can use it to expose your content and landing pages that are critical for generating leads and driving conversions.

Social media presents the opportunity to provide strong customer service, build relationships over time, and learn more about your audience. It positions you to deliver highly specific and targeted offers to the right people, at the right time.

Four ways to use social media to boost your inbound marketing strategy

Given that we’ve discussed some of the ways social media influences online marketing, let’s now dive into how you can use it to your advantage. Here are four ways you can use social media to boost your inbound marketing strategy.

1. Create and share quality content on social media to attract users

The importance and value of quality content in online marketing cannot be understated, particularly when it comes to your inbound marketing strategy. To emphasize this point, consider that content marketing is shown to generate 300 percent more leads than paid search.

By crafting and promoting unique, relevant content on social media, you can reach thousands (if not millions) of people for free. It’s a powerful platform that lets you reach new audiences, and make your content part of the conversations within your niche.

If someone sees you regularly sharing useful, interesting information without being completely self-serving or promotional, they’ll be more likely to follow you. It can also help build trust.

For your social content to be effective and engaging, it needs to be relevant, helpful, and unique. Content types also matter. For example, nearly 50 percent of people engage with videos on social media.

There are a few key steps involved in creating quality content that attracts consumers. The first is understanding what actually interests your specific target audience (which we’ll discuss more in a moment).

Another is establishing a unique brand voice. This can help distinguish you from other brands and make your content feel more relevant and relatable.

Creating a social content schedule can make it easier to stay consistent with your posting schedule, which can increase customer trust and loyalty. For this, you can use our Revive Old Posts plugin:

Our plugin lets you integrate your site with your social accounts to making publishing and promoting your posts a breeze. After you create and publish your posts, you can further elevate your content promotion by using relevant and trending hashtags.

2. Use targeted social ads to deliver the right promotions at the right time

One of the best ways to generate quality inbound leads is through targeted advertising. Of course, paid ads such as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns are nothing new. Pivoting from search to social can be powerful too. Social can actually help fuel your Search Engine Optimization (SEO.)

There’s a lot of benefit in using paid, targeted social ads to boost your inbound marketing strategy. You can tailor your promotions and deliver them at times of day when engagement is highest. For example, using analytics such as Instagram Insights, you can learn when your followers are most active:

The 'Audience' tab on Instagram Insights.

With social, you have the ability to go beyond the basic audience demographics and explore the specific interests of current and target audiences. You can build consumer profiles that are more informed, detailed, and ultimately more effective than they otherwise would be.

It might feel like zeroing in this precisely is limiting your reach. However, you’re actually just narrowing your focus to pay more attention to the consumers most likely to find the message relevant and, in turn, lead to a conversion.

There are many ways to incorporate targeted social ads in your inbound marketing strategy. To start, we suggest adding a Facebook Pixel to your WordPress site. This approach lets you target people who have already visited your site.

3. Share and encourage customer reviews to increase trust and transparency

Customer reviews help fuel your inbound marketing strategy by offering social proof. When it comes to making purchasing decisions, people consider and value the opinions of others, even if they’re technically strangers.

Consumers use reviews to decide whether they want to buy from a company. In fact, 90 percent of consumers read reviews before making purchasing decisions, and 71 percent won’t take action until they do.

To drive sales, you can leverage reviews to help persuade consumers that you’re a reliable, trustworthy company. It can be as simple as displaying them on your site or sharing them across platforms.

Research shows that displaying reviews can increase conversions rates by a staggering 270 percent. To do this, you can use a plugin such as Social Reviews & Recommendations:

After you install and activate the plugin, you can use it to display your Facebook reviews as a widget on your site. There are also plugins you can use for your other social profiles.

We also recommend responding to reviews and mentions on social media, even the bad ones. This demonstrates genuine care and appreciation for your customers, so try to be personal rather than using a generic, form response. The same applies for any time your brand is mentioned on social platforms like Twitter, even if it’s not a formal review.

While this may seem like an obvious thing to do, only about 43 percent of U.S. brands engage with Twitter users who tag them in tweets. This is unfortunate, considering that the majority of Twitter users expect companies to respond within an hour.

Also, when brands respond in a timely manner, 34 percent of users are more likely to buy from them. In contrast, 43 percent are more likely to recommend the brand’s products to people they know.

4. Offer ‘follower-only’ discounts and special offers

Essentially, increasing social media followers is a way of generating leads. These contacts and readers make great prospects because they already show an interest in your brand and offerings. Therefore, growing your followers should be part of your inbound marketing strategy.

How do you incentivize people to hit the Follow button, though? One way is by offering follower-only discounts and promotions:

A discount code promotion on Twitter.

Scoring deals and discounts is important to consumers. Research shows that almost all (93 percent) of shoppers use coupons and discount codes throughout the year.

When examining why consumers choose to follow retailers on social media, one study found that 62 percent want to learn about sales. More than 30 percent of consumers engage with content offering discounts.

Exclusivity can be a powerful marketing tactic. Not only can offering ‘follower-only’ discounts and promotions help you feed consumers’ desire for instant gratification, you help motivate and inspire action by offering a reward.

There are some helpful words and phrases you can incorporate to generate attention and motivate consumers to follower you, such as:

  • Be one of the few
  • Become an insider
  • Be the first to hear

Put simply, people are going to generally be more likely to follow you when they’re getting something out of it. Once they follow you, you can continue to keep them engaged and move them along the inbound marketing funnel through quality content, paid advertisements, and other aspects.

Conclusion

If you want to stay ahead of competitors, it’s critical you adapt to the online marketing environment.

Part of this involves adjusting your inbound marketing strategy to incorporate social media.

In this article, we’ve discussed four ways you can use social media to fuel your inbound marketing strategy:

  1. Create and share quality content on social media to attract consumers.
  2. Use targeted social ads to deliver the right promotions at the right time.
  3. Share and encourage customer reviews to increase trust and transparency.
  4. Offer ‘follower-only’ discounts and special offers.

Do you have any questions about leveraging social media to boost your inbound marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments section below!

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By John Hughes

John is a blogging addict, WordPress fanatic, and a staff writer for WordCandy.co.

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