Social Media for Inbound Marketing

 Social Media for Inbound Marketing

Upping your posts to use better content on social media is probably on your to-do list for 2017, but the idea of measuring and reporting engagement is outdated. I mean engagement as in clicks, likes, and shares. I found that if you change your focus to conversions, you optimize your content for the right reasons and you use social media as sales pro.

Does engagement drive conversions or just a single one time click, like, share or view? What do they buy? Do they give you their info for something you provide? Probably not.

Most companies, nonprofits, universities, and government agencies use social media already. The problem is that they want a commitment to their brand but clicks and likes are what they measure. It is time to establish a great story strategy instead and implement the right distribution of it. (maybe not in social media only!)

It used to be that you could just buy your engagement, but now Facebook and Instagram are more complicated and expensive, and an every growing number of advertisers make it clear that no matter how much you boost a post or advertise – your impressions are decreasing and therefore the engagement metrics also. Something needs to change, and it better be a big game changer.

Game changers when you measure by sales conversions

  1. Compose your story to be relevant to your “real” audience.
  2. Place it where they live online by defining when, where, how and what of their micro-moments online.
  3. Measure phone calls, website conversions, revenue generated and # of sales.

Working with the customers’ data, create personas and get to know them because it is a waste of time to send out your content if you have not defined your audience this way.

It might seem like a big gamble to try to reach them where you predicted the demographic lives online if you have not tried it before. However, combining good content with this strategy – pays off with converted traffic on your site, not just traffic! Also, don’t be so attached to data that you will not implement a content strategy that you cannot completely measure. If your sales or up and revenue increases, isn’t that a better way to measure your success, anyway?

More on the website Sofreshfeed.com

Who is the real audience? Use your customer data to make the story relevant to them!

Product

The product you’ve created solves the audience’s problem and they can’t find it anywhere else. 

Placement

Where? Only use the platforms your audiences use. The reliability of Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and blogs make them worth the amount of effort to produce good content for these sites, usually.

Here is a WordStream article with 2017 data on social media platforms: Helpful social media stats. Two items of note: WordStream loves to be your guide on all things digital, so it’s a going to have a pretty rosy outlook in every article. Also, this is a lot of info so email me if you’d like more help on choosing your platforms. denalackey@sofreshfeed.com.

Or just be on the safe side if your audience is under 35, go with Youtube as your primary platform and then try out Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, depending on the best customers personas you created.  Reuse your videos you’ve created for Youtube on those other platforms. TEST and Learn!

Number of posts

When? You should post as often as is appropriate for each platform but the cadence for posting is based on your donor and buyer persona strategies also.

From HubSpot a description of personas, “Donor Personas are fictional representations of your ideal donors. They are based on real data about donor demographics and donor behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, inspirations, and concerns.”

Informed speculation might mean going out a long limb. That’s a good thing. Taking a chance means you’re either going to fail big time or make a game-changing event happen for your marketing. The problem with most marketing is that they want to be safe, conservative and not take a chance. It’s up to you, but superb marketing is going out on that limb and using data to help make sure it’s the right one. 🙂
 

The What? Relevant Content for Inbound Marketing and Sales

Almost all of businesses know they need to make content that is attractive to their market. But there is usually no overall plan. Make the program simple for example use content for each part of the funnel: awareness, consideration, and decision.

If you have an editorial calendar, you still have to offer new content, relevant content and findable content to drive engagement.

  • The old Content strategy is seasonal or factual in some way that is unique to your company or organization.  It tells the story over and over but should now add easily digestible bites that emphases the best parts of your story at each level of the funnel change the story based on where the persona is in the buying process, in other words, address the specific need for each one.
  • The new Content strategy has to post often enough, and even daily is not too often for most organizations.  For example, VT AAA Flight school plan is to post three different posts a day with each one a different part of the funnel for flight school persons searching for information in the research, preference, and conversion stages.
  • Findable content is using keywords that your audience uses and hashtags. (again using the three different parts of the funnel for each of your personas.)You have to know your audience preferences and segment your content by the audience you’re targeting.  Biggest conversions are in organic search. This means search optimization is a strategy that all web pages, landing pages and blog posts need to include. More help at this HUBSPOT Link. SEO Also, here is a link to help you find the Hashtags.
  • Landing pages have to be short and to the point and offer something in return for providing contact info.

Finally, a seasonal editorial calendar is a great framework, but there is also need to make sure that the social media strategy is part of the larger strategy of the company, organization, or nonprofit. This strategy ultimately has to drive new business, and social media is becoming the most powerful tool and the key to your success to growth when you tell your story in a smart way.

Before you build your seasonal calendar build your audience persona: First, take the data from your best customers and then list the characteristics of the best customer and these are your personas traits.  (go back to the HubSpot nonprofit/donor persona quote above for the persona description again)

After you have the “who” and when and where to tell your story to, then you need the what part of the narrative strategy to finish the story. Write for each persona and each social media platform. Write it for each part of the funnel.

Strategy? Write your stories to address three different locations in the sales funnel.

Story plan example: Train, Work, and Dream with VT AAA Flight School. Three types of personas. Research, preference, and convert are the three most important parts of the funnel for each of the personas.  That makes nine messages, and these could have nine different plans for placement in each of the platforms and nine various parts of the story for the School.

Solve the problem of your personas for each part of the funnel, research, preferences and ready to commit!

Include all the aspects of your benefits that are solutions to the problems of the different personas and categorize them by the funnel strategy place.

Make it visual.

Make a video. Make a bunch of videos.

Add videos to overcome objects.

Learn the way the personas live daily and how you can be there in those small moments.

Use social media to be in the small everyday moments. Post the videos that tell the what and why of your story in the where, and when of the social media of your personas’ day.

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B2B Marketing: Content strategy

Content build in the right place and with the right strategy provides a fresh feed of leads.

The Sales team knows that generating all the leads, qualifying them, managing the relationship, and managing the end-to-end content experience is very productive but time-consuming.

But many sales teams seem to spend most of their time doing just that to find prospective clients!  Each sales member is researching, posting, and managing their own profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others. As you can guess a good content strategy for sales pushes qualified leads their way.

As you can guess a good content strategy for sales pushes qualified leads their way. It brands a community on each of the social platforms. Provides a link to the right prospects and pushes them to the top of the sales funnel.

Building these communities requires a single strategy for both marketing and sales efforts.

Social Fresh Feed builds communities that have a preference for a product, brand or cause. Each community has a difference audience segment.  It’s like the efforts that your sales team uses on each of the social platforms but branded for more effectiveness. 

This is the way to help your sales team have a fresh list of prospects to close all the time or when they need it. Each sales team member or donor advocate or board member can rely on this to provide the right experience for their target audience.

Here is more on why.

If marketing focuses building content to provide excellent prospects to the development or sales teams, it means that they have more time for presentations and closing instead generating and qualifying leads.

From MarketingSherpa’s by Kayla Cobb, Reporter:

SUMMARY: “Without good content, you don’t get anybody in the hopper,” Matthew Lacroix, Director of Brand Marketing, Newell Rubbermaid (LENOX), said. 

The LENOX team faced a challenge many B2Bs have — too much of Sales’ time was being spent finding and chasing leads. To remedy the situation, the marketing team launched a content-fueled strategy that allowed Marketing to track the effectiveness of its content. Learn how this effort increased Marketing’s contribution to the Sales’ pipeline and resulted in 50% of qualified leads being traced to inbound.

Lennox’s Mathew Lacroix, “You can do as much email blasting as you want or blogging as you want or advertising, but if you don’t have the content to support it, you’re not going to get people consuming it.”

Get the rest of the story here:

Source: B2B Marketing: Content strategy results in 50% of qualified leads being inbound | MarketingSherpa

Obviously, this is not another big data blog post!

Okay, it is about data but not how to get it but why you need it.

First some context, I argue that it is more important than anything else to make sure the authenticity of your company comes across to the twenty-somethings.  With that in mind and companies like Burt’s Bees and Levi’s as your guide, read on!

Your social feed is full of cat or dog videos, and political messages so now what do you think gets ignored? Your sales pitch! It is hard to make an old fashion sales pitch in that context.  It appears out of place. In fact with the new data issues and privacy issues that have come to light on Facebook, brands don’t stand a chance of getting in front of their audience. But you can still make it work for your brand. Just takes the best story told by you about what is your brand and also told to the right audience.

Social media’s tone and consumer-driven content make the social content seem like a dud for driving review, but I believe it’s the best place to drive revenue.

To establish consumers’ confidence in your brand, a prospect has to feel that what they are buying will perform as promised and then your sales funnel has no friction. But they have to trust your brand! Knowing that…Shouldn’t you find out where your consumers are living online and hanging out in the real world? Building this placement or what I call a true social strategy is where the data comes in handy.

Four points to consider to establish what we’re talking about, authentic presence.

Where:  Find out where your audiences are living online and off and make sure you’re telling your story there.  The demographics of your different segments should help you find their favorite social platform and real-world routines. Each platform or place has a tone of voice you need to use.  Is it pictures or is it video and is the tone advice versus just showing results?  Is it a sponsorship or supporting a cause? Is a lifestyle image and giving them a great experience just like while they experience your company?

What to say: Social media is a perfect place for helping remove any doubt that might hinder the sales conversions later.  Be patient and realize that the platform drives the context. You’re not making the sale here but setting a preference for a frictionless sale for later. Here is your “better than the competition” story you tell everywhere.  The one that sets expectations and has to be true. It is also about making the best of what a platform that rewards good brands, transparent brands, or as I said before, authentic presence the true self of the brand. Does that sound too trendy? Well, just call it the reason for the companies existence.

 Example from, “How Levi’s Built the Most Authentic Clothing Brand”.

Conversion: the buying process has to be easy, or the trust goes right out the window! The buying experience cannot have any hidden or extra effort, risk, or costs. But it won’t because you already made sure of that in all the stories you’ve told. You do have to worry about the way it loads and if the technology supports the effort but that’s almost not as important as the attitude the buyer has when they start the journey.  I’ve seen bad experiences produce results because the company was so well liked…

Back to the beginning: what they’re friends say about the decision to buy your product, is huge.  If your buyers share their purchase experience with friends, you’re a trusted brand.  Making sure you’re asking to be shared, shows confidence in that interaction.  The story gets told.

So what about the data? The data is always what is turning the wheels.

So that means starting with the right data to tell you the who, what, when and where of your audience and segments to data showing how well your message performs with each segment or personal, it is what will make or break your marketing on every platform.

Reputation, buying experience, knowing your customer’s price sensitivity, transparency, and reviews of the product are all places that have to display your brand’s integrity and data can tell you what you need to know about each of those items.

Great example: It used to be that only certain audiences were on mobile. So when you looked at google analytics you could look at the % split between mobile and desktop or tablets and ad the age of each of those and see that you had to design a site for the younger audience on mobile first. Today, that’s all changed, now you need to design your experience like a mobile app even if it’s not an app.

 

I believe that if you strive for a data-driven content strategy, social becomes the best tool you can add to your sales toolbox.

So you know your audience and you know where they are living online and you have content to create, but what is the data saying that might well create the content? Look at what has been the posts that have the most engagement.

Look at how many bookmarks, saves, likes, shares, and comments you’ve received on any post. Is it a video about the outcome after the product has been used or is it product benefits? Which one drove more conversions and what is the lifetime value of the conversions it drove?  Now take the best conversions with the highest lifetime value and look at that content and do more of that.

But not only that, know what your audience likes besides you. Get a look at what they’re interests are and how much they spend doing whatever it is they do. What are they’re top priorities and so on? Here is a great example of content and how to be authentic in your founding story. This resonates with the audience that most likely to use the natural product. Founding story

How about managing your content in a way that always records those KPIs and helps you decide how to create the best experience in social for your prospects? Sounds like your thinking about them and what they’re telling you in the data and not just trying to push traffic to your site.

Empathy is the new customer service strategy here and data enables it.