Inbound content marketing and social media marketing might just be the biggest promotional buzzwords of the last decade. They all promise a more organic and authentic way to reach your audience, building sustainable strategies that can be executed even on a shoestring budget.
They’re not quite the same thing, of course. And yet, they need to work together for maximum possible effectiveness.
That doesn’t happen automatically, but it’s also relatively straightforward—if you know what steps to take. Let’s start with a basic definition of both inbound content marketing and social media marketing, before diving into the ways you can integrate both for maximum effectiveness.
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What is Inbound Content Marketing?
Inbound content marketing is the process of building website content designed to drive your target audience to your website. That content, most often in the form of blog posts and long-form alternatives like eBooks and whitepapers, focuses on value first.
Its relevance and value-add to your audience make them naturally seek out that content. That, in turn, allows you to capture their interest and follow up with nurturing content (often emails) to nudge them towards becoming customers.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is “the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience to build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic.” It consists of publishing social posts, engaging with members of your target audience, and running ads to broaden the scope of your efforts across platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
7 Ways to Integrate Inbound Content and Social Media Marketing
Reading those two above definitions alone draws some natural connections between the two. Those connections are vital for a successful marketing strategy.
Social media marketing on its own will not generate the conversions you need to build your customer base. Inbound content marketing, on the other hand, matters little if you don’t have the means to promote your content. Both ultimately need to work together to fill those gaps, providing the results you need to grow your business. These 7 steps can help you do that.
Step 1: Establish a Consistent Voice
The first step is vital for any of the following steps to succeed. You have to make sure, that as your audience moves from content to social media and vice versa, their experience remains consistent. Above all, that means building a brand voice that shines through in anything from short tweets to long-form eBooks, all speaking with the same nuances and tone.
Step 2: Build Your Long-Form Content
Next, and based on that brand voice, it’s time to start building the content that will become the cornerstone of your inbound marketing. Most likely, that will come in the form of a few central long-form pieces, like eBooks or whitepapers, that users can access for free but only in exchange for their contact information.
A successful content marketing strategy requires drawing from these pillars to build individual blog posts, all focusing on delivering value to your audience. Each of them, just as the long-form pieces themselves, will become opportunities for social media marketing.
Step 3: Extract Content Snippets for Social
With the central building blocks in place, you can begin to draw on content that, while optimized for each network, will ultimately become snippets. If you’ve built your content the right way, it should be a treasure trove for these snippets and pull-outs.
It might be highlighting a single statistic or quote from a study, or just a summary of the content designed to get the interest of your audience. These social media posts are not quite ready to publish yet but can form the basis of the content calendar and publishing schedule we’ll discuss below.
Step 4: Build an Integrated Content Calendar
Both content marketing and social media marketing use a calendar system to better plan and schedule out the actual content getting in front of your audience. So why not combine the two? An integrated content calendar can help you:
- Schedule out individual posts, and even build in repeat promotions, to maximize their impact.
- Build a natural flow from publishing content on your website to promoting it on social media.
- Plan ahead to avoid any dry spells or gaps in your publication strategy on both social media and your website.
Step 5: Add Social Sharing Links to Your Content and Landing Pages
As you begin to publish your content according to the schedule you’ve built, don’t forget to optimize it for your own social media purposes. When reading it, your audience should be able to easily share it with their own social media followers on their preferred network.
Adding links and buttons, both for the article as a whole and for individual snippets like an impactful quote or statistic, can help boost the post’s shareability.
Step 6: Line Up Social Media and Email
Another important component of inbound content marketing, as mentioned above, is email. This is where you nurture your new leads and inquiries gained through website content to become customers. Lining up your email messaging with your social media channels is vital, building touchpoints and consistency that ultimately increase the likelihood of retention and goodwill among your audience.
Step 7: Promote Your Content With Paid Social Media Ads
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of social media advertising as it relates to your content marketing. Remember, content is only as good as the exposure it gets; even the best information matters little if your audience never sees it. Integrating social ads into your content marketing means expanding your audience, building targeted pushes towards your most high-converting pieces, and increasing visibility to grow your business.
Inbound Content and Social Media – Related Strategies With the Same Ultimate Goal
It would be wrong to say that content marketing and social media promotions are one and the same. It’s entirely accurate, though, to say that they depend on each other, and need to feed off each other for maximum success. Close integration between both can go a long way towards building a consistent digital strategy that attracts, convinces, and converts your audience to grow your business.