Social Media in Inbound Marketing: Laying the Groundwork

Part one of a two-part interview by Ethos Marketing’s public relations associate and writer Betta Sothart with content marketing specialist Hannah Richards.

In the last 20 years the marketing world has evolved, and if you have not embraced Darwin’s basic rules of adaptation, then your business may be destined for the waste heap of antiquity. The good news is that you can adapt to new marketing and social media strategies, and it’s not as hard as it seems. Hannah Richards, a content marketing specialist at Ethos Marketing, shares top secrets and deep insights about the role of content and social media in inbound marketing. Part One sets the stage for using social media in your inbound marketing strategy, while Part Two delves deeper and examines tactics for success.

Q: How does an inbound blog post differ from a traditional marketing post? 

A: I think the major difference is that inbound posts are not necessarily promoting a product or a service. An inbound post may not even mention your company at all. When you’re developing an inbound post, the goal is to answer a question or solve a problem. The objective is to develop trust with your audience by creating content that is solution specific and ultimately helpful. That’s how you draw them in.

Q: How does the concept of the funnel work?

A: In Inbound marketing, we talk about the concept of a funnel—wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. At the top of the funnel—the widest part —you are luring in your target audience, some of whom may be complete strangers, to your brand.

For example, if you sell cars, you might help someone at the top of funnel figure out how to choose a car that fits best for their lifestyle. At the bottom of the funnel – the narrow end – your goal is to convert someone already familiar with your brand into a customer. In the car dealership example, bottom of the funnel content might include more specific advice about how to cut the best deal at a dealership, and the benefits that your particular dealership offers to people who are buying a car.

Q: How does an inbound FB post reach its intended audience? 

A: Inbound marketing only works if the right people come across your content at the right time. You’ll never be able to bring customers in to your website with content if they can’t see it! Fortunately, there are great content distribution tools out there today, such as Facebook, which provide highly targeted and affordable distribution of your content.

Q: Are there tips for how to create a great inbound FB post?

A: Yes, there are some very important things to consider when posting your inbound content on social media. First, you want to be sure the content is relevant and helpful to the intended audience. Next, you want to be sure you have a headline that will grab people and demonstrate that you are going to give them something useful. So, for example, instead of promoting your company name and an image of your product (the antiquated way of doing things), you might help your audience understand how to dosomething, or offer them six ways to solve a problem.

It used to be that we’d see companies using social to broadcast the types of services they offer. Companies kept it general because they wanted to appeal to largest possible audience, and they worked hard not to offend anyone by keeping everything nonspecific. Inbound is exactly the opposite. It is very specific and very targeted. The Inbound methodology calls for the use of social media targeting tools that allow you to get your content in front of a very specific audience. This level of targeting allows business to be much more specific and useful in what they’re posting.

For example, you’d write a completely different Facebook post intended for a young mom buying a new car (“10 Vehicles that Fit 3 Car seats in the Second Row”) than you would for middle aged male professional buying a car (“A Guide to Understanding Powertrain Warranties”). These would be completely different posts targeted to very different audiences.

Q: What should I keep in mind when writing an inbound social media post?

A: The big thing to remember is don’t be promotional. Instead, be helpful. Being helpful is the best self-promotion you can do. The idea is to give away a certain amount of your knowledge and not to be clandestine. Because if you don’t give it away, there are 75 other articles that will. The bottom line of inbound is to change how you approach marketing.

For example, in my house my husband and I are always remodeling and we are often out there hiring plumbers and carpenters. When I go to a website, I don’t choose the one with the most certifications. I respond to the one who has content available about how to unplug my sink. If you can help someone unplug their sink, then they will call you when their pipes burst. The same rules apply with cars, diets, healthcare, spirituality and fitness. If you can teach someone to change their own oil, they’ll call you when their transmission dies. Being helpful is the best, truest form of self-promotion.

Stayed tuned for Part 2 in the series, which will delve into tactics and strategies for success.

About VONT Performance Digital Marketing

At VONT we believe that change is the only constant in the digital world – and that excites us. When tools and environments are constantly changing, new opportunities to help our clients achieve success are constantly arising. Each new advertising technology, social platform, or design approach allows us to improve on the results we achieve for our clients.

We believe in this idea of continual fine-tuning so much that we named our company VONT, which means to achieve exponential improvement in incremental steps. It is our core belief, and the reason why we are not simply a web design company or simply a digital advertising agency, but rather a long-term, single source partner providing a comprehensive array of web development and digital marketing capabilities.

In short, we’re here so that our clients achieve success in the ever-changing digital world. If you’d like to learn more about VONT and the work we’ve done with our client partners, visit our Work page. Or, if you have a question, contact us. We’ll get right back to you!

Hannah Richards
Written By

Hannah Richards

Director of Brand Engagement