Social Media Does Not Equal Inbound Marketing
When someone asks me what I do for a living and I say, “I’m an Inbound Marketing consultant and they get that blank stare, I try to help them by saying, “Online Marketing,” as a potentially more understandable explanation. Almost inevitably, they then say, “Oh. Social Media. We’re doing that.”
Then I say to myself, “There’s still so much education necessary to help people understand that:
- Inbound Marketing is a total process for growing business online
- Social media engagement is one important part of implementing Inbound Marketing, but to really make social media pay off, you first have to understand its purpose in the big picture.
Here’s a list of what Social Media is good for:
- Identifying people online who can buy your products/services or refer others who can.
- Cultivating relationships with those individuals.
- Publicizing your website, blog posts and other valuable original content to drive traffic.
- Providing outposts for your company other than your website to engage with audiences in different ways.
This is all great and these activities can stand on their own to a point. But Inbound Marketing as an overall approach:
- Originates from a more strategic than tactical mindset.
- Looks at marketing as a driver of growth and takes business objectives and metrics into consideration.
- Is concerned with not only creating online traffic but converting it to sales.
- Tailors tactics to address a prospect’s progress in the purchase cycle.
- Incorporates analytics to measure success and set productive marketing directions.
- Offers ROI proofs.
So if your company has a Facebook page, a Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Google+ account – even if you’re blogging like crazy in addition to your social media efforts – and you’re not sure what it’s actually contributing to the bottom line, it’s time to graduate to the next level of online marketing. Start thinking and implementing like an Inbound Marketer.