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We ran our own social experiments in Q3 2016 and thought we would share some of our findings and advice on inbound marketing social media planning to make sure your campaigns are a success. If you are starting your own inbound marketing campaign in the near future, read this blog post to get your social plan in order and then download our inbound starter pack.

Recap On The Role Of Social Media In Inbound Marketing

Following the State Of Social 2016 report which, was released in November 2016 by Buffer and inbound.org, we have been putting together a few social media related posts. This is because it's an enormously cost effective means of getting people to see your content.

The use of groups, hashtags, circles and communities offers a potential gold mine of waiting traffic and future leads. Make sure to find where your Buyer Persona hangs out online and put your competition-beating content in front of them on those said platforms.

Social media should also be used for positioning yourself as an authority in your niche or industry. Provide your followers with well curated content from reliable sources, that compliments your own educational content, and your voice of authority will grow and grow.

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The Benefits Of Planning Social Media For An Inbound Campaign

Hopefully, you will plan your inbound marketing campaign in great detail. Sharpening and revising your Buyer Persona and Buyer's Journey documents at the outset. Getting the latest keyword knowledge. Seeing what gaps there are in the content market for you to target in terms of deciding the topic of your premium, download content...

Why would you leave social media to be an after-thought? It needs just as much care and attention as the other parts of the inbound structure in order to make the whole campaign  a huge success.

Planning needs to be thorough and should follow these criteria:

  • Target the platforms that your Persona uses when in the correct mindset (there's no use trying to show them B2B accounting software when they are browsing Pinterest for wedding decoration ideas for example).
  • Find where and when the relevant chat takes place.
  • Find when your Persona engages (i.e. monitor the reception of your posts closely).
  • Monitor results (good and bad).
  • Set targets to gauge success (try: follower growth and CTR).
  • Work out (and stick to) a plan for automated sharing.
  • Internally assign control of the social accounts and posting.

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Advice On Using Social Media For Inbound Marketing

You should remember that your social media persona needs to compliment the wider inbound methodology that you will be following. Your content is there to be helpful and entice people to trust you enough to become a contact and be able to turn to you when it comes to paying for services you happen to offer.

Your social media during an inbound campaign should do the same. Here's some things to watch out for:

  • Don't spam your account with constant, repetitive, automated posting.
  • Don't leave the accounts unmonitored.
  • Don't forget to optimise your account for the particular campaign your are running (landing page links, pinned tweets, cover photos etc, all being related to your inbound campaign).
  • Don't be afraid of experimenting.

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We tried an exercise, not long after we blogged everyday for a month and saw great results, we changed how we posted on social media completely.

Prior to (and following) the experiment, we followed a strict sharing pattern for automated posting. We post new content on the blog three times a week and share it, to various degrees of frequency, up to three months in advance on social media.

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The experiment went completely the other way, with only one social post being automated per day (and that was the most recent blog post). The rest of the posting was allocated to different members of the team who would post about: what they were working on, an old blog post (of ours) that they liked and share anything of note they had read in their own particular specialism (inbound strategy, content, PPC or SEO).

The results were poor. Shockingly poor. In fact, I still can't look Rikki in the eye when it gets mentioned. But it was a deliberate experiment to see what would happen.

What we saw was a massive drop in traffic and, more crucially, contacts and customers. Given the success of our increased blogging frequency experiment, which doubled the amounts of customers we gained, it's fair to say this one won't be being repeated.

It did show us, however, what doesn't work for our persona and that we are in fact doing something right with our regular social sharing. We were soon back on track for the next campaign.

We roughly follow this plan:

  • Post content on relevant networks (in respective relevant style and tone) with the following frequency; 
    • On Publish: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (unless not suitable), Google+
    • Later That Day: Twitter
    • Day After: Twitter
    • Same Week: Twitter, Facebook (sometimes), Google+
    • Two Weeks Later: Twitter, Facebook (depending on above), Google+ (sometimes)
    • Four Weeks Later: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+

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  • Post at key times of day for each network.
  • We use Instagram for day-to-day/journal/#AgencyLife and fun posts.
  • We share general ad-hoc finds and authority building content produced by others on Twitter and Facebook. We share in depth takes on other content on LinkedIn (as we are a B2B business).
  • We target no more than two hashtags on Twitter.
  • We don't push a deliberately informal tone of voice (gratuitous humour, for example, didn't seem to resonate with the majority of our audience when we experimented with it), but just try to be natural.
  • We compliment our sharing strategy by promoting paid posts.

But we are always looking to shape, analyse and improve our social media planning for future inbound campaigns. And this is vital because, as our experiment showed, social media can produce little to no results if left to fester, but also because it's an ever changing landscape. To stay at the forefront means being able to stay on top of user habits and ways of using the various platforms, then making sure your plan is adapted accordingly.

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Plan Your Own Inbound Campaign And Make Social Media A Part Of It:

If you are researching social media plans to form part of your own inbound marketing campaign, you might find these starter pack documents and templates useful. You can use them, free of charge, to make your inbound plan a success. Just let us know how you get on.

 

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