Primary Inbound Channels: Search and Social Media

Once you’ve created your content, social media platforms and search engines will likely be the primary channels through which your potential new customers discover that content.

SEO: 

SEO — Search Engine Optimization — is the process of creating better visibility for your business on keyword searches performed by your customers and prospects. Typically, the goal of SEO is to get more visits to your website from interested prospects, but it also encompasses increasing your visibility on third-party platforms like Google My Business, social platforms, and key industry directories. 

Most other forms of promotion require an ongoing budget to continue to get your content in front of relevant prospects. The unique benefit of SEO is that any investment in content you make today can continue to attract interested buyers months or even years into the future.

SEO is a little more complex than other forms of marketing, but at its core, SEO is about what you say about yourself — how you say it and where you say it — and what others say about you — how they say it and where they say it.

Demand Science’s David Mihm has put together this comprehensive but readable guide to help businesses tackle the fundamentals of SEO.

Social Media Marketing: 

Social media consistently ranks as one of the top three marketing channels among small business owners. And with good reason — everyone’s on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube — and in the business world, LinkedIn. You don’t have to be a technical expert to be great at social media, and the possibility of one of your posts going viral holds tremendous appeal.

But social media marketing can be difficult because it requires content to be modified in a way that makes it digestible in fewer words and smaller graphics. 

A good social media presence takes time to build, and doesn’t have to be the same quality across all channels. Think about where your customers are likely to hang out online (the best way to do this is simply to ask them!), and that’s where you should be spending time as a business owner.

List what your goals are, which social media platforms you are interested in utilizing and what content you’d like to produce and share. The answers to these questions should be considered carefully. Creating a buyer persona will help guide you in this exercise. This forms the foundation of your social media strategy. 

Growing a social media presence takes time, and requires planning ahead. Develop a posting calendar with topical themes relevant to your business, and don’t be afraid to share content from other sources in your industry. Sharing content from potential partners or from authors you hope might eventually feature your company can be the first step in a relationship with those individuals.

However, posting is only half of the work. Be ready to engage on the platforms you choose to spend your time. You might receive comments on your post, shares, and DM’s. Highlight and thank positive reviews. Target and try to remedy negative comments. The quicker you do this the better. 

The expectation on social media is to recognize those interactions, and if appropriate, to respond in more or less realtime. 

If you have the budget, buying ads on your target social platforms (or even the platforms where you don’t have time to spend) is another option to explore. You can specify exactly who you want the ad shown to using demographic targeting features of the major social networks, while also reaching a wider audience than just your followers.