Inbound Marketing: An Effective Social Publishing Strategy

An important part of inbound marketing is publishing content on social media. That certainly sounds simple and straight forward enough. But there's more to social publishing than just creating random posts and hoping for the best. Successful social media marketing happens when you publish useful, relevant, shareable content, and support that content by engaging with your prospects. Of course, none of this can happen without a focused social publishing strategy. Here are 5 steps to creating an effective social publishing strategy:

1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely. As you develop goals for your social publishing strategy, make sure they meet all of the five criteria of SMART goals. Keep in mind that social publishing is tied to the first action step of the inbound marketing process - to attract visitors to your website. So, for example, getting people to buy something or donate to your cause wouldn't be a relevant social publishing goal; though it could fit the other four criteria of a SMART Goal. A smarter goal would be to attract X number of visitors to a specific landing page on your website. Learn more about smart goals

2. Gather Content To Share.

Many marketers get stalled at this step because they think it means they have to create new content - one more thing to add to an already busy schedule. But it doesn't have to be that way. Simply gather 1-3 pieces of existing content that can entice your social contacts to visit your website. For example, existing blog posts, ebooks, white papers, infographics, checklists, etc.

Supplement every 1-3 pieces of your own content with 2-3 pieces of third-party content. Third-party content will help you become a trusted source of industry knowledge, and help you establish industry relationships. A good way to source third-party content is by setting up and monitoring Google Alerts for industry-specific keywords and phrases. You can also monitor industry blogs, forums, and newsletters.

3. Create a Publishing Schedule.

Publishing the right content is only half the battle in social publishing. It's also important that you publish your content in the right places, at the right times. Otherwise, your desired audience might miss it. Here are some general tips on where and when to publish (and not publish).

  • Twitter: Best time to post - 12:00-3:00pm; Worst time to post: 8:00pm - 9:00am.
  • Facebook: Best time to post - 1:00-4:00pm; Worst time to post: 8:00pm - 8:00am.
  • LinkedIn: Best time to post - 9:00am-6:00pm; Worst time to post: 6:00 pm - 9:00am.
  • Google+: Best time to post - 9:00-10:00am; Worst time to post: 8:00pm - 6:00am.

Of course, you'll want to do some testing to narrow down those places and times to best suit your industry and audience.

4. Create Social Messages.

Any time you share a link to a blog post or other web content, whether your own or third-party, you should always include some of your own thoughts on that content. Of course, it should be brief. You don't want to do 500 words on the subject. That would be better as a post on your own blog.

Depending on which social networks you intend to publish on, create a separate message to accompany each. Make each message unique, taking into account the audience you're reaching on that particular network. And, of course, make sure each message includes a link to the content you're sharing.

5. Monitor and Adjust.

Some organizations measure the effectiveness of their marketing in a very general way. If they're achieving an acceptable ROI overall, they're content and don't want to tinker with anything. The problem with that approach is not knowing which components of their overall marketing strategy are performing well individually. For example, if they have, say, 3 major components to their overall marketing strategy and only two of them are delivering results, they could be wasting a lot of time and money on that under-performing component - money that could be better spent beefing up the two components that are delivering results. That's why it's important to monitor your social publishing results, and make adjustments to improve overall performance.

In Conclusion:

In today's world, the internet in general, and social networking in particular, help shape our daily decisions in significant ways. Consumers are exposed to more information than ever. This information not only makes them better informed, but it also impacts their buying behaviors. As a result, marketers must respond and begin catering to the way people find products and services. Social publishing, as part of a broader inbound marketing strategy, is an effective way to do that.