In the last blog post, I discussed about importance of engagement in SEO. One of many ways to engage users to the site is to use social media. In this blog post, we will talk about role of social media in Inbound Marketing and how Sitecore can help with including social media in a Sitecore implementation.
Let’s start with some statistics to understand why social media is so important for Inbound Marketing.
- There are more than 2 billion social media users worldwide
- In 2016 68.3% internet users are social media users
- 9 out of 10 US business actively use social media
- 1 in every 5 page views in internet is Facebook
I can go on and on with more statistics but, it suffices to say from the above, businesses have to include social media in the core strategy.
Social Media Strategy
For effectively amplifying the content in social media, there need to have a clear strategy. Here are few things, that we need to consider for creating a solid strategy
- Choosing an appropriate social media platform is very important. We need to look at the buyer’s personas of the company to understand which social media platform is most effective to amplify the content. For example, if your company is in professional services, LiknedIn is a good choice, whereas, if you sale products, Facebook might be mpre appropriate platform.
- If you are using multiple social media platforms, the buyer’s personas can be quite different from one platform to other. In this case you need to optimize the content on the basis of what social media we are using.
- There need to have a clear measurable and attainable goal. We need to set goal on how many content will be shared, how many unique visits we want to achieve from social media and how many of visitors we would like to see converted. This will be useful to understand the ROI.
- The content that will shared in the social media should be consistent towards establishing the brand of the company. Content should be written such a way so that, users recognize the brand at a glance. This will have lasting effect on users and they will come back to the site repeatedly.
- It was found that content with relevant images get 94% more views than content without relevant images. Images and videos can help you reach to bigger audience. You can use site like Cavana or Pablo to create visual images for your content that you share in the social media.
- Find the optimum time to publish your posts on the social media. If your audience is teenagers, good time to publish the post maybe after 3 afternoon because that’s when the school breaks. But, if the audience is middle aged people, maybe the best time is evening 7 o’clock.
- Finally, all social media provides analytics data to understand user engagement. For example, following is a screenshot of analytics data from my Twitter account. You can use data from social media to understand user engagement to your site and contents.
Integration with Social Media
There are three different ways a website can be integrated with a social media platform.
- Content can be shared by placing social media button on the web page. In this case if the user click on the social media button the content will show up on the wall in the social media site.
- Site can use social media to authenticate to your website. In this case you can access users social media profile and learn more about their activities in the social media.
- Most companies have their own social media pages. Users may consider to follow the company in the social media and that way visit to website contents directly from the social media pages.
Sitecore Social Experience
Sitecore currently provides two options to integrate with social media.
- Komfo – Komfo is a Danish company with Social Media Marketing Suite of products that let you publish, listen, monitor and analyse social media data. Sitecore Komfo connector let you connect to social media using your Komfo accounts and manage and harvest the social media data from within Sitcore. The social media campaigns can be tracked Sitecore Experience Profile. Access of users social activities enable Sitecore to personalize users experience in the website. Based on users activities captured in the experience database, targeted ads can be published to social media through Komfo connection.
- Sitecore Social Connect – Sitecore Social Connect is a in-built social media connector in Sitecore that let you communicate with social media platform Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. The API can be used to authenticate to the social media. You can import the user data from social media to Sitecore Experience Database and use that for personalization purpose. You can publish content to social media channels from Sitecore. This is a free option.
Besides the above two options for social integration, Sitecore also integrates with Telligent Community application. But, Telligent is not for mainstream social media platforms, it is to create a social community for customers of a company or employees within a company. Sitecore integration with Telligent let you analyse and personalize the website for you customer or employees.
As mentioned in the last post social media conversation helps with SEO too as user engagement is one of the factors in SEO ranking. So social media staregy is extremely imporatant for lead generation in Inbound Marketing. Social media is innovating and changing everyday, marketing has to keep up with that. We hope to see innovations in Sitecore too to keep up with social media changes.