For as much discussion as there is about engagement with fans, the main reason for businesses to be involved in social media is to increase sales. Connecting with social network users is a great way to do so but it is really an ends to a mean. By creating and distributing interesting and relevant content for fans and followers, businesses will be able to attract more customers to buy from their brand.

This is the process behind the concept of inbound marketing, and is why the two work so well together.  As explained by Hubspot, “Inbound marketing is a set of marketing strategies and techniques focused on pulling relevant prospects and customers towards a business and its products. Inbound marketing is becoming widely accepted because it complements the way buyers make purchasing decisions today – they are using the Internet to learn about the products and services that best meet their needs.”

Inbound Marketing

Social media is an excellent tool in an inbound marketing strategy. As opposed to traditional methods that focused on crafting a single message and pushing that message onto the mass audience, social media derives its value from the collective and individual placing the focus on the user.

When used effectively to this degree, social media and inbound marketing have the ability to cut costs per lead for business. According to a 2012 State of Inbound Marketing study conducted by Hubspot, “Inbound marketing-dominated organizations experience a 61% lower cost per lead than outbound marketing dominated organizations.” This trend has been maintained through 2012 as well as 2011.

Blogs and social media are the least expensive forms of lead generation for businesses. It cannot be ignored that both of these tactics require time and commitment in order to be successful. Publishing a blog once a month or sending out a few product pushing tweets every now and then will not deliver results. Despite the time commitment that is necessary, blogs are the best way to add new pages of fresh content to a site about a variety of keywords. By keeping a regular blog blog posts will be indexed by search engies quicker and more frequently and businesses can establish themselves as thought leaders within the industry.

Diligently updating your social media platforms and engaging with fans requires time but in the end is extremely rewarding. This success is why so many businesses are expanding their inbound marketing budgets with a large focus on blogs and social media. Furthermore, studies have shown that leads from inbound links are more likely to become customers than outbound leads.

Social media and blogs has become increasingly important platforms to reach out to potential customers as part of an inbound marketing strategy. Whether a company is business-to-business or business to consumer, there is a social network that will result in quality leads that are more likely to convert to customers. An active social media presence and a regular blogging schedule as part of an inbound marketing strategy can establish a business as a thought leader with potential customers and by taking the time to nurture these relationships, businesses will be able to decrease their costs while increasing sales.