Inbound vs. Outbound: The 2 Types of Engagement on Social Media

Inbound vs. Outbound: The 2 Types of Engagement on Social Media

Engagement is the foundation of relationship building on social media. It is the currency that keeps users interested. It incentivizes quality content creation and it gives users the ability to be heard. 


Although it has been heralded that “engagement” is the secret sauce to social media success by many thought leaders and social media gurus, this process of “engagement” is ambiguous and up for interpretation depending on the school of thought you are subscribed to. 


At Social Cycle we believe that social media engagement is not meant to be solely reactionary. Yes, you should respond to comments. Yes, you should answer direct messages. However, the vast majority of personal brands and businesses on social media do not have mentions pouring in. You must use a different form of engagement to reel in those comments and sales conversations from a top of funnel perspective.



Inbound Engagement: 

Inbound engagement is the more widely utilized and popular form of social engagement. Another way of saying inbound engagement is reactionary engagement. These types of engagements include responding to direct messages or comments. This engagement focuses on nurturing relationships with those who are already familiar with your brand


Companies such as sprout social or hootsuite have created tools such as an ‘all in one inbox’ that can help social media managers to better streamline responses. 


Social listening is another form of inbound engagement. Social listening tracks brand names via mentions and hashtags as a way for businesses to monitor and participate in conversations about their brand happening on social media. 


Tools such as “all in one inbox” or social listening can be extremely helpful in managing high volumes of inbound engagement, however, the majority of personal brands on social media are working on facilitating this type of engagement as opposed to managing the response to all of the inquiries that they are receiving. 


Outbound Engagement: 

Outbound engagement focuses on building relationships proactively with people who are unfamiliar with your brand on social media. The desired outcome of outbound engagement is to build your following, engagement level on posts and eventually your sales volume. 


Outbound engagement focuses on crafting sales touchpoints in the form of social media engagement. Examples include the following: liking posts, commenting on posts, responding to stories, sending direct messages. 


Social selling requires personalization and intention. By leaving unsolicited validation (LUV) on your prospects posts, you can begin to build familiarity and rapport with social media users with an overlap in interests or values. 


Outbound engagement is meant to funnel into inbound engagement as prospects will reciprocate comments, likes and direct messages creating more inbound interest. 


In conclusion:

There is a harmony between your outbound and inbound efforts. Based on the size of your operation or the current traction you have on your social media you can adjust your ratio of outbound to inbound engagements. 


By integrating these processes into one fluent social media strategy you can be successful in manufacturing sales conversations about product or service through organic engagement and nurturing on social media. 



Examples of each: 

  • Outbound
    • Casting a net and pulling relevant prospects towards you 
    • Prospect
      • Hashtag/Location feed
        • Between 5-500k posts for #'s
        • Location of city or local business
      • Engagement on similar posts to yours 
        • Commenters are best
        • Tagged accounts in posts
      • Engagement/following certain pages
        • 10k or less and followers are valid unless your are seeking influencers.

  • Inbound
    • Reactionary or inbound
      • Comments 
      • Direct messages
    • All in one inbox
      • Engagement according to smm software
        • Hootsuite
        • Sprout social 
    • Content can be considered inbound
      • Organic reach shrinking 
      • Weak CTA
      • Shopping (not for services)
        • Industry research on Facebook shopping 
      • Swipe up 
      • Live videos

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