As most search engine marketing professionals are keenly aware, developing and implementing an effective content marketing strategy can be a difficult, time-consuming process. In the early days of inbound marketing, SEO professionals would spend hours scouring the web for linking opportunities and reaching out to webmasters of sites that their target audience may or may not be visiting, hoping to land a guest post.

While this strategy may still have a place in the larger scope of inbound marketing, it is certainly not the most effective approach. Instead, savvy online marketing professionals are beginning to leverage social media platforms in order to develop a more efficient way of delivering inbound marketing messages to their target audiences.

One such social media platform is Twitter, whose structure provides the type of data that makes effective inbound marketing—more specifically, content marketing—possible. By staying on top of what types of media their target audience is sharing on Twitter, and paying close attention to where that media is coming from, it is possible for SEO professionals to develop a content marketing strategy that puts the right message in the right place at the right time.

Why Twitter?

In a word: traffic. Twitter is currently the fourth largest social network with nearly 300 million active users. Each of these users is leveraging Twitter to share things: stories, articles, images, products, and links to sites that they find interesting or useful. To the inbound marketer, this presents an opportunity to hone in on exactly what their target audience finds entertaining and engaging online, and develop a content marketing strategy around those websites. By “listening” to Twitter users within your target audience, you can begin to build a road map of places on the web where potential customers are looking. Armed with this information, you know exactly where to focus your content marketing efforts in order to be in the right places to speak directly to your target audience.

It’s this type of insight into what your target audience likes and is actively talking about that makes Twitter such a gold mine for your inbound marketing strategy. But how to go about actually collecting and acting on this data? Let’s take a closer look at some specific implementation tactics.

1. Find Influencers

The first order of business in building an effective content marketing strategy based on Twitter indicators is finding the most influential users in your target audience. These are users with a strong presence and high level of activity on Twitter, which normally earns them a huge amount of followers as well. Finding these influencers among the millions of Twitter users might be a difficult task if it weren’t for tools such as Klout, Followerwonk, and Who Tweeted Me, which allow marketers to identify influential users on Twitter based on metrics such as number of followers, tweet frequency, amount of interaction a user’s tweets receive, etc. With these tools, you can search for influencers by keyword, location, amount of tweets, and amount of followers.

2. Piece the Information Together

Now that you have a list of Twitter influencers in your target audience, it’s time to efficiently collect the most useful data for inbound marketing purposes. One great way to this is by using TAGS (Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet). Developed by Martin Hawksey, TAGS collects Twitter data from the influential users you found and archives it conveniently in Google Docs. The data can be updated hourly, providing you with a real-time look at Twitter queries that contain links, a specific keyword or phrase, or anything else you are interested in keeping track of.

3. Act!

Now that you have all the necessary information at your disposable in order to put content marketing messages in front of the right people in the most effective places, it’s time to get to work. Aside from cranking out some top-notch content for dissemination in the most appropriate forms (e.g, images, white papers, e-books, blog posts, infographics, how-to guides, etc.), you’ll need to reach out to the online sources you have collected and develop relationships in order to get your content placed where your target audience can see it.

For inbound marketers, the best thing about Twitter is that it contains tons of extremely useful information regarding where and how to reach a target audience, including the best websites and keywords to use, in order to make an inbound marketing strategy as effective as possible—you just need to tap into that information.

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