Okay, this might be a little hard to swallow, but hear us out: most brands aren’t doing social media marketing correctly. For every Target and MailChimp, there are thousands of other brands, both newly launched and relaunching, that grow a social following but just can’t seem to figure out what to DO with those fans.
Well, that stops today! We’re demystifying social media marketing, starting with its place in the customer journey.
The customer journey is a necessary part of the road to great social media marketing. Knowing exactly how your social content can work at each phase of that journey is important. Let’s dive in.
The Customer Journey
· Awareness: Social content helps people learn about your brand. Focus on making content as discoverable as possible through things like hashtags and a paid promotion strategy. Because most of the major social networks have undergone algorithm changes in the last few years (particularly Facebook), organic reach is not what it once was. Instead of lamenting its death, get smart. Paid promotion can help you reach more of your current audience (and even those beyond your audience) to get fresh eyes on your content.
· Interest: When someone follows you on Instagram or Twitter, they’re indicating they are interested in your content. The same principle applies to post likes, comments, shares, etc. You want to make sure your content offers something engaging, unique, and interaction-worthy to your audience in order to pique (and keep) their interest.
· Consideration: Zappos actually does this really well on their website, but the same idea could be applied to social media content. On select product pages, they post short videos featuring someone modeling the shoes, as well as someone explaining the key highlights of each pair while physically showing you what they’re talking about. It’s a tactic that can help move people from mere interest to consideration and can work for other industries as well. Product demos, how-to’s, white papers, and webinars all fall into this category.
· Purchase: Exclusive social-only sales or promotions can drive your fans to purchase and show them the value of following your brand on social networks.
· Retention: Social media isn’t a “set it and forget it” thing. In order to build a greater following and make sure your fans are ready to move through the customer journey, you need to continuously monitor their feedback and engage with them on your social channels. In addition to showing your fans that you care about what they have to say, you can also gain valuable insight into which areas of your business they like and which areas could use some improvement.
· Advocacy: Turning your fans into advocates helps feed the customer journey funnel. These fans go out and bring more awareness to your brand by sharing content with their own social followings. Influencer marketing can be very effective in this regard.
Okay, so how do you know WHICH point in the customer journey should be your focus? We’ve seen it time and again with our own clients: they have amassed a decent social media following, but don’t know how to pinpoint where social media marketing should fall within their overall strategy. That’s the key here: strategy. Before tackling any social content, you need to consider your overall marketing strategy for a particular timeframe.
How Social Media Marketing Fits with Overall Strategy
Let’s say you’re relaunching your brand with a new look and want to drive purchases of your latest product line. Use social media to 1) move customers into the consideration stage by creating product demos and 2) get them into the purchase stage by providing them with a social-exclusive offer.
If your brand is newly launched, you definitely need to build some brand awareness. You need to show people on social who you are and what you’re all about. Post content that explains your brand at the top level (“We’re a company that sells vegan ice cream”) and what makes you different (“Our ice cream is made from whole ingredients, without added fillers”).
Now, this isn’t to say that you should produce NO content that falls into the other stages of the customer journey. You should certainly have social content that covers all stages, BUT your main focus should be one or two areas of the customer journey at a time. And just like your overall marketing strategy, your social media goals won’t stay the same forever. Once you’ve accomplished your awareness and interest goals, you want to move on to consideration and purchase. Just make sure that your social media marketing strategy supports your overall marketing strategy.
Social media is a great way to build a loyal and vibrant community around your brand, but only if you’re 1) utilizing your audience and content for a strategic purpose and 2) investing real time and effort into maintaining your presence.