Article

Rick Barron
Rick Barron 16 October 2019

Hand In Hand

Social media marketing and social sharing, in particular, can help to move potential customers move through the customer journey, all the way from first learning about your brand to actively advocating for it.

Social media marketing and social sharing, in particular, can help to move potential customers move through the customer journey, all the way from first learning about your brand to actively advocating for it.

Let’s explore how the customer journey and social media can impact each.

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What Are the Stages of the Customer Journey?

When focused most heavily on sales, the customer’s journey is sometimes referred to as the digital sales funnel or a purchasing funnel. There are key stages of the customer’s journey, which is the process of building a relationship with your brand that all customers will go through. These stages are:

1-Awareness:  where a customer first learns about your brand
2-Consideration: where a customer considers purchasing from you or competitors but is not yet ready to buy
3-Purchase: when the customer actually purchases
4-Loyalty: where your customers favor your brand over competitors
5-Advocacy: when your customers will refer to friends and family to you

For the most part, many businesses focus all of their efforts on the first three stages of the customer journey and feel that once the customer has purchased their product, no additional work is needed. Needless to say, that ignoring loyalty and advocacy, will cost you your most high-value customers who, in many cases, will actually send even more great business your way.

When you’re starting customer journey mapping for your business, you should make sure you take every stage [every stage] into account, ensuring that your social media, user-generated content (or UGC for short), and social sharing work as solid touchpoints for each one.

Awareness

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Social media is a fantastic tool to aid in brand awareness campaigns, connecting you to relevant users who have never heard of you yet. Using PPC campaigns, like Facebook Ads or Promoted Pins, can be extremely effective in exposing your brand to new members of your target audience. Once you’ve identified your target platforms (which are based on demographics), you can run social contests or campaigns to connect with these users and potentially get lead information.

Interacting with social influencers, particularly micro-influencers, on social media can also help you increase reach and awareness.

Consideration

More users than ever before are doing research online before making a purchase, and an increasing number of these users are utilizing social media to do that research. They look for peer reviews and what customers have to say. A whopping 92% of online consumers trust content written by other users above all other forms of marketing, so social media and user-generated content is essential in winning over users in the consideration stage.

Purchase

If your customers are close to purchasing but not quite there, social media can help nudge them just enough to hit the “add to cart” button.

Many first-time customers, for example, can be won over by a sale or discount offer, and many will go to social media to look for announcements of upcoming sales or coupon codes. If a potential customer sees a tweet from you about an upcoming sale and it has a few users responding with “what a great deal, can’t wait” or “can’t wait to buy this!” you probably just earned their business.

Using social media is also uniquely efficient at building social proof for your products. When you display real customer photos of your products endorsing your brand you are building brand trust.

Displaying user-generated content on your website is proven to increase average order value by 6% and 2X conversion rate.

Loyalty

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Unfortunately, a surprising number of brands stop focusing on the customer journey once their customer has reached the stage of the purchase. Instead, you should be focusing on building an online community and a long-term relationship with your customers. Prioritizing customer experience management can help with this, ensuring that they maintain engaged with you and your brand.

Loyal customers will likely start interacting with you on social media, whether they’re commenting on your fantastic customer service or a feature or service your business offers that they love. Responding to every comment, compliment, and a complaint will help nurture loyalty.

Incorporate social sharing into any of your customer loyalty programs for maximum impact. Customer should be able to earn points or be offered an incentive from your business if they share or post on social about your business. This will forge more loyalty, and with expanded reach, these posts could help you usher plenty of new users into the awareness stage of the funnel.

An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event. Commodities are fungible, goods tangible, services intangible, and experiences memorable. This is what is referred to as the Experience Economy.

Advocacy

While many brands may not prioritize loyalty, even more, forget about advocacy. This is a missed opportunity because your most loyal, raving fans will actively contribute to your business, send you referrals, and help you build an online community.

Social media allows brands to maintain close and frequent contact with customers. It’s also easier than ever for users to become advocates; they can share your posts, leave you reviews, and upload UGC that will benefit your business in a matter of seconds.

The Take-Away

Social media, more than any other type of media, can be impactful in every stage of the customer journey without any other type of media. This makes it powerful, especially when combined with other types of marketing like email marketing or content marketing. Social sharing, in particular, is extremely impactful and should be utilized at all stage of the customer journey for the best results.

 

About the author

Hi, my name is Rick and I thank you for reading this article!

I explore to learn new stuff every day and here I will share all my experiences and thoughts with you.

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram. :)

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