Is social media meant for brand awareness, research, or driving sales? It’s a topic that’s widely debated.
Based on our experience, a successful social media strategy serves as all three aspects. Bottom line: social media is about building relationships. If you’re not catering to and engaging with your customers at all points of the marketing funnel, you could be missing out—mainly because your competitors may be filling the gap for you.
In this article, we’ll look at the social marketing funnel and tools to help you build a successful social media brand strategy.
The Marketing Funnel
There are several variations of the marketing funnel, but most start by generating awareness, which then leads to interest, desire, and finally, the user taking action. While these models seem straight forward, they can be challenging to integrate into your social strategy. To help, we developed a social marketing funnel.
The first challenge is making users aware of your brand. Awareness on social media equates to reach, impressions, and views. With social media, this means getting in front of users that never visited your social media page. The most popular way to do this is by running ads. Ads allow you to target people that match your desired audience, increasing the likelihood of gaining new followers. Of course, there are other ways to get in front of new customers. You can post in groups, generate shareable content, or actively engage with your followers. However, social media for business has evolved into pay-to-play. So, if your intent is to gain new followers, a paid campaign is the best way to go.
Once you reach your target audience, they can choose to engage with you, IF they’re interested in your brand. The key to appealing to your audience is researching and developing content that’s interesting to them and makes them look smart, successful, and cool. Done successfully, users will like, share, and comment on your content.
Interest on social media equates to followers, likes, shares, reactions, comments, and retweets.
Users will generally go from interest to desire once they’ve identified your product or service as something they want or need. At this stage, communication is key! Users are ready to make a decision. Answering their questions will increase your chances of making a sale or lead for your brand. Response time is critical. A quick response can close sales.
Desire on social media equates to emails, site visits, messages, and comments.
The next challenge is content. A common mistake brands make is assuming a user is ready to commit when they first visit the page. Even if a user discovers your page and decides to follow you, the relationship still needs nurturing. Continually posting links to your products doesn’t work and is a turnoff. Mix up your content and make it personal. If you have a reliable product or service, sales will come naturally.
Once a user believes they are fully informed, they’re ready to act. At this point, you’ll want to make the purchase path easy. Watch out for paths that require too many clicks, too much information, or any questions where users must fetch information such as a credit card. Use APIs and various payment options such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, or allowing keychains to auto-fill forms with credit card information.
Action on social media equates to conversions.
The Rule of Fourths
You’ve likely heard about the rule of thirds:
A third of your posts should promote your product or service
A third of your posts should engage with others
A third of your posts should be sharing industry news and tips
With the rule of fourths, we’ve added video to the mix.
Sharing video updates
Tools like Facebook and Instagram Live allow brands to connect with users on a deeper emotional level, which is a critical part of building consumer trust.
Listen for Brand Mentions
A key to successful audience engagement is for you, the marketer, to participate in conversations about your brand. Become familiar with common hashtags associated with your brand and monitor new comments and posts as they come up. Set up alerts through Google. For 24/7 monitoring, our team utilizes tools that allow us to discover when there are online brand mentions quickly. These same tools can intercept a negative review or assist with a purchase, making these tools a worth-while investment.
The Wrap Up
Like most marketing channels, a user’s journey on social media isn’t linear. Some would call it rabbit trails or following spaghetti, making our jobs as marketers much harder. Still, it also forces us to get creative so we can politely disrupt the journey just enough to gain their attention and a following. Some users may take a day to purchase, while others may wait an entire year. Knowing where your users are in the funnel allows you to create a more meaningful social strategy. Using the rule of fourths will also help you create a plan that targets users at all steps of their journey.