Social Media

How social media impacts the customer journey

The ever-changing social landscape is the perfect environment to engage your customers time and time again throughout the customer journey. Understanding that journey, and how social media fits into it, can unlock a world of potential for your business.

With over 2.46 billion people using social media in 2017, this is not just a marketing channel – it’s the beating heart to our lives, and the lifeblood of digital. A place for conversation, communities and content to be made and shared.

The challenge comes in knowing how your business can cut through the noise of auto-play videos, viral content and push notifications to create impact and build meaningful connections with your customers.

The first step is to understand how social impacts the customer journey – we’ve broken it down into six of the 10 stages:

customer-journey-stages-social-media

Stage 1: Aware

The customer is aware of your business, having been exposed to it on various social channels. They may have liked or followed your brand, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll see your posts and content – according to Moz, the average lifespan of a tweet is just 18minutes and the average organic visibility of a Facebook page is between 7-30 percent!

If they haven’t yet engaged with your brand they may have seen one of your Page posts that a friend has engaged with (it’s a great thing, social proof).

Facebook 2017's organic reach by industry

How to reach users during Awareness phase?

Boost reach with paid social

Your biggest weapon in the fight for social visibility is paid advertising, but should be used wisely. Facebook’s sophisticated ad platform opens up a world of targeting options including location, gender, interests and behaviour demographics.

When done right, you can reach your core audience with minimal budget and ease customers into the purchase funnel with engaging, creative content.

Get savvy with tools

Use tools such as Buzzsumo to identify influencers within your industry and uncover your target audience’s interests. Partner with these people to share your brand message with an authentic trusted voice.

Make your profiles easy to find

Optimise your social accounts to get you found. Is your page name obvious to your business? (Sounds simple, but it’s surprising how many companies get this wrong, especially on Twitter). Do you have a clear link to your contact us page or email in case customers want alternative methods to contact you? Is your profile picture and cover image consistent with your website and other social channels?

You can now signify that your Twitter profile is one that provides customer support, for example the below Spotify account utilises this as do many other major consumer brands.

Spotify customer support

Stage 2: Research

At this point in the journey, customers are searching for answers. With a problem, desire or need to fulfil, they’re actively researching into your brand and others to find solutions.

They compare yours and competitor websites and social accounts, and look into reviews across platforms such as Trustpilot, Google and Facebook.

This is where a strong content strategy and responsive social presence comes into its own.

How to reach users during this phase?

Harness the power of user-generated content

Empowering your customers to become content producers can reap a multitude of rewards for your business. Encouraging user-generated content (UGC) not only builds an actively engaged fanbase, but also strengthens trust in your customers as they compare products.

For example, a short unboxing video on YouTube or imagery on Instagram of a product in action.

Social integration

Are you utilising the ‘Pin’ functionality across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to highlight key campaigns? Are your social profiles and feeds integrated into your website and blog content to encourage users to click through and follow you?

Make it as easy as possible for potential customers to get the info they need right now, or bookmark for later when your content shows up in their timelines.

Listen in to trending content

Use Buzzsumo to see what articles and content are being shared across the core social channels, and create your own to mirror, complement or fill content gaps.

Content shared on Buzzsumo

Stage 3: Consideration

The fluid nature of social media means you can put your brand in front of your target audience at multiple touchpoints in the customer journey, on a range of platforms. Whether a short video in the Twitter timeline, a recipe guide on Pinterest or retargeting advertising on Facebook – the opportunities are endless.

A customer in the consideration phase now has a better understanding of the product or service they want, but is considering the right company to get it from.

How to reach users during this phase?

Tailor your content and be responsive

It’s a good idea then to make sure your content and social messaging is relevant to your customers’ interests and needs. A fast and reactive presence across your social channels to answer queries as they occur will help your brand come out on top as they edge closer to purchase.

BT's social media customer service

Feed the hunger of the deal hunter

As well a place for conversation, many customers also look for deals and offers on social media with a reported 44% using social media to ‘receive promotional offers’ so make sure your content reflects this trend.

eMarketer's research showing how social media activities that influence shopping behaviour

Stage 4: Selection

Edging closer to conversion, this is the stage in the journey where the customer narrows down options based on everything they’ve learned about yours and other brands.

Product info, price, reviews, and visual content showcasing your product in action are all contributing factors to the decision making process.

How to reach users during this phase?

Reinforce and reassure

Keep your brand front of mind by creating timely and action-rich social content that helps reinforce choice and reassures customers they’re making the right decision.

Proactive social listening

Conversations don’t just happen on your own social channels, but within the wider social sphere – put yourself at the heart of it.

Users may ask questions directly about which product is better or more suitable for their current situation (e.g. a touch screen laptop vs. a laptop with better processing power). Utilise social listening tools to monitor what users are saying on social – whether they tag you or not – and be part of these conversations.

A couple we recommend are Mention or Sproutsocial.

Social media listening tools Mention and Sprout Social

Stage 5: Use

Just because the customer has now made a purchase the journey doesn’t stop there. Creating and sharing content to help get the most from your product or service will keep customers continually engaged with your brand.

Tutorial videos, infographics, guides and other assets will help ‘onboard’ customers into using your product/service and provide you with sharable content to entice more customers into their own buying journey.

Go the extra mile

Some customers may already be posting about their purchase on social. They’ve made the effort to do a bit of free marketing for you – so do the same back and put a bit more effort into your response than simply ‘liking’ or saying ‘thanks’.

Why not make some bespoke graphics, use GIFs or utilise customer service teams to send short Twitter Videos to customers saying thanks?

And if you’ve created the tutorial videos and other content outlined above to help use your product better you can share links to that too.

Retweeting customers posts

Stage 6: Advocacy

Your customers are your best and biggest sales team. Make them feel appreciated for their engagement with your brand.

This can be as simple as always responding to queries, questions and saying thanks for positive reviews, but why not do something extra special for them. These customer advocates in turn provide a trusted voice to their friends and family, boosting the brand awareness of your business even more so throughout their networks.

A further step would be to ask customers to leave reviews or comments on your social channels and within the ‘thank you’ page following their order or ‘delivery confirmed’ emails when they receive it.

Going above and beyond for your customers will reap your own rewards.

Customer thanking Firebox for BB8 and Haribo

Learn more about Fresh Egg’s social media services to find out more.