Social media is an integral channel throughout the entire customer journey. However, each stage requires a different approach and messaging to effectively reach and engage customers.
Here’s how to use social media at each stage of the customer journey.
Customers need different things from brands at each stage of their journey. At the start, they need more information on their options and details on the product/service.
In the middle, after they’ve begun to narrow their choices, they need to verify the options.
And toward the end, they need ongoing support and ways to easily share their experience.
Social media is an integral channel throughout this journey, but plays a different role at each stage for both the consumer and for your brand.
Following are the foundational ways to use social media and set expectations throughout the customer journey.
The interest phase is when customers are first becoming aware of a want or a desire, and first becoming familiar with your brand, products and/or services.
This is your opportunity to create awareness and ensure your brand/products/services are included in the initial consideration set.
Use social media channels to post educational, informational and entertaining content. Quality of content is tantamount here.
Don’t simply post content for the sake of it. Ensure that it is well written and/or designed, can be easily viewed on both desktop and mobile devices, and provides value to your audience.
Utilizing the paid promotional features on the various social networks helps to extend reach to a broader audience.
During the research phase, customer are narrowing down their options and learning more about these select choices.
At this stage, you need to provide more information about your business, and the key features and benefits of your products/services.
Use social media to link to specific product, service or category pages, fact sheets or FAQs, and relevant resource content.
Answer all questions posed directly through your social media channels.For an additional, proactive step, find people on social media channels that are in need of support, but haven’t directly approached your brand. Helping these individuals in their time of need can help win you new business.
In the validation phase, customers are looking for proof or verification that the purchase decision they are about to make is the right one. You can help substantiate your brand by providing easy access to legitimate, third-party reviews and information on your products/services.
Beardbrand shares articles and blogs about its products and company, improving credibility and providing third-party reviews.
Make sure your company is accurately listed on all relevant review sites, and that you have included reviews on product pages.
Then use social media channels to share existing customer reviews and testimonials, and encourage others to add new reviews.
You can also reach out to industry bloggers to ask for product reviews, just be sure they’re including the appropriate disclosure notices on their blogs and site.
In the decision phase, the customer has selected their best choice and is ready to take action. Here is when you need to provide the path of least resistance to conversion.
Use social media at this stage to post sales, discounts or other promotional offers and link directly to the conversion page(s).
Use paid retargeting campaigns on Facebook and Twitter to bring customers back that have already visited your website.
The retention phase is when customers come back to make repeat purchases from your brand. This is your opportunity to ensure customers are satisfied with your offering and are aware of the value that you provide to their lives.
Use social media to provide ongoing customer support and stay top of mind for existing customers. Answer questions and respond to concerns in a timely and helpful fashion.
Ask for feedback directly about their experience with your products/services, inquire about how you can make improvements (and then actually make those changes!).
And post new offerings, promotions and announcements on your social media channels.
In the advocacy phase, customers turn into promoters after being delighted with their experience.
You must inspire this advocacy through superior performance and well-structured influencer and brand ambassador programs.
Maker’s Mark has a long-standing brand ambassador program that encourages social media activity by providing exclusive perks.
Use social media to identify and engage with customers that have powerful and authoritative social media networks of their own.
Reshare and engage with customers saying positive things about your brand. Develop a user-generated campaign to encourage real stories from real customers, and share the most compelling submissions on your social channels.
Customers have different mindsets and needs at each stage of their journey, and use digital channels in varying ways throughout.
When you understand how and why they are using social media, you can provide the right content and messaging to help guide them through their journey.