Clients constantly tell me that they “don’t get” social media. That’s a shame because it really isn’t rocket science. Social media is just an extension of something we do everyday. When we think of social media as a conversation, it’s something we can all understand.
Like all good conversations, social media campaigns should ask questions, offer advice, and seek to resolve problems. As a conversation about your business, there is room for social media across the entire customer journey.
What is the Customer Journey?
We’ve talked about the customer journey in relation to email marketing on this blog numerous times. But if you need a quick reminder, it typically follows five phases. These phases are:
- Awareness: The point where potential clients start searching for a solution to a problem and discover your product or service.
- Consideration: When potential clients get serious and start comparing solutions by weighing up the pros and cons of working with your business or engaging with a competitor.
- Purchase/Decision: The moment a prospect becomes a customer.
- Retention: It will always be easier to make money from an existing client than win a new one, so retention is the most important phase of the customer journey.
- Advocacy: Customers are often inspired to buy by people they identify with. Who better to promote your products or services than your existing clients?
So how can social media campaigns and activities be deployed throughout the different phases of the customer journey?
Awareness – Social Media Bait & Listening
The awareness phase of the customer journey is when marketers start fishing for new clients. A social media marketer will know where the fish feed (Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, etc.) and what bait they should use.
Social media bait will often take the form of a hashtag connected to whatever your prospect is searching for. For example, here at emfluence, we might bait social channels with hashtags like #emailmarketing, #marketingautomation, #socialmediamarketing, etc.
During the awareness phase, it’s also essential to actively listen to social channels.
Consider how many people ask questions like, “Can anyone recommend a good conference hotel in New York?” or “What is the best CRM system for a small business?”. It doesn’t matter what your business does or where it is located. Potential customers will be asking questions relevant to your organization every day.
While you can deploy specific listening technology to find those questions, you can also perform simple searches on social channels based on relevant hashtags and search phrases.
Consideration – Thought Leadership
During the consideration phase, it’s important not to adopt a “hard-sell” strategy. In a social environment, many potential customers like to do their own research before either making a direct purchase via your website or engaging with a salesperson.
Enabling your customers to do their own research requires a considerable investment in thought leadership content. The best thought leadership can be delivered across multiple formats, including text, video, and audio. Don’t worry about re-inventing your content for specific channels. Instead, try to reuse and recycle that content over all the channels you engage your audience.
When publishing solid thought leadership content, it is important to create the opportunity for potential customers to take the conversation to the next stage. One way to do this is by encouraging your social media followers to register their interest in a product or service and become email marketing subscribers.
Social media and email marketing work together like peanut butter and jelly. As a social environment, social media is a great place to engage your prospects in conversation. As a place of work, the email inbox is a great place to sell.
Purchase/Decision – Customer Wins
A customer win is a great conversation starter on social media.
A customer win announcement carries some of the kudos of a testimonial or case study without the history. By highlighting customer wins via social media, you are essentially saying to your prospective customers and potential business partners that these guys trust us, so should you.
A customer win announcement can often be as simple as highlighting new brands when they come on board. Many sales organizations will include the right to promote customer wins in their sales contract terms and conditions.
Retention – Recurring Revenues and Customer Lifetime Value
Customer loyalty is won during the retention phase of your customer journey. Retention marketing reminds customers why they made the best decision in working with you and not your competitors (who will still actively be courting them). It also highlights up-sell opportunities that help you generate recurring revenues and improve customer lifetime value (CLV).
Social media monitoring (listening) is a great way to identify potential problems in your business relationships before your customers regret their decision.
Being responsive and engaging with your clients by offering solutions and fixing problems demonstrates that you still care about their business.
Social media is also a great way to highlight how your business is evolving by continuing with your investment in thought leadership content. Therefore the investment you make in content for the consideration phase of your customer journey will also aid with your retention phase.
Advocacy – Can I Have a Witness?
In this social age, you can consider your customers as potential social media influencers.
People buy from people they trust (you) and are inspired to buy by people they identify with (their industry peers). Therefore, the very best salespeople on your team might not work for your organization.
Case studies and testimonials distributed by social media are worth their (virtual) weight in gold. But they also create value for your customers, who, by endorsing your brand raise their own profile and boost business and personal brand awareness.
Be More Social
Social engagement always wins regardless of where your clients are on their individual customer journeys. The most challenging part of the process is finding the time and creative inspiration to regularly publish fresh, relevant, and engaging content to keep the conversation going.
To learn more about how emfluence can help you stay engaged with clients throughout the entire customer journey, contact our social media team today at firstname.lastname@example.org.