With so much competition circling around social media, getting your social media following to pay attention to your products, deals, and discounts can feel like an uphill battle. It’s essential to meet your potential new customers where they’re looking to shop, but how can you move your social media following onto your website and into the conversion phase of the buyer’s funnel?
Since online shopping has become the most popular (and undoubtedly safest) way to purchase products this year, much of the modern buyer’s journey has shifted into self-education and self-direction. This is why social selling has become so popular with businesses and brands; leveraging your social platforms gives you direct access to your potential buyers and allows you to market more efficiently. And while using social media as a marketing tool may be new to your business, it still follows a similar marketing strategy — it just requires mapping out your buyer’s journey in a new way.
Learning the best way to move your social media followers down the sales funnel can take a lot of the guesswork out of your social media marketing. Let’s lay out the start-to-finish process of a complete social buyer’s journey so that you have the tools you need to map out a strategy of your own.
Why Is Mapping Out Your Buyer’s Journey So Important?
With so many ways to structure a marketing strategy for your business, why is it so important to take the time to map out a buyer’s journey?
Realizing that 95% of B2B buyers stick to online research before making a purchase decision is the first step in understanding the importance of a buyer’s journey map. What your potential prospects are consuming and researching online is the majority of their purchasing decision process, so you need to meet them on their preferred platform if you want to get on their radar. With a mappable buyer’s journey, you’ll have a process for each stage- you’ll be able to understand what questions your customers are asking, what content they’re consuming when engaging with new brands, and the type of information you’ll need to lay out in order to earn their purchase.
Not only can a mappable buyer’s journey help you increase your conversion rate, but it can also help you supplement other tools in your marketing strategy:
- Research in the buyer’s journey can assist with keyword research for your SEO strategy.
- Being aware of the content audiences are engaging with can help you build out a flawless content strategy and posting schedule.
- Learning how social media followers communicate and what language they respond to can help build your own brand voice in ads and on your website.
There’s a lot of value in putting the work in to map out a buyer’s journey of your own. So, let’s talk about each stage of the buyer’s journey so you can start building out your map and increasing your ROI.
Research and Awareness
The first step to any buyer’s journey is knowing your audience. Who’s looking to buy your products? Where are they from? What other interests do they have outside of your industry? If you can nail down a concrete description of the different types of consumers you’re looking to attract, you have a much better chance of finding them on social media.
Research for any method of marketing relies on analyzing your website data and/or your brick-and-mortar customer list. Tracking website traffic, previous purchases, and landing page views will give you more information about the demographics of your target market and help you build out a profile to take to social media.
Pinning down your online audience can also help you plan out social media content for the future. The content you post should reflect not only your brand, but the interests of your target audience. By doing research on social media platforms you intend on using, you can get a better understanding of what content works with your target audience and what doesn’t.
Once you’ve analyzed your online audience and prior customer data, you can start to flesh out what sort of profiles and social media consumers you’d like to start engaging with on your social media accounts and start the second stage of the social media buyer’s journey- building trust.
Building Trust and Loyalty
Once you find your audience on social media, it’s time to prove to them that you’re their next go-to brand. Building trust on social media works well because it feels less abrasive than the typical marketing funnel. Instead of putting potential new customers on a marketing list and sending them your products directly, you can instead push social media content their way that acts more like a suggestion. This is why social selling is such a valuable strategy to bring into your marketing tool belt- it allows you to get closer to your audience and create a bond that will eventually lead them to purchasing your products.
Building trust on social media involves a few different methods of communication, the first being social media engagement. Engagement is a way to connect to your social media following and those in your target audience that are not currently following your profile, but you’d like to get them on the path to doing so. Social media engagement includes actions like liking comments left on your social media profile, responding to open-ended comments and keeping the conversation going, liking and commenting on the posts of your target audience, and giving relevant brands and profiles a follow.
Another way to build trust with your social audience is responding to comments and feedback using authenticity and honesty. Consumers want to know the brand they’re purchasing from is honest and cares about their consumers more than making a quick buck. It’s important to maintain an authentic social media profile and respond to negative feedback with pure transparency. An unanswered negative comment can be more damaging to your brand reputation than expected, so don’t keep consumers waiting on your social media profiles.
Once your audience feels like they can trust your brand and they’re engaged by your social media content, chances are they’ll want to learn more about what you have to offer. This will take them into the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.
Evaluation and Consideration
Before buying comes evaluation, validation, and consideration of other brands. Potential buyers are going to go through a few questions and maybe even a pros and cons list before they buckle down on purchasing and completing the sales funnel. Luckily for you, there are still ways to use social media to support the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.
The best way to nourish social media followers in the consideration stage of your buyer’s journey is to help paint a picture of how they’ll benefit from your products. How will their lives improve? Will they take less stress off their plate, enjoy a new experience, or have more free time to themselves? Pinpoint the best parts of your product and place those positives into the content you market on social media.
You’ll also want to utilize any positive consumer reviews you may have on your website and highlight these in your social media posts. Positive feedback helps new potential customers find human reassurance that your brand is trustworthy and of value to them. After all, word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most highly sought after tools for any brand or business. It’s easy to take the word of a real life customer rather than from an advertisement from the brand itself.
This is a great stage to collect data about the buyer’s process on social media. Social listening can help you narrow down each buyer persona into an easier to digest channel of information. There are a variety of tools and platforms available to make social listening a stress-free experience so you can learn more about the buying experience on social media and make adjustments to your marketing funnel.
Purchasing and Post-Purchasing
This final stage of the buyer’s journey requires full confidence and assurance from the consumer that your brand is the right fit for them. They’re ready to make the commitment and start purchasing from your business- now all they need is the right opportunity.
The best way to supplement the purchasing process is to create a sense of urgency and importance around your product. Do you have any-time sensitive offers you can promote on social media to generate buzz for potential customers? Are there products or services that have limited quantity or are about to sell out? Promoting these types of urgents deals and discounts will help bring consumers to your website and have them adding things to their cart in no time.
Even after you’ve captured your social media followers as purchasers, you’ll need to nourish the relationship you have with them to keep them loyal to your brand. The post-purchasing process is an equally important part of the buyer’s journey. Without fully nurtured purchasers, you won’t have the consistency of customers that come back for more and refer their friends and family to your brand.
Follow up with your social media followers and new consumers even after the purchasing process. Make sure you keep your social engagement strategy going long after you reach your conversion goals in order to keep your marketing funnel alive and your followers satisfied with their purchase.
The goal of social media marketing is to get your followers through the marketing funnel with ease and accuracy. From social media followers to frequent consumers-, your online audience has a lot of potential ROI value if you shape your buyer’s journey map the right way for your brand. With the focus of buyer’s research shifting to social media, adapting to the value of online sales and social media marketing can put the buzz of excitement back into your ROI strategy.