The best marketing strategies start by defining their customers’ journey through the path to purchase and then tailor marketing efforts accordingly. New customers are targeted with different marketing material than those who have made recent purchases or have abandoned shopping carts. Social media content should be no different in aligning to these stages. Unfortunately, this is where most marketers today fall short.
While social media marketing isn’t always as well understand or established as display ads and marketing emails, consumers’ interest in social media also varies based on where they are in a purchasing decision. Marketers often fail to use social media in ways that map to these stages and drive a return on investment.
The missed opportunity is rooted in the known fact that consumers trust the word of other consumers, Their conversations’ influence is greater than that of “pushed” promotional content by brands on social media. And by using the actual social voice of the customer, brands can create authentic marketing using the right content for the right audience that effectively attracts new consumers and builds long term loyalty.
Here is a look at how social media content can be tailored to reach three consumer profiles within a typical customer lifecycle.
Attracting Prospective Customers
Prospective customers are arguably the most important for marketers to target accurately. Marketers need to have a solid plan in place for attracting customers in within their target persona and then build awareness and interest with their brand. In today’s crowded market, this is critical for all brands – large or small, new or old.
The most effective marketers are embracing social media to understand current interests of buyers and surfacing user-generated content to speak to these interests and build awareness through the messages we all trust – those of people like us. According to the Wayin State of Real-Time Marketing Report, more than 50 percent of real-time marketers are displaying social content created by customers for marketing messages, and 98 percent of brands report an ROI in revenue from their real-time marketing efforts.
To better attract new customers, marketers increasingly need to understand what their target audiences are discussing on social channels, what trends exist across their interests or motivations and the types of user-generated content that support those areas. 20th Century Fox successfully attracted potential moviegoers with this approach. The studio found real-time conversations about excitement for its upcoming movie Let’s Be Cops and took the positive consumer Tweets to screen in TV trailers. The strategy not only dramatically increased awareness, but it also drove higher-than-expected box office sales.
Influencing Repeat Customers
Once a customer makes an initial connection with a brand by either visiting the site or making that first purchase, a marketers’ goal is now to influence repeat behavior and purchases.
Consumer behavior and interactions – personal wants, interests and peer influence – are inherently social by nature. The social content and conversation of other consumers can spark a repeat interest and reminder of why a first-time purchase was made. This type of content often encourages conversations around specific products or simply highlights shared (lifestyle) trends. Take for example an NFL team like the Denver Broncos. Teams like this promote repeat game attendance and viewing so creating a repeat engagement opportunity like the #BroncosCountry social hub helps keep the team top-of-mind during football season and gives fans an incentive to engage – all the while increasing viewership, web traffic and potential sponsorship opportunities.
Sales are the ultimate goal for any company, and social content can motivate loyal customers to continue to amplify passion and drive revenue for brands. Simply put, using the right social media created by and for loyal customers can effectively drive sales.
Whether it’s aggregating consumer stories about an issue relevant to the brand (ie. Skin cancer for a sunscreen brand) or using consumer-generated content as real-time customer reviews, showing the power of the brand through passionate social media support can be highly effective.
Nearly half of marketers surveyed in the Real-Time Marketing Report incorporate social media into marketing and advertising efforts and 46 percent display it on their website or other owned community. Moreover, this content doesn’t even need to be brand specific to make an impact. Best Buy utilized the power of passionate, and trend worthy, interests over the holidays to make the purchase decisions of loyal shoppers easier. Showing the “top trending” gifts on Twitter online and in stores made choosing the best presents easy for shoppers and profitable for the brands.
Social media content can have a profound effect on an organization’s marketing efforts when targeted at customers along their different steps in the journey to purchase. Marketers can no longer rely on going through the social media motions. Content created, and aggregated, from social media needs to be deliberate. As we approach peak shopping and event season, take a look at your typical customer journey and assess how you should tailor your marketing with user-generated content accordingly.
In her role as vp of marketing at Wayin, Jordan Slabaugh oversees all aspects of brand marketing, corporate communications, and social media marketing initiatives in order to further develop the Wayin story and establish the company as a leader in the social media analytics market.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.