“I know that I need to be utilizing social media for my brand, but how will it generate leads and ultimately, revenue for my company”? As a Social Media Marketer, this is one of the most commonly asked questions of business owners. And it’s a valid question to ask.
Are you currently publishing content to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms? If the answer is yes, then you’ve completed the first step. Have a presence on social media platforms. It is hard to believe in 2015, that many organizations still don’t have a social media presence. The other common flaw, and possibly even worse, is having a presence, but not effectively working and maintaining it.
So, what’s next? Any brand would love to see sales happen overnight on social; however it is not realistic. It is important to familiarize yourself with the social media funnel and understand the process flow of a lead. Understanding the process flow will allow you to track progress and over time, the return the investment in social media marketing is delivering for your organization.
1.) Awareness – It’s time to introduce your brand to the outside world. Brand loyalty by consumers requires trust. This is the first step toward building that new relationship. Back in the day, this stage required companies to spend thousands of dollars on print and TV ads, but today brand awareness can be built relatively quickly, through social media.
It is imperative to create compelling content with compelling visuals that will appeal to potential consumers. The social media market is an extremely crowded landscape. Getting your brand the attention you desire, can be difficult given the volume of competitors vying for the same prospects attention. A best practice is to run a mix of targeted social ads to help you reach the right audience.
2.) Interest – Think of your social network, as its own community, because it is. You must become engaged with your audience through relevant and interesting content. Brands must also engage themselves in the conversations happening on each platform. It is true of any relationship. You must first garner genuine interest and then begin to nurture that relationship. Growing the funnel is all about gaining the consumers interest and then developing a trusted relationship with your brand.
3.) Education – Let consumers become aware of your brand and educate them on what you have to offer. Prioritize the social media platforms based on your business and optimize your posting schedule. This is where you can link to your website, create behind the scenes videos, and show the relevance of your brand to the consumer. Keep the messaging brief and to the point. The modern consumer processes information in short, digestible chunks. Often times with Social Media marketing, “less is more”.
4.) Engagement – Engagement really goes hand-in-hand with the interest stage. This is where content is key. Many times brands often execute this step incorrectly. There is much more to social media than just creating a post and pushing sales at your fans. Having a content strategy is crucial to your social success. You want your consumer to be interested and engage with the content you are putting out there. The biggest engagement success is running a sweepstakes or giveaway in return for an email address. It’s a win for your brand because now you have more emails to add to your database. Engagement is a key part of building a database of qualified, potential customers.
5.) Action – Steps 1-4 are typically the most difficult part of developing your social media funnel, but once you have these completed getting a lead to take an action can be quite easy. Be sure that the call to action is simple and painless for the consumer. These actions can include an actual sale, an email sign-up, downloads, and more. Each company will have a different goal for the action depending on their objectives. It is important to not only establish the goals, but ensure that you have a way to objectively track progress. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage to the effectiveness of your social media investment.
6.) Customer – Don’t stop engaging just because an action has been taken and you have the initial response you were looking for. Keep your customer engaged and keep building your fan base. Work hard to keep that customer interested and loyal to your brand, just as hard as you did to gain that customer in the first place. This will help you cross that critical stage of customer interest to customer loyalty. Loyal followers provide the most positive reviews and help build your social presence. Stay connected.