DTR: Social Media and the Sales Funnel
Social media is supposed to be just that, social. Brands share content consistently and engage with fans in real time. In return, their social presence has a positive impact through growing brand awareness, providing excellent customer service and increasing customer loyalty.
However, these interactions represent a very small portion of the opportunities your brand has to engage with potential customers on social media. When you get caught in the loop of only speaking to and engaging with your current customers—or worse, just pushing a “sell, sell, sell” message—you miss out on introducing new users to your business and helping them understand why they need your service or product.
If you read our article about the role of the sales funnel in developing content strategy for websites, the same principles apply to social media marketing. Consumers typically move through stages as they make a purchase. If you don’t take that into account, you’re missing out on building relationships with future purchasers. When you only consider the customers you already have, you’re ignoring the other stages of the funnel. By recognizing this one little thing, your content and advertising strategies may change drastically.
Content and advertising should be based on the segment of the audience you’re targeting. You wouldn’t serve the same ad to someone who is well acquainted with your brand as you would someone who has never heard of it, and with social media, we have the ability more than ever to reach people with that kind of precision.
There is a courting period with social content and advertising, and you don’t have to give up being social to enter into it. You begin with introducing yourself. Once they see you a few times, maybe they’ll visit your Facebook page or interact with your Instagram post. Then they move on to the next phase.
Some brands assume that if you put your sales message out there enough, people will buy. Very rarely does a cold audience buy just because they saw your ad first. Potential customers often research. They look at reviews, they look at the information on your website and learn about competitors. While people are in this stage, you should be talking to them about the why behind your product.
Once they’ve taken any action with your account or your website, you can begin targeting based on those actions. At this stage in the relationship, it’s like you’re asking prospective customers out on a date. You’re sending them content that is relevant to them and to their needs. Your content is reminding them that your product or service is exactly what they need. They’re really interested in you, you’re really interested in them. They likely just need a little extra courting put in on your behalf.
If your dates go well, they’ll make a commitment. This is the conversion period of the relationship. They’ll purchase, sign up or take action. You’ve officially won them over! And because they’ve had such a positive experience, eventually your customers will introduce you to their friends and family, and they’ll become a loyal advocate.
Facebook, in particular, makes curating content to each stage in the funnel easy. When you set up Facebook ads, you are provided ad objectives based on where prospective customers are in the sales funnel: awareness, consideration (research and evaluation), conversion.
For one of our clients, in particular, this tool has been remarkably valuable. By offering free downloads, they’re able to build awareness and capture website visits in one fell swoop. In addition to getting people into the funnel, website retargeting for abandoned carts and ads served to past purchasers or web visitors in the past 30 days results in more than 80% of their revenue.
By taking into account where your customer is in their journey and how much they know about your brand, you have the ability to increase your metrics from engagement to valuable conversions.