Most people rely on social media when researching or buying products. But as important as social media is in advising purchasing decisions, most companies have not yet mastered how to leverage its power.
Findings of a survey conducted by CMO show that though marketers are using social media to reach more people, 41.5% cannot show its effectiveness in selling and growing their brand.
There are 2 key reasons why brands struggle with influencing customers’ purchasing decisions through social medial. These include:
1.Lack of an attribution model
Potential customers will discover and interact with your brand through different channels. Social media is just one of those channels. As such, you need an attribution model to help you understand which of your channels drive the most conversions and which ones don’t.
With this knowledge, you can then tailor your strategy to suit the outcome you want. For instance, you could rewrite content on a platform that is not converting. You could also give a freebie at the checkout stage, to encourage more customers to complete a purchase.
2.Poor customer engagement
61% of businesses lose a lot of customers because of failing to respond to tweets. When you don’t respond, you deny your customers a good buying experience.
Let’s look at a practical example of this:
Lucy, a 29-year old lab assistant and single mom, has just seen your ad while checking her Facebook account on her morning commute. She clicks on the ad, which redirects to your website. She decides she likes your product; it’s exactly what she’s been looking for. She decides to buy but there’s a problem at checkout. She drops you a message but you get around to responding 24 hours later, only to find that Lucy actually bought the item on another website.
From this example, you’ve done everything you need to do to succeed:
- You’ve created awareness,
- This awareness has led to a lead,
- The lead has responded,
- But since you failed to engage at the most important part in the sales journey, you have lost that lead.
With that said, how can you make social media have more impact in a customer’s purchase journey?
Step 1: Identify your goals for social media marketing
Pinpoint the goals you hope social media will achieve for your business e.g clicks, purchases, subscriptions, downloads and more. Map out a step by step process of each marketing process you plan to undertake to achieve these goals.
Step 2: Decide level of attribution.
If you have other marketing media that you use, identify areas of effort overlap. For instance, your blog could be the main vehicle for reaching customers and you’re just leveraging social media to push the same content.
Measure the return on investment for each platform as it’s the only way you’ll know whether your efforts are paying off.
Step 3: Start engaging your customers
According to Forrester, social media allows customers to self-guide through 90% of their purchase journey. They will research, read reviews, ask for support and buy.
So, where do you come in? The answer is ‘engagement’. Use social media to:
- Gather and respond to feedback.
- Provide answers to customers’ questions.
- Enable customers to buy where they are most comfortable, whether in a brick and motor shop or on your website.
- Provide after-sales support or technical support.
If you’re selling your products in a physical store, you should marry your offline and online efforts. Let’s assume that in the example above, Lucy decides to buy your product at a store mentioned in your ad.
The sales people she meets there should go above and beyond to make her feel valued. This is the only way you’ll get repeat customers. It’s also the only way your investment in social will yield good returns.
The bottom line for you should be to remember that customers will spend more on brands that give them a good experience. They are also more willing to recommend such brands to other people. Leverage the power of social media to give them a good experience and you’ll see positive results.