A marketing funnel lets you map the customer journey, from awareness all the way through to post-purchase advocacy.
Brands devise content and messaging around the different stages of their funnels, and each stage needs to be equally well-ideated if they want their customers to have frictionless interaction with them over the long term.
For example, it’s all very well if an eCommerce business has a well-designed and highly functional website, slick product videos, impressive case studies and informative sales content. But if it lacks a strategy for its overarching customer journey, sales will always stay low.
When a shopper on social media encounters your brand for the first time, they might check out your services, research the benefits of your products, purchase an item—and even recommend you to their friends. In that way, social media actually covers the entire spectrum of the buying process, just as we saw above, from awareness to post-purchase advocacy. But what do the 5 stages of the social media funnel actually look like?
- Awareness: How do prospects find your brand in the first place?
- Evaluation: How do they use social media to compare your products or services to those of your competitors?
- Acquisition: How will you entice your prospects to buy from you?
- Engagement: How will you use social media to stay in touch with these new customers once they’ve purchased from your brand?
- Advocacy: How will you encourage or persuade customers to recommend your company to their friends?
Creating a Loyal Fanbase
In a way, the goal of the social media marketing funnel is to create customers who are advocates of your brand. To see how you can achieve that, Pixated delves a little more deeply into the 5 stages of the social media funnel: what can you do at each stage when it comes to both organic and paid ads?
- Organic: Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Ask Me Anything segments on Reddit, newsletters, contests, YouTube videos, guest posts on external blogs, group chat on LinkedIn and Facebook
- Paid: Email newsletters, influence marketing, ads on Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube
- Organic: Create an Instagram or Pinterest shop; post product demos on YouTube; share positive reviews and testimonials; share customer service queries on Twitter; run a Reddit Ask Me Anything segment with your CEO
- Paid: Sponsor Facebook and Instagram posts with third-party blog posts, product reviews and remarketing ads with product details and insights
- Organic: Host social media contests with purchase incentives, limited-time coupons, and email signups with free guides or ebooks
- Paid: Pinterest buy buttons, Facebook remarketing, Facebook and Instagram lead ads
- Organic: Host Twitter chats; create offers for existing customers, including presale options; answer questions on Facebook and Instagram live sessions
- Paid: Sponsored Facebook posts, public relations pitches, private showcases of new products
- Organic: Build communities, fansites and group chats for customers; recruit customer reps; launch customer-only contests or referral marketing with incentives
- Paid: At this stage of the funnel, it’s probably best to focus the majority of your marketing budget on organic ads. After all, genuine advocates of your brand will happily recommend you and sing your praises of their own volition!
Traditional sales funnels have their time and place, of course. But a social media marketing funnel is a highly effective way of building trust, engaging your audience, and creating an authentic base of fans for your brand.
However, your social media funnel won’t serve you well unless each stage has a purpose. Too many marketers believe they need only invest in a few of the stages. But audiences are discerning: your prospects and customers will sense when your content is egregiously sales, and this will be especially badly received if you haven’t first at least taken the time to build trust in and a solid awareness of your brand.
So if you’re worried you lack the resources to invest heavily across your funnel, make sure you invest in each stage to roughly the same degree. Then you can pick a handful of tactics to focus on at each stage.
By incorporating the right steps into your customer journey and fortifying them with a solid, well-thought-out strategy, you’ll continue to grow your brand in an organic and meaningful way. Why? Because you won’t just be building a customer list—you’ll be building a legitimate core of loyal fans, happy and eager to help you out by recommending your brand to anyone who will listen!