A customer’s ‘online journey’ with most businesses is not a linear road. Before making an online purchase or decision, many customers are now first engaging with your brand through different media channels.
When the world of social media first collided with the marketing world, it was a glorious thing for businesses wanting to reach their audiences in a new and exciting way. Initially, social media was a megaphone for marketers and an excellent tool for driving website traffic and sales. While it remains an excellent marketing tool to this day, social media is no longer the ‘web click’ generator it was in the past. This is largely due to what is commonly dubbed as “content shock” which refers to when there is too much content for people to consume. As a result, social media has become more of a method of engaging with clients and building a brand that people trust.
“Social is a way for us to build confidence in the brand by showcasing our personality. Engage with them, inspire them and answer their questions quickly.” – Hannah Pilpel, social project manager at MADE.COM
So, what has all this got to do with a customer’s online journey? And why is brand-building with social media so important?
Well, to put it simply, a customer will rarely go straight from one of your tweets or Facebook posts to your website ‘checkout’ page. The journey involves a little gentle guidance to encourage the customer to the desired destination. This ‘guidance’ involves developing a positive repertoire with your audience through interesting and helpful online content, timely customer support, one-on-one conversations and personal engagement. After all, a study by Sprout Social found that 75 percent of people have to see something on social media more than once before they would purchase it.
Here is an example of what a customer’s average online journey could look like:
- Awareness: The person becomes aware of your product or service through word-of-mouth, and/or online ads and content.
- Consideration: That person then begins to consider your brand and engage with it on social platforms, while simultaneously considering competitors and comparing prices, services, and offerings. This is where having a strong online presence is so important and it’s also the prime time to impress them with excellent one-on-one customer service.
- Conversion: Once the person trusts the brand and is ready to take action, contact is made and the purchase process begins! This is usually done through email, telephone, the website, or nowadays, even via social media messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger.
- Loyalty: Due to the top-notch service provided to the customer, they are now more likely to use your business in the future and to recommend it to others.
Takeaway Point: Don’t discredit the value of maintaining a positive online presence and engaging with your audience. It may not provide the direct results that it used to, but it plays an integral part in the customer’s journey to making an online purchase/booking or enquiry.
For help with all your digital marketing needs, feel free get in touch with our marketing team.