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In this digital age, people tend to spend most of their time browsing the internet and with the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping has become a part of our daily lives. With the huge shift from people visiting storefronts to people relying on online shopping, retailers had to adjust to the new normal to stay afloat. This suggests that they understand the importance of social media. The growing rate of online shopping has largely got brands to use social media as a marketing platform to increase sales.
There has been a shift in the way consumers discover and purchase products online and how social media plays a huge role to influence the customer journey. Social media is one of the best tools to connect you to relevant users who have never heard of you yet.
Marketers believe that social media gives a simple and straightforward path-to-purchase. There are five key stages of the customer journey that we are going to focus on here; awareness, consideration, purchase, loyalty, and advocacy. All these stages play an important role to influence other customer’s journeys.
Awareness: Social media plays an important role in brand awareness by introducing your brand to users who have never heard about you. This is where the customer first learns about you. This suggests that your profile names should make it easier for users to find you. Social media allows you to reach a broader audience than you can possibly reach by word of mouth or any form of marketing (Budget-wise). This can simply be done via paid media promotion (Media buying) and in other cases competitions and giveaways. All these methods contribute to getting your brand out there and known.
To build brand awareness you must post consistently on your pages and add value for your audience. This may include having interactive content and content that prompts users to engage with your page.
Consideration: In the second stage, users now know your brand and can relate to what you share, however, getting them to consider purchasing your products or services requires further work. Most users in this digital age rather check for something they want online before making a purchase. This is made possible by the internet.
The internet makes it easier for information to be passed around to a huge audience, which means many people already on social media can trust their peer reviews about your brand. 70% of online consumers trust content written by other users above all other forms of marketing. For example, a customer on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media platforms writes a post about how good your service is can lead to your business gaining new customers and followers.
Purchase: When it comes to purchasing, social media can help speed up the process of considering purchasing the product through the clever use of call-to-action buttons. Winning your first customer is not easy but you can win your first-time customers by a sale or discount offer. Many people go to social media to look for announcements of upcoming sales, coupons, and codes. For example, a potential customer sees a post from you about the Black Friday sale while other users are already responding with “what a great deal, do you sell online ?” or “can’t wait to buy this!” this is likely to convert the prospective client.
Loyalty: The mistake that most brands make is that they stop focusing on the customer journey once the customer has reached the purchasing stage, instead of focusing on building a good long-term relationship with your customer. Loyal customers will always be an active audience than passive, whether by commenting or even sharing your content. A quick response to every comment, compliment, and a complaint will help nurture loyalty. Interacting with all user posts and comments as much as possible can help foster loyalty and,t’s a great way to show customers that you’re not only reading their feedback but also acting on it.
Advocacy: A satisfied Customer is the best source of advertisement. Your customers are your best and biggest sales team. Make them feel appreciated for their engagement with your brand because as much as customer loyalty is important, the most important role that social media plays in the customer journey is advocacy. A good online customer experience can lead to customer referrals and that is where they will rate you high for good services and leave a good review of your brand.
Social media can be impactful in every stage of the customer journey more than any other medium/channel. This is what makes it more powerful social sharing is extremely influential and should be utilised at all stage of the customer journey for the best results.