Understand your social media marketing funnel
To make the most of social media for a business it’s useful to ensure your social media strategy is aligned to your marketing strategy and the simplest way to do this is to look at your marketing funnel and ensure your social media strategy fits into this. If you already have a clear marketing funnel then feel free to skip the next bit!
What is a marketing funnel?
Marketing funnels are basically the journey that your customer takes from first hearing about you to making a purchase.
Marketing experts have mirrored the likely customer journey and despite there being loads of different funnel models available, with different stages that have different names, they are all very similar. The AIDAR funnel is one of the most popular and the stages here are Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action and Retention.
- Awareness | Potential customers first find out about your brand and what you stand for and sell.
- Interest | Generating interest in your products/services as customers learn more.
- Desire | Creating enough interest that your customers go from knowing and liking your products/services to wanting them.
- Action | Moving the potential customer to take a desired action, whether that is leaving their email address to get more information, calling you up, visiting your store etc.
- Retention | This customer becomes a repeat customer so you upsell them further products/services but they also refer you to other customers.
Your marketing efforts should be about pushing people through this funnel from one stage to the next.
At each of the stages, you lose people. You get the most people at the Awareness stage but not everyone will be interested in your products/services so you get attrition between this stage and the next stage and so on. This is why the model shape is a funnel – you get most people at the top and each stage gets smaller and smaller as you fail to convert everyone to the next stage.
There are two ways that potential customers enter this stage.
Customers first find out about your brand when they realise they have a problem and start researching for solutions and come across your business. This is called inbound as customers are coming in to your funnel through their own steam.
Customers first find out about your brand because you proactively get your brand in front of them in order to make them realise they need your product/services. This is called outbound as you are bringing customers into your funnel.
When building your social media marketing funnel think about how you are using social media to ensure customers enter the Awareness stage of your funnel. Activities here include a mixture of inbound and outbound:
- Building relationships with partners in order to get in front of their audiences.
- Building relationships with influencers in order to get in front of their audiences.
- Using content marketing to share great content that people will share with their audiences.
- Having conversations with your community to increase engagement, which in turn increases your reach.
- Running discrete social media campaigns designed to increase brand awareness.
- Running social media competitions designed to increase brand awareness.
- Using social advertising.
The key here is to provide compelling information about your product/service and to get people to want to know more. You have to do this quickly and efficiently as your customers have a limited attention span!
Here your social media marketing funnel needs to build interest and engagement with your target audience. Activities include:
- Sharing quality content about your products/services, for example, product demos.
- Sharing case studies/testimonials/user-generated content from your existing customers that showcases their satisfaction.
- Using social advertising.
- Running campaigns and competitions specifically designed to deepen engagement with your target audience.
When building your social media marketing funnel the ideal next step here is for potential customers to follow you. That way you can more easily move them through the funnel.
The further people move through your funnel:
- The more research they will do
- The more detail you may need to give them about your products/services and brand.
- The more they are likely to engage with you.
Here your social media marketing funnel needs to build a deeper connection with your target audience. Activities include:
- Having a more personalised content strategy to speak to different pain points or motivations/objections.
- Sharing more detailed, in-depth, content or more emotional or inspirational content.
- Offering more meaningful content formats such as inviting people to join a Live video where they can ask questions in real-time.
- Designing discrete social media campaigns to build engagement and have meaningful interactions with your audience.
- Running social media competitions designed to build engagement.
- Building relationships by having meaningful conversations with your target audience, rather than superficial replies.
- Building a Facebook Group designed to support your community or using existing Facebook Groups to add value and build relationships.
A successful social media strategy that continues to build relationships with potential customers will eventually move people to take a key action.
Here your social media marketing funnel will have activities to drive key actions and may include:
- Encouraging people to leave an email address, perhaps for a newsletter, a product demonstration, a white paper or thought leadership piece or a free sample.
- Convincing your audience to visit your website or landing page and buy from you.
- Retargeting your organic audiences with paid social advertising campaigns.
It’s important to be careful not to push these activities too much on social media or you will come across as spammy.
All good marketing funnels will focus on building the lifetime value of the customer. It costs a lot more to bring in a new customer than it does to upsell to your existing customers. Here you should focus on building customer loyalty and also customer advocacy so not only do they buy more from you they convince others to buy from you too.
Here, your social media marketing funnel is really important. Customers turn to social media for customer services and support and activities might include:
- Community engagement efforts, interacting with your customers regularly and responding promptly if they ever mention you positively to thank them and cement the relationship.
- Crisis management efforts, reacting to any customer that mentions you negatively and jumping in immediately to diffuse things and move them to a less public forum like email.
- Customer service efforts, picking up on any questions customers have about the product/service and helping them post-purchase.
Simple versus complex funnels
What you sell and how much it costs has a significant impact on what your social media marketing funnel looks like.
Generally, the more expensive your product the longer the funnel lifespan. For more expensive products/services, customers will want to do more research to make sure it’s a smart investment. For example, Digital Mums runs a foundational level social media marketing course that costs £499 and an advanced social media marketing course that costs £4,500. Often people buy our foundational level course at the early bird price of £350 simply after reading a brochure and coming to a sample live lesson. However, people generally want a lot more information on our advanced course, including seeing data on average incomes post-graduation and also speaking to graduates directly. This makes sense as it’s 10x the price.
Building your own funnel
A great starting point for your funnel is to sit down and map out your ideal customer journey and plot how you might need to use social media at each funnel stage. Map out content that you have or might need for each stage to push people convincingly through to action and retention. Identify any gaps and develop a plan to fill these gaps.
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