Social media can help you build long-term relationships with your clients, who will be willing to purchase from you. We hear this so often.
Today many businesses are trying to do social media, but not all of them ever see real results. Businesses know that it’s important to create original content that meets their audience’s needs. However, that’s easier said than done. How can social media get buyers involved from the first interest to an ultimate justified decision? How can it help companies keep pace with their clients? What social networks should they use to connect with their customers and convert their prospects?
To answer this and other important questions, we discussed how social media impacts buyers’ decisions with our SEMrush Chat participants and our special guest Steady Demand, a team of professionals that provides content development and fully managed social media services.
Social media has an impact on customers’ buying decisions and their path toward making a purchase. The three main stages of the buyer’s journey are awareness, consideration, and making a decision. At the beginning of our discussion, we asked our chat participants what steps of this journey are influenced by social media the most.
Our special guest expert suggests that the awareness stage is the one most affected by social media.
As Steady Demands explains, during the awareness phase, a buyer needs to understand two important things:
That they have a need
That you exist
From a marketer’s standpoint, this is a crucial phase of the buyer’s journey. Without it, customer will not even consider you.
Other chat participants agreed on this point. Amel Mehenaoui @amelm points out that, during this stage, social media reinforces your brand presence in your customers’ minds.
Nevertheless, some of our chat participants believe that although social media affects the awareness stage, the situation can change because of the context.
Before making a purchase decision, your potential customers will obviously want to know more about your product and company. Even if buyers have narrowed down their choices to just a few websites, including your company’s, they still continue researching and look for more endorsement. They need proof that your company is trusted and that purchasing your product or service will be the right decision. This is where the research and consideration stage begins, which is also strongly influenced by your social media.
Bill Slawski @bill_slawski also says that social media affects how buyers learn about your products: “Social media strongly impacts the discovery and information gathering aspect of buyers learning about products and services.”
Your presence on social media greatly impacts their first impression. It can determine whether or not users will stick around on your page, follow you, join the “army” of your devoted audience, click through to your website, and even have a desire to own the products you’re offering.
Some experts also believe that social media affects every stage of the buyer’s journey, including their final decision. Even if a buyer is finally ready to make a purchase, he or she will still need informative articles, guides, tips, etc. Make sure you continue to provide them with valuable information and doing social media activities appropriately.
ThinkTank @Think_Tank_Mktg suggests that by effectively using social media channels companies can get their customers to move beyond the funnel: “Social media can affect every stage; it just depends where the buyer is at. You can use social to help push them down the funnel!”
Also, you can find out more on this topic in the article “Social Media: A Buyer’s Journey,” which was published by Steady Demand.
As we can see, social media can affect every step of the buyer’s journey. That’s why it’s very important to use social media properly at every stage. With the right approach, it can be a powerful, influential tool.
In today’s marketing world, social media is a widely used tool that allows many companies to engage with their audience. But how do you decide which social media channel will allow you to get the maximum results?
We asked our guest to name social networks that have proven to be the most effective for connecting with clients.
As many experts point out, it depends on your specific industry.
If you’re interested in connecting with your audience and growing it, any social platform can be effective, as Steady Demand proposes: “With that said, we believe any social network can be effective if you are genuinely interested in connecting with others.”
Nevertheless, our guests named several major social networks that they’ve found effective.
Some social networks provide you with a great opportunity to find and reach out to people with common interests. An interest-based community in Google+ is a good place to keep up with the latest trends in the industry and connect with your potential customers.
“If you're a local business, you have no reason not to be on G+; the local SERP results alone are top notch!” explains ThinkTank @Think_Tank_Mktg.
Generally, LinkedIn is considered to be a business networking social platform. Also, it’s a great place to prospect for new clients.
You’ve probably already heard that Microsoft is going to buy LinkedIn. Chris Desadoy @EliteYouTubePro assumes this can make the social network a serious enterprise platform for the B2B sector: “Now that Microsoft is going to buy LinkedIn, that may be a super big enterprise platform for B2B.”
Twitter allows users to easily share long and short-form content with other people. If used properly, it can be an effective tool for both large multinational companies and individuals. LinkedIn provides opportunities to interact directly with brands and clients.
On Facebook you can share absolutely all types of online content, as well as events and ads. It provides amazing image- and video-sharing opportunities and also has interest-based groups. Using Facebook, you can effectively increase awareness of your brand, reach out to your audience and answer any customer service queries.
Another way to tell people about your business is by creating and sharing video content. Because of such platforms like YouTube video is the primary form of communication. It provides additional opportunities for brands to encourage discussion between subscribers.
Sadie Sherran also points out that YouTube is good for connecting with younger audiences.
A picture can be worth a thousand words. With Instagram, images are the main focus. But users can also share short videos – less than 60 seconds. Using Instagram, brands can resonate perfectly with their targeted audience. It’s also a mobile app, which is another advantage of this network, since a growing number of people use mobile phones daily.
It’s also interesting that different networks work best for different countries: “For sale explains, B2C here in Germany it’s definitely Facebook, Instagram and YouTube,” according to Marcus Guhlan @marcusguhlan.
If you’re not using Snapchat already, you should consider at least testing it in 2016. At the beginning of this year, Snapchat users viewed more than seven billion videos per day, which is a huge audience of potential customers.
Finally, Ben Fisher @TheSocialDude gave a great piece of advice, saying that the most effective social network is the one where your customers are hanging out: “This is a key thought; choose your platforms carefully, and focus on where your customers are.”
Different social networks provide different opportunities and capabilities. Each company should decide which social network to use based on their particular audience. Some marketers make the mistake of counting solely on social giants, like Facebook and Twitter. There’re many other opportunities. What’s good for some companies can yield disappointing results for others.
For many businesses, an effective, successful social media campaign might not be easy to define and execute. Your online presence should attract the right people and help you achieve your goals.
Our chat participants shared their tips on how to create an excellent social media experience that will help convert prospects.
Check out these recommendations from our guest experts!
These key components will help you expand your social reach and create an amazing social media experience.
With diverse social networks and live chat platforms, businesses have the opportunity to communicate with their customers in a more transparent way. Companies that haven’t made social media a part of their marketing campaign might be missing out on a great opportunity.
But communicating with your audience via social channels won’t be beneficial unless you do it properly. Steady Demand provides an algorithm for implementing social media into your marketing efforts:
Identify customer objectives
Create content that meets your customer’s needs and wants
Keep people interested and engaged
First of all, Steady Demand recommends that marketers identify specific customer objectives. For example, this could be a desire to learn how to do something or receive support. Once you identify these objectives, you should create engaging content that your audience really needs. To move people from the awareness step to the consideration step, you should always keep your audience interested and engaged. Otherwise, they’ll simply leave your site quickly.
You can also find useful tips for integrating social media into your marketing strategy in Christine Moorman’s article posted on Forbes.
Maria Podolyak recommends educating your customers with useful content, such as give-away reports, white papers, SlideShare presentations, guides, templates and e-books to name a few. There’re many options.
With social networks companies can reply to their clients’ queries promptly. Users might want to know more about your product or service before making a purchase decision. You can easily provide them with information they’re looking for. Also, if a disappointed customer writes a negative comment about your product on social, you can reply as soon as possible, apologize and take all possible measures to improve it. This will confirm that your brand is trustworthy and credible.
Social sign-in capabilities, is important for today’s businesses with an online presence. It allows you to better understand your users and improves your ability to convert them. Once you add a social login option you can make offers based on your clients’ previous purchases, as Andy Drinkwater recommends.
Also, remarketing can be a powerful tool that allows you to maintain a relationship with a user who has already demonstrated interest in the products and services you’re offering.
Check out a few other answers in the following recap.
And what would you recommend for brands that are only going to integrate social media into their marketing campaign? Share your tips in the comments!
We already mentioned Google+ when we discussed different social networks. The thing is that the debate over the use of Google+ for marketing still continues. We asked our guests whether or not this social platform can somehow help marketers.
Our special guest confirmed that Google+ is still alive and well; both its business and clients are benefiting from using Google+. And for local businesses, using the social network has impacted their positions in SERPs and led to increased calls and clicks.
As Steady Demand believes, marketers and businesses shouldn’t ignore Google+; often they choose to seek out a less competitive marketplace and own their niche. ZenContent @ZenContent also assumes that the social platform can help local businesses with mortar stores: “Yes, especially for local businesses with brick and mortar stores. Otherwise, it can't hurt to try!”
Social signals from social networks, including Google+, can seriously impact your SEO and help you rank better in SERPs.
Google’s interest-based social networks enables brands to participate in communities, show off their expertise, and connect with people who share the same interests.
The network gives users amazing content-sharing opportunities. Bill Slawski continues: “Google+ provides the freedom to post something lengthy, to show off Images, to hold discussions, and to engage with experts.”
Nevertheless, your online presence won’t be beneficial unless you devote enough time and effort to it. Dustin W. Stout recommends focusing on creating high-value Google+ Collections, which allow users to group their content by specific topics.
Also, whether or not you need to use Google+ depends on your business niche and your level of community engagement. Lisa Weinberger suggested that brands should get involved, if their niche is present on this social network.
To sum it up, if your company doesn’t have Google+ presence yet, you can start now. It’s never too late. “Any network has value if you know how to use it and can connect with users. Not everyone is an early adopter,” explains Ronnie Charrier @ronniecharrier.
Whether or not Google+ can help marketers depends on their specific business niche. However, it provides various opportunities for brands to connect with their targeted audience, share different types of content, and establish their expertise to name a few.
Finally, at the end of our chat, we asked our guests to share their experience and say whether or not social media has played an early assisting role in buyers’ journies or if it has been their last interaction before purchasing.
Let’s check out their answers.
Steady Demand provided an example: if someone is looking for a new restaurant, hotel, or something else, he or she will most likely do a search first and then follow the company on social.
Jerome Joseph Gentes also explained how his team shifted their content strategy to social media even before redesigning their client’s website.
Our other chat participants agree – social media is crucial during the early stages of the buyer’s journey. However, it’s also become increasingly important for brand loyalty and continued growth.
And many of our guests assume that social media plays an important role in every stage of the journey.
As Tim Fawkes explains, social media enables brands to create stories around products, people and sales, and it also provides evidence of trust.
That’s it for today!
We would like to thank our special guest Steady Demand and our other participants who made this chat interesting and productive!