As social media platforms have evolved, so too have their influence and sales potential. Social media has transformed from a simple way to network and communicate with friends into a necessity for every business. In the not-so-distant past, businesses would allocate large budgets to newspapers, magazines and TV as a way of acquiring new customers and driving them through the sales process. Although these forms of media may still deliver new business, they can’t compete with the potential of social media. The rise of social media has changed the way consumers learn about new products and services. Furthermore, social media has escalated the customer research process to include word-of-mouth advertising through comments, reviews, likes and other social actions. Recommendations from friends on social media have great potential to guide new customers through the sales funnel. The Social Media Sales Funnel more specifically defines how social media marketing can deliver continual sales growth.
To visualize the sales process a funnel shape has been created to illustrate the key stages. By identifying the factors that drive the sales process, you can begin to intentionally recreate the funnel through all of your marketing efforts. Depending on the unique sales path of your business, these factors may vary, but most industries will follow the stages outlined below.
The first stage of the social media sales process is Awareness, which can be thought of as casting a net over your current target audience. Your prospective audience may or may not be in need of your product or service. Their level of interest and readiness to convert may also be low. Similarly, they may not have uncovered the need or desire for your product or service. Social media has become such a great tool for exposure because it introduces your brand to a large audience. Once your current potential audience has become aware of your brand, they may venture further through the social media sales funnel.
When organic exposure of your brand does not meet your business needs, paid ads can assist. Because of the level of exposure social media provides and the unique targeting abilities, even a small budget paid ad campaign can heighten brand awareness and increase exposure to your target audience.
After you’ve had the opportunity to digitally introduce your brand to your target audience, you’re challenged with the task of gaining and keeping their interest. Building interest on social media happens by engaging with your current and potential audience. Gaining and maintaining interest from your audience occurs by creating a social community around your business. The strategy begins by starting engaging conversations with good content, and then fueling the conversations by responding to every comment and encouraging all social actions on your page.
The conversion stage is where your potential audience becomes qualified leads. The idea is to capitalize on the interest you’ve cultivated around your brand. To drive conversion, offer an incentive that encourages your audience to take action on your website or landing page. Examples include: a giveaway, a free download or a promotion of any kind.
The sales stage is where you gather the first tangible return on your investment. Once you’ve driven your potential customers through the conversion stage, the sale should follow naturally. As a marketer, you will likely feel a sense of achievement, but save the victory dance until the sales process is complete and your customer is left satisfied. A convenient sales stage will make customers more likely to continue to patronize your brand. The final stages of the sales process depend heavily on how the direct relationship with your customer is handled.
The loyalty stage is where you have the potential to create long-term relationships with your customers. our excellent customer service skills, customer benefits and rewards will assist in retaining customers. With this new responsibility, your social media marketing responsibilities will evolve. Loyalty is driven on social media by staying connected. Continuing to engage your audience will provide an additional layer of service and help your brand to stay top of mind with your customers.
The final stage of the social media sales funnel delivers the greatest benefits. Customer recommendations are your strongest marketing asset. Each stage of the funnel sifts through the high quality leads, which then become loyal customers, who then become brand advocates. By creating brand advocates, you will realize even greater results from all of your social marketing efforts. New customers who enter into the social media sales funnel and who have been referred by a friend are more likely to purchase and become brand advocates themselves. By continuing to grow your social media engagement, your brand advocates will take your business to the next level.
All of your social media marketing initiatives should circle back to the social media sales funnel. Each stage of the funnel is rooted in social engagement, which is why continually engaging with your audience is the key to success. The moment you fail to maintain the interest of your customers they may forget about you, and can become interested in your competitors. Because of the efficiency social media delivers in the sales and marketing strategy, the social media sales funnel should guide your business through all of its marketing initiatives.
- 8 Jul, 2015
- Katrina Parr
- 0 Comments
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