It’s near impossible to discuss digital marketing without talking about a marketing funnel. A marketing funnel helps you visualize the different stages of the customer journey and plan out an appropriate marketing strategy.
As with all marketing tools, content marketing funnels take many forms, and different niches have different interpretations of the concept. Social media is no exception. Social media funnels help brands improve their returns on investments through buyer engagement.
This guide will introduce you to the concept of combining social media with marketing funnels. It will show you how to utilize social media in every stage of the consumer journey.
What is a Social Media Funnel?
Before we go into social media funnels, let’s first define the concept of a marketing funnel.
The generic visualization of a sales funnel is an inverted pyramid that starts large at the top and ends up much thinner at the lowest tip. This gradual thinning represents natural user attrition as fewer and fewer potential customers make it to each succeeding step.
Social media can influence consumer choices and should be considered as part of your funnel. Many content marketers understand that you can use social media to build awareness, drive consideration, and lead conversion. It can also strengthen customer loyalty and convert customers into advocates.
Source: Sprout Social
Social media encompasses many different kinds of user interactions. Confining social media to just one stage of the funnel, when it can be used across the entire buyer journey, fails to do service to its power as a marketing medium.
The 5-Step Process to Creating an Effective Social Media Funnel
Marketers use social media every day to promote their respective brands, create hype around a new product release, drum up anticipation for an upcoming event, and more. However, there is more to social media than being just a tool for increasing awareness. Let’s walk through the steps you need to take to create a social media funnel.
Social media is often the first touch-point between your customers and your brand, and when you know how to harness social media, you have a near-limitless pool of potential customers from which your leads will come.
To use social media to generate awareness, your brand should identify a common customer pain point. Most promotional social media posts tend to start with a question, and this question is usually designed and structured to speak to that problem.
The example from Airbnb above is an excellent example. The social media post shares valuable insights about a tourism destination. Information that travelers would find useful.
Once you’ve identified the pain point, try to hold off on making a pitch. Instead, you should direct users towards branded resources that can offer them more information. Doing this will compel them to research your brand further.
Make People Consider Your Solution
Once a lead is aware of your company, you need to make them consider your products or services. That means trying to get them to follow your social media accounts and deepen those connections through multichannel marketing.
Social media is perfect at this stage because of the vast array of compatible content types. From videos to slideshow presentations, illustrations, and even GIFs, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest allow you the creative freedom to show your brand in the best possible light.
Of course, you need to make sure they see your content. The best way to do that is to get them to follow your social media accounts and get them on your email list. The image below is an excellent example of an effective social media funnel that takes leads from consideration to purchase.
You can use retargeting ads to target people who have engaged with your content. On your social media ad, you offer something of value for free. After people sign up for the offer, you send a sequence of emails where you share information about your company and the value you can provide to your new subscribers.
The funnel above is an excellent way to engage with prospects who aren’t immediately ready to make a purchase. Let me give you an example of the funnel in action.
Sabri Subi runs a marketing agency in Australia. Here is an example of a paid Facebook ad for his company. In the ad, Sabri offers a free eBook.
If you click on the ad, you are brought to a landing page to access the free eBook.
You’re then added to his email list and will receive a drip-email campaign. Through those emails, Sabri shares information about his company and shows its value to businesses. He also tries to get people to follow his social channels.
The content you publish through social media should help you maintain and deepen your connection with prospects. The more trust you can build with your prospects, the higher the chance they’ll consider trying your services or purchasing your products.
Convert Your Prospects
Once you’ve succeeded in getting your leads to consider your offerings as a solution to their problem, you may start trying to convert them into customers. For this stage, you can use social media to nudge your audience towards purchasing by offering incentives, such as free trials, discounts, and product bundles.
Consumers are drawn towards what they perceive to be a good deal, and the more value you offer in your social media posts, the more likely they are to buy from you. You can see a lot of companies that approach this with their paid advertising on Facebook.
Retargeting campaigns are also a crucial element of this stage of the funnel. You can use targeted ads on Facebook and other social media platforms to reestablish visibility among leads who previously engaged with you but have since gone cold.
After making the sale, you need to maintain that relationship with your customers. That’s what engagement in a funnel seeks to achieve.
Engagement is the act of interacting with your customers to provide them with a satisfactory post-sales experience. When you engage with your customers, they are more likely to become long-term customers. When they finally need to replace the product that they initially purchased from you, they will tend to replace it with another one of your products.
One effective way to win at the engagement stage is by building a strong community around your brand. Social media pages and fan groups are among the most effective ways of community building online.
Xiaomi is one brand that has mastered the art of building an online community. Aside from its official fan page, which has 10 million likes, it has separate pages for each country where it has a presence. Many of its product lines, including mobile, home appliances, and vehicles, have their pages as well.
Source: Xiaomi Global Facebook page
The Xiaomi community is so diverse and engaged that there are unofficial fan groups in every market where they operate. In the Philippines, for instance, Xiaomi’s official Facebook page has over 1.6 million fans, and there are hundreds of Xiaomi fan groups on Facebook. These groups have thousands of members each:
By keeping their audience engaged with your brand, Xiaomi also keeps their fans excited about their products even before they send recurring email newsletters. Hence, it’s no surprise that Xiaomi has one of the lowest customer churn rates in the smartphone industry.
Turn Customers into Advocates
Once you’ve succeeded in engaging your customers, you can turn them into advocates for your brand, especially if they’ve had a really good experience with your products. Word-of-mouth advertising and reviews are particularly effective in generating conversions.
A robust online community is a great way to connect people with similar backgrounds who are interested in your products or services.
Working with influencers has been proven to be a good source of social media mentions and leads. For instance, when marketing guru Rebekah Radice mentioned brand tracking tool Brand24 in one of her podcast guest appearances:
Rebekah Radice’s Facebook post promoting Brand24.
The search volumes for the company the following weeks reached a two-month high.
Google Trends graph for the keyword “Brand24”.
An endorsement from a customer, especially one who has many followers, can boost your brand. Besides getting customer endorsements, you can also encourage your existing customers to bring their friends and contacts to your brand by offering referrals.
Social media is one of the most effective tools for organic brand marketing, audience expansion, and awareness creation. However, its uses in marketing go beyond lead generation. It also directly impacts lead nurturing and conversion.
Because social media is where everyone is hanging out right now, it only makes sense to make it the centerpiece of your marketing strategy, not just yet another channel. Following the five steps listed above will help you build an entire marketing funnel based on social media alone, particularly when you realize that it is also a good medium for building customer engagement and advocacy.
With Crowdfire, you can find curated content, schedule your posts, engage with your audience, deep-dive into analytics and create custom reports. Now introducing Social listening. Try it for free.