The Social Media Marketing Plan
Social media is all about the individual. Whether you are posting pictures from a weekend away or sharing thoughts with friends, the message is always different for each person.
So why is it that businesses put channels, content and messages first, assuming that the target audience has identical needs?
The reality of social media marketing is that your target audience has radically different communication needs depending on which stage of the buying cycle they are in. A consumer that is not interested in buying right away will want to see different things to one that wants a product or service immediately.
So if you want to create a customer focused social media marketing plan, you need to understand a few key points.
Understand the Stages of the Buying Cycle
The buying cycle has many stages and differs between B2B and B2C. Understanding the buying cycle for your target market is necessary in giving yourself the best chance of converting a lead to a sale. Whilst the cycle can be confusing for different kinds of products and services, it is vital to understand the differences between pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase behaviors and to be able to target each stage effectively.
Use the right staff to maximise value
Different employees are best suited to different things. In the case of social media, consumers want a personal experience with businesses to an even greater extent. If you split up the responsibilities of a business’s social media to different departments then actually getting to each person individually becomes significantly more viable. Not only this, but you can also set the system up so that different departments handle the requests that most relate to them. For example customers in the pre-purchase stage would best suit somebody in sales, customers with technical issues would better suit somebody in I.T. Splitting duties up like this means that customers can get the most value from your social media as possible, which in turn inspires loyalty and retention leading to repeat purchase and brand advocates.
Tailor your social messages to buyer personas
This is where you can start customizing your social messages and divide social responses.
The Pre-purchase Persona
The goal here is to find and attract prospects. You want to find consumers who are in the market to buy, but are yet to purchase anything from you. Alternatively you can create a value proposition that makes consumers want to buy even though they did not want too initially, however this requires significantly more research and greater resources.
Set up social media campaigns to grow fans and followers, as well as a Customer Relationship Management tool to engage with those who respond. You are ideally looking for people searching certain keywords, things like; competitor brand names, products, services, company names, etc. If you can manage to grab these people before they have bought then the chance that they will actively pursue your brand as a possibility for purchase is much more likely.
Companies with PR or corporate communications departments can also play a role in reaching out to journalists or bloggers to increase media outreach.
The Purchase Persona
At this stage you will want to find consumers actively seeking your own purchase information. A marketing or sales team member can help move these purchases along, as well as answering any questions the consumer might have. This helps to set you apart as a more personal, caring brand which assists in loyalty and retention.
Different sectors will have different kinds of wants over social media. Companies that sell B2B can empower sales representatives to address the needs of leads, training employees in CRM can also help a firm keep customer databases up to date.
The Post-Purchase Persona
Customers will typically evaluate the experience that they have had after purchase, which means that loyalty and retention is up for grabs. Generally speaking, so long as the product or service meets the expectations of the customer you will not have many issues. However it is still vital to have dedicated customer service representatives that can deal with any negative sentiment a customer might have. If service is of exceptionally high standards, negative attitudes can be turned around and repeat purchase can occur.
Automation can also be implemented in this stage if the brand is particularly traffic heavy, however it should be noted that automation can lead to dissatisfaction, as the experience can seem less human than personal communication.
There are plenty of examples of fantastic social media marketing campaigns out there, check out Five Guys Burger Chain on Facebook. This company understands how social media works with their audience and have achieved an amazing following, over a million involved followers. With so many interested people, the amount of business that Five Guys can get only through social media is phenomenal, but on top of this the amount of value customers get from being able to express their positive or negative feedback is invaluable.
So sit down and think about your business. Social media marketing is exceptionally important now as consumers are becoming more and more reliant on the Social Medias, and there is even an expectation that businesses can be communicated with online.
If you want some help setting up a social media marketing plan feel free to give us a call on (02) 9388 9816.