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Welcome back to the podcast! I’m really excited about today’s episode; not just because it’s the first episode I’ve gotten to record in a long while, but because this topic is a favorite of mine.

Today let’s talk about how to intentionally use social media to guide your followers down a path to purchase. Social media is one of the few tools we have as marketers that supports all four stages of the customer journey.

I’ll cover how to use social media to attract new people to you and convert them into leads; how social can help you close more sales and delight your customers so they keep coming back AND refer you to others.

If you’re not familiar with the customer journey, you can head back to episode 4 – behind the scenes of a content marketing strategy – where I go into detail about each stage.

Alright, let’s talk about social media and how it can influence the customer journey.  Let’s quickly review the different stages of the customer journey, and how social media can impact them, before digging deeper into each stage.

There are four stages of the customer journey:

  1. Attract – where the goal is to have strangers see your content turning them into visitors
  2. Convert – where the goal is to create some level of engagement so you can turn those visitors into leads
  3. Close – where the goal is to make a sale, turning leads into customers or clients
  4. Delight – where the goal is to turn customers into advocates who are repeat buyers or who refer you to others

We can use social media to influence each stage with a mix of social media tools (like posts, stories and groups) as well as with the copy of the content itself.

First, let’s talk about our first journey stage: Attract. Again, the goal here is to have strangers see your content.

We can attract people to us with value-based content, and strategically using hashtags. So, what is value-based content? It’s anything that adds value to your audience without them needing to do anything more than read it; meaning they don’t need to give you an email address to get it. That’s actionable content, and we’ll get to that next.

Some examples of value-based content include:

  • Stories or experiences that relate to your brand
  • Answer questions that you frequently get
  • Share tips related to your product or service
  • Explain a process, such as what they can expect when starting to work with you

The tools we’ll use on a social media platform will be posts to your business page, and you can leverage posting and commenting in other people’s groups. Remember not to be spammy, always add value and always follow the group rules. If you are going to use a strategy of connecting with others in groups, be sure that your business page links are publicly accessible. You never know when answering a question will peak someone’s interest in trying to learn more about your business!

Our next stage is convert, where the goal is engagement. I mentioned actionable content before, and this is where that comes into play. We can build upon the value-based content with content that drives those visitors to take action.

At this stage, actionable content means lead magnets. A lead magnet is a valuable piece of content that becomes unlocked when they fill out a form and give you their email address. Examples of these are guides, cheatsheets, or challenges. 

The goal of the lead magnet is to get your audience one step closer to a result they’re looking for, but your product or service gets them to the finish line. You also want it to be something that’s pretty easy for them to do; giving them a quick win. If you make it too much work at this phase, they won’t complete it. So cut yourself, and your audience, a break and simplify it as much as you can.

Social media tools we have to help at this stage are communities or groups, which can act as a lead magnet themselves. We can also use direct messages, stories and live videos. All are great opportunities for sparking conversations.

Alright, onto stage 3: Close. The goal here is to close the sale; turning the leads we have been nurturing into customers or clients.

This is another stage where we can use actionable content. Specifically content like a webinar training, and offers like free trials or 1:1 conversations, work well to get an audience ready to buy. At this stage, you can expect your audience to take a bigger action. This is also the stage where you need to answer the questions that are stopping them from moving forward, and putting them at ease that you have the right solution for them.

Social media tools we can use at this stage are the same as the convert stage. Communities, direct messages, stories and live videos work well here too. We can also expand this list to include paid advertising, and pop-up groups. A pop-up group, unlike a regular group, is usually focused on a very specific topic and is only open for a very fixed amount of time. These often are used during the promotional and cart-open times for memberships and courses.

Last, we have our fourth and final stage: Delight. It’s often the most over-looked stage, although arguably one of the most important. The goal here is to create brand advocates.

The content here is designed to support and celebrate. Answer questions to provide great customer service experiences. Celebrate your audience by posting their wins, or encouraging them to post their own wins on a regular basis. Showcasing how your customers or clients have achieved their results leveraging your product or service will not only endear them to you, but also serve as a great testimonial for those who are on the fence about buying.

Here, we can add the social media tool of private groups, where your customers can get more access to you or your team for help and connect with others who are striving to achieve the same result.

To summarize everything we just covered:

  • To attract people to us, we use value-based content in both posts on our business page and when engaging with others in online groups. We can also add strategic hashtags to posts to help them be found.
  • To convert people to a lead, we use actionable content (specifically a lead magnet), and can leverage groups, stories, live videos and direct messages for starting conversations.
  • To close the sale, we again use actionable content (specifically webinars or special offers), and can not only leverage groups, stories, live video and direct messages, but also leverage paid ads and pop-up groups.
  • To delight customers and create brand advocates we can use content that supports and celebrates, and can leverage private groups.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas on how to strategically use content to support your audience in different ways, and strategically use tools within social media platforms to create more conversations and, ultimately, more impact.