With over 75% of American shoppers now owning a smartphone, today’s consumer is constantly connected to the digital world. This constant connectedness has completely changed the way consumers shop. It allows them to discover new stores at a moment's notice, engage directly with their favorite brands and learn more about your business from the experiences of previous customers.
Understanding the role online resources now play in the customer journey is crucial to running a successful offline business. From local search, to online reviews, to social media, every aspect of your online presence plays a role in driving more customers into your stores.
Now that the average American spends almost 2 hours a day on social media, you have a greater opportunity to reach and influence them along every step of the customer journey. Social media management will help you build a long and profitable relationship with your customers.
How to use social media to Create Awareness
Millions of social posts are sent out by users every day, turning social media channels into a constant stream of noise. Whether it’s through the use of ad blockers or simply ignoring digital ads, consumers have learned to block out majority of posts that aren’t relevant to them.
In order to break through all of this noise and generate awareness, business need to narrow down their area of social listening to target and engage with the customers most relevant to them. The right tools, such as geofencing, will allow businesses to filter through social posts to only include those coming from a specific radius.This could be a certain state, city or even down to a few blocks from your store locations - giving you the opportunity to find and engage with the people who are literally in a position to buy from you.
While Geofencing social data makes it easier for businesses to listen to and engage with their potential customers, brands also need to be ready for customers that find and seek them out on social media. As social channels continue to explore new local search capabilities, more customers will begin to interact and research your business through social media.
Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, it is important that wherever customers find you, your business makes a great first impression. You can build positive awareness with your customers through word-of-mouth referrals (previous customers posting great things about you and tagging your business), recommendations and acknowledgment from local influencers, and by posting your own fun and engaging content.
Consistently posting new content to your social feeds will help build awareness and be more impactful than only pushing out ecommerce links and ads. All of the awareness you create at this point in the customer journey will hold a huge influence over the perceptions customers have about your brand once they reach the consideration phase.
Social Media helps you win Customers at the Consideration Stage
As many as 74% of customers will be using social media to guide their purchase decisions. Once at the consideration stage, customers have a defined problem, are looking for a solution and are ready to make a purchase. Their readiness to buy makes it crucial that your business is visible to consumers online when they are looking for your product or service.
As customers consider which business to choose, they will be scouring their social networks for signals on whether or not your business is right for them. They will look to see what previous customers have had to say about you, they will want to know if any of their friends have mentioned your business and they will scroll through your posts to get a feel for what type of business you are.
At this point, it is important to show customers that you are active and engaged online. You can do this by:
- Having conversations with your followers
- Using relevant and trending hashtags
- Posting unique content
- Responding to comments, questions and brand mentions
The information customers find on social media and the perceptions they build up will influence them during the consideration stage and determine whether they become your customer or choose one of your competitors.
Enhance the Purchase and Decision stage with Social Media
The purchase and decision stage should be about more than just buying products and services from your store, it should about creating a lasting and memorable experience for your customers. Studies have shown that experiences are more likely to make people happy than material possessions.
Businesses can use social media to enhance the in store experience by offering exclusive in-store promotions and rewards. This will improve the experience by making the customer feel like they are getting something they couldn’t get anywhere else.
In addition to promotions and rewards, you can also find creative ways for customers to engage with you online while in your physical store. An example of this could be creating a photo contest where customers take a photo with your product, use a unique hashtag and @mention your store for a chance to win a prize. Not only will this enhance the shopping experience and encourage shoppers to engage with you through multiple channels, but it will create plenty of social buzz for others to see.
By using social media to enhance the in-store experience and engage with customers across different channels, they will be more open to the idea of being driven from social channels to in-store visits. This is crucial because, research shows customers are likely to spend more and buy additional products when they visit a brick-and-mortar store.
Build Customer Loyalty through social media management
The ability to build customer loyalty can make or break a company. Loyal customers will drive in-store purchases, become your brand advocates and be the difference between profit and loss. Not only is it easier, less expensive and more profitable to sell to existing customers, but research shows that 80% of your future profits will come from 20% of your existing customers.
By this point in the customer journey, people are looking to connect and engage with your brand online and become a part of your social community. In fact, 53% of users expect to hear back from the brand they’re interacting with online within one hour and 38% of users even said they felt more negatively about a company if they didn’t receive a timely response.
You should be able to respond quickly and accurately to any questions your customers may have, as well as comment on, share or repost customer content whenever it is appropriate. Constantly monitoring your brand mentions and relevant hashtag topics in real-time will allow you to be apart of the conversations that matter, right from the very start.
Whether it is one week between customer purchases or over a year, social media gives you the ability to engage and reengage with your customers to create a loyal customer base that will keep coming back.
Create Social Advocates
71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are more likely to recommend it to others. People love to share what they are doing online. That is the basis behind why social media was created, to allow customers to connect with their friends and share what they are doing. Taking your customers from awareness to advocate should be your ultimate goal. Getting them to share your brand with their friends and peers is one of the most effective and cost efficient ways to create more awareness and convince more new customers to visit your stores.
Actionable Social Media Data
Not only will social media help you to enhance every step of the customer journey, but it can help you to track critical data and make real improvements to your business. Social management tools can show you which posts and promotions are gaining the most traction and have been the most successful over time. This helps you learn more about what your customers enjoy and lets you post more of what they want to see.
Used correctly, social media can help you to better understand your target market, drive more customers into your stores and engage with consumers at each steps throughout the purchasing journey to build strong and lasting relationships. Schedule a Free demo to learn more about Chatmeter’s brand new social tool and how it can help you drive more customers into your stores.