19 Tips to Help Leverage Organic and Paid Social Media Throughout the Customer Journey

You know you need to be leveraging social media as part of your eCommerce marketing plan, but with organic social media reach for businesses dipping to depressing lows, it may feel like your time spent on social is time spent screaming into the void with little to no return.

But with the right strategy, you can use a combination of organic and paid social media tactics to move new and existing customers through the customer journey, turning clicks and shares into revenue.

While some might believe that social media exists only at the top of the funnel – a place for new customers to find you – you can actually utilize social throughout the buying cycle.

If you’re not using social media for every stage of the customer journey, you’re missing key touch points with current and potential customers. Here are some key tips to help boost your social media marketing results.

How to use Social Media For Brand Awareness

At the top of the funnel, social media is all about being seen – or better yet, being seen in as many places as possible.

A study by Sprout Social found that a whopping 84.9% of customers won’t purchase an item until they’ve seen it multiple times. Given this, you can (and should) use a combination of organic and paid tactics to increase brand awareness.

Don’t feel as though you need to be doing everything at once, but pick a few from the “organic” and a few from the “paid” category to cover your bases.

Tips for organic social media use:

Organic social media reach is not what it used to be, with the expected reach of Facebook posts diving from 16% in 2014 to less than 2% today. But that doesn’t mean you should just give up on posting organically – social media posts can help build your brand voice, and create touchpoints with potential customers, especially when used strategically to combat low reach.

  • Leverage the power of video by publishing product videos to YouTube. Shorter highlights of these videos also work great on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Link your social media accounts so you can cross-post to multiple platforms
  • Host Facebook and Instagram Live sessions, which generate more organic interactions than other social media posts
  • Host contests on social media
  • Repurpose and re-package existing content. Use tools like Wave.video to make easy animations and videos out of text content. If you post a link or blog post, repurpose that into another format to post again later

Tips for paid social media use:

Supplementing your organic social media efforts with paid social media ads will help make up for lower organic reach and engagement on social media. Combining organic social with your paid social media efforts can improve brand awareness, move new customers into the funnel, and create additional touchpoints with existing ones.

  • Use social media ads to make your first point of contact with new customers (Facebook/Instagram ads, Pinterest ads, YouTube ads, Twitter ads, etc.)
  • Work with influencers to post about your products on their feeds, and repurpose the images on your profiles

How to use Social Media in The Consideration Phase  

The middle of the funnel is all about consideration: How do you stack up against competitors? How will your products meet the specific wants and needs of a customer?

On social media, the consideration stage is a great place for you to engage with social users, and target more customized audiences based on the pain points they’re trying to solve. Since social media users in the consideration phase have already identified their problems in need of solving, you have the potential to wow them with valuable and visually stunning content that sells them on your brand.

Tips for organic social media use:

  • Reply to comments across all your social media platforms
  • Publish customer testimonials
  • Gain positive reviews on Facebook, Google, and so on
  • Comment on posts that mention your brand (and repost/republish when appropriate) You can use tools like Mention,  Awario, or Tweetdeck to be notified when anyone mentions your brand

Tips for paid social media use:

Social media retargeting is a powerful way to remind customers who’ve already demonstrated an interest in your brand. In the consideration phase, being reintroduced to your product in their social feed can help move them to purchase.

  • Create a custom Facebook audience including users who have liked or commented on your social media posts in the past, so you can retarget them
  • Set up full retargeting campaigns on Facebook/Instagram
  • Publish sponsored posts that link to informative blog posts or a customer review

How to Use Social Media During the Consideration and Purchase Stage

Your primary goal with a social media sales funnel should be to move people to the purchase phase. To get there, you need to put your products right in front of a potential customer’s eyes

However, the tricky part is to not come off too “salesy.” If your social pages are purely promotional, your customers won’t feel a strong desire to follow you. A good rule of thumb is that your social media presence should be around 80% neutral, useful posts, with the other 20% focused on promotional messaging.

Tips for organic social media use:

As noted above, you should keep your bottom-of-funnel, product-focused, and promotional Facebook posts to a minimum, but if you can post in a way that feels fresh, exciting, and informational, you can help nudge social media users the rest of the way to purchase.

  • Host a Facebook Live or Q&A session about a particular product and its features
  • Link to specific products, particularly if there’s a timely or relevant angle
  • Post about sales and promotions across all social media platforms

Tips for paid social media use:

At the purchase stage, paid social media efforts can help seal the deal with customers who are ready to buy, but need a reminder or small push, such as customers who have abandoned a cart.

  • Create landing pages which are specifically designed to convert customers, then promote those landing pages on social media
  • Use social media to retarget to customers who have abandoned their shopping carts

As you start assessing your social media marketing process as something that coexists with your larger digital strategy, you’ll start seeing more and more opportunities to grow your audience, and reach them at various points of their journey down the funnel, gently guiding them all the way to purchase.

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