How Social Media Supports the Customer Journey

Vanessa Williams
Senior Manager, Integrated Strategy & Promotions of Ignite Social Media Ignite Social Media

Marketing to today’s consumers is becoming an increasingly challenging feat. Brands must find ways to deliver stand-out omni-channel messaging – while those channels develop at what seem to be exponential rates.

At the same time, their audience’s attention is being pulled in many different directions with thousands of messages being shown to them. It is estimated that consumers see 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day.

Not only does a marketer’s message need to stand out, it also needs to support business objectives and drive these audiences further down the path to purchase.


An Evolving Customer Journey

With continuous advancements in technology and constant shifts in consumer behavior, social media is an integral role in the customer journey. More consumers are turning to social media during various stages in their buying journey.

According to data from Global Web Index, 42% of consumers report using social media to research new brands or products, making social the second-most important research channel, just behind search engines.

When these consumers come into contact with your brand on social, it’s essential to make a good first impression – this initial impression could make or break their decision to engage with, buy from, and advocate for your brand. 


The Right Social Content Can Convert

The traditional monthly calendar-based approach to planning content often does not drive tangible business results. What is needed is a customer-first approach to content that quickly captures the attention of the audience and drives the audiences through the customer journey.

One important consideration in developing social content that converts to business objectives is to ensure it is delivered in the appropriate format and post type for the channel the content is being created on.

This approach can look different for every brand, so it is important to test and learn to see what works.


For a retail/ecommerce client, Facebook Link posts were the most efficient at the beginning of the campaign but after three weeks, Instagram Stories (with similar messaging) became the most efficient ad placement and drove the highest number of conversions. For another client in the lifestyle space, Video Link and Carousel posts drove the most traffic.

Being nimble with creative formats and post types will help you find the sweet spot to convert your audience.


Paid Targeting Has Become Crucial to the Customer Journey

Social media targeting has evolved over the years and there are intricacies to selecting audiences, objectives, and optimizations that make running paid media challenging and, at times, overwhelming.

To simplify this for planning and execution, it is important to map out your brand’s customer journey and align your paid media targeting and strategy to each phase.

Start with a broad audience at the prospecting phase. Your broad audience should be composed of general demographic, interests and behaviors. During the consideration phase, your audience should be more qualified, and retargeting starts to come into play. Finally, during the conversion phase you should be narrowed down to your advanced audiences who have shown purchase intent.

This approach will drive increased ad efficiencies and convert to results.


Key Takeaways for Social Media & the Customer Journey

The right social content and a strategic approach to paid media targeting will drive measurable results. Here is a recap of a few things to keep in mind:

  • Take time to map out your brand’s journey and the key touchpoints you want to have with potential customers.
  • You need great content that is optimized for the channel, or your strategy will fall flat.
  • Test, test and test some more. At every stage of the journey you should test copy, post type and media format. Start broad and then narrow with learnings.
  • Implement the social media pixels on your site for tracking events and creating new audiences.
  • Remember, conversions take time. You won’t see sweeping changes overnight. Let your strategy run its course before making any major shifts.