Today, adults spend on average of over two hours a day on social media and 94% have an account on at least one social media platform.

Its never easier than ever for brands to reach and engage directly with consumers. As a result, there has been a reawakening of who controls the brand. At one time, brands owned the relationships, today that is no longer the case.

The consumer owns your brand message.

Carol Forden The Customer Journey through Social Media Social media and social networking have upended brand dynamics. They have changed the way we communicate, interacted and transformed the online purchasing journey.

Within the last ten years, consumers have been enabled to research, compare and interact with brands. This opens up new opportunities for brands along with management challenges.

The way we consume news and the source for news has changed dramatically as a result of social media.

The Social Consumer

As a result of changing consumer habits, to have an effective presence on social media, brands need to develop an in-depth understanding of their target audience.

 

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Start by asking yourself a few fundamental questions:

  • What social platform(s) are my audience using?
  • Are they part of any online communities?
  • How do I engage with them without selling to them?
  • Can I bring value to the conversation?
  • How do I define what value is, in this context?
  • What content and format should be used?

70% of Facebook user log on daily, including 43% who do so several times a day. This makes Facebook the most engaged social media platform. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

Many brands fail to realize or capture the impact that Facebook has on their brand. This demonstrates the need for brands to do a much more in-depth dive into which social media platform your target audience is using and why.

The time invested in this effort will help you align your customers with your marketing goals.

Today, brands need to be audience-centric. This means utilizing data to deliver and ROI when using social media.

An excellent example of an audience-centric brand is L’Oréal. Using data to identify where their audience was online, they realized that a large segment of their target audience was using YouTube to interact with and follow beauty vloggers and influencers.

As a result, L’Oréal turned its focus to YouTube. Using 61 videos in 39 different countries. L’Oréal embraced a more targeted approach to social media and rapidly became the most watch beauty brand on YouTube in 2016.

The Social Consumer Journey

Knowing where your audience is, isn’t enough. You need to produce relevant, engaging content to drive consumer engagement. The social platform chosen will influence the chosen medium.

For example, Pinterest is image-driven, as is Instagram, to a point. Over 50% of Facebook users watch video on the platform.

46% of consumers made a purchase as a result of watching a brand video on a social network, according to Brightcove.

Social media plays a role in the customer journey, today, 40% of 16-24 year-olds are using social as a critical research channel. This creates opportunities for brands from awareness to purchase.

Brands need to know where and when to place a message that drives consumer actions. This depends on the needs of your audience and where they are in the sales funnel.

Analyzing consumer data and when to deliver a brand message is a must today. This can be as simple as a video tutorial for people researching a product or how to solve a problem is critical. As consumers are in the consideration phase, using retargeting ads to gently encourage them to make a purchase.

Capitalize on Micro-Moments Opportunities

Today, marketers need to be aware of the immense and economic value that is in dissecting the exact moment when someone uses their device with the intent to learn something, do something or buy something. These micro-moments are the keys to success – the ability to know the correct moment to provide the right content to drive consumer actions.

Delivering the right content at the right time on the right channel allows brands to capitalize on the acute consumer.

Having a front line seat to actively listen and engage with consumers is the power of social media.

The ability to garner insights about what and how consumers feel about your brand is invaluable. As is, what frustrates, pleases, or experiences with your brand, in addition to what they like or are unhappy or complaining about.

Its one thing to listen on social media, this information needs to be turned into action from incorporating feedback into product design as well as creating detailed customer journey maps and content that meets the needs of your audience.

Social media opens up the opportunity to capture a wealth of data at your fingertips. This data assists to map tout the consumer journey and improve touch-points that matter.

Today four out of 10 consumers follow their favorite brands on social media. With 25% who follow brands that they are contemplating purchasing from. This opens up ample opportunity to engage with and build a personal relationship with your audience.

The potential of social media marketing is potent, its time to make the investment and get it right.

The rewards are well worth it!

Originally posted on carolforden.com