Social media is a bedrock of brand marketing, but we’re still trying to best measure and value social media content. Brands want raw engagement — likes, retweets, comments, etc. — and they certainly want engagement to lead to action. But even brands that see engagement lead to action aren’t unearthing the full value of social media. In fact, most brands can do a much better job of utilizing social media throughout the entirety of the customer journey.
Data from OgilvyOne shows that most brands are quite diligent on social media at the start of the customer journey, but the results fall as the journey progresses. This is likely because many companies still see social media mainly as a form of advertising. Often times, they use the various social mediums as dumping grounds for content, with the intention of raising awareness. A possible reason for this is that in many company structures, it’s common for social media strategy decisions to be made by folks in the brand marketing sector of the organization. Thus, social media is being siloed off from other aspects of the customer journey, and mid and late-journey touchpoints suffer.
KLM Airlines is an example of a brand with solid post-purchase social campaigns. They use videos hosted on their blog to highlight customers’ experience at airport check-in kiosks. The customers who have already purchased tickets with the brand are still being catered to on the social landscape. Far too few brands are using social to post how-to and instructional content for post-purchase phases, which is a seamless way to keep people in contact with your brand.
One of the most powerful aspects of social media is the potential for advocacy. People like to share things with their friends online, which is ideal for brands. But this remains a largely untapped resource in marketing, as brands are still trying to turn more customers into advocates. And the still-low number of advocates that are out there are largely being underserved on social media by brands. To change this, brands should look to employ programs specifically targeted at the loyalty and advocacy stages of the journey. Industries can take a page out of the hotel, travel, and hospitality book. Hotels and travel websites concentrate heavily on advocacy. The social tie in often comes from prioritizing user-generated content; opting to use consumer reviews and photos rather than professionally-done versions ensures that consumers are still experiencing the brand after their purchase, and additionally, can help a brand seem more credible and transparent.
Social media allows brands to be connected to consumers 24/7. But it’s not good enough these days just to have a presence on social media, you need to be present and effective across each part of the customer journey. And as most brands continue to use social media as an avenue for generating awareness, the brands that cater to consumers throughout the entire journey are the ones that stand out.