How to Create More Engaging Social Content: Step Two, Understand the Buying Cycle

April 5, 2013 in Social Media

In the first post of this series, we discussed the importance of better understanding your customer and using buyer personas as a tool in that pursuit. Once you have that insight into who your customers are, it’s time to consider where they are in their purchasing decision-making process.

Social media expert Chris Brogan published a fantastic and simple to use resource on this recently. Fishing Where the Fish Are is a short report to help marketers map social media to the buying cycle.

Before making any purchase, customers are on a journey through their discovery of a need or want, investigating their options, comparing data, feedback and knowledge about the product or service and finally completing a purchase. This cycle can look quite different depending on the type of product/service and each customer’s preferences.

Social media is a fantastic tool for connecting and building relationships with customers at various points in the cycle. For example, the viral nature of social content might help your business become exposed to new audiences; those people are in the discovery phase when they first learn of your product or service.

Social content can also help customers as they research their options. Recommendations, reviews, blog posts, images and video are all forms of content that can help customers make a decision to purchase.

Once a purchase is complete, social is as important as ever, to nurture those relationships, provide customer support, and encourage loyalty.

Understanding where your customers are in their buying journey helps you meet their need for a particular type of content in the right place, at the right time.

Brogan recommends six approaches to social media to help your business Fish Where the Fish Are:

  1. Find the customer. This means actively seeking out people who may not even be aware of their need or problem your company can solve for them.
  2. Be there before the sale. Don’t expect a new customer to purchase the first time they meet you. Become a trusted source of information, advice or knowledge and your products are their natural choice.
  3. Be the influencer, or empower their influencers.
  4. Shift behavior. What is it that you need to do to inspire people to think or feel differently about your brand?
  5. Warm up the funnel. Connect across platforms; be there when your customer is looking for guidance.
  6. Measure. Always understand how to measure the performance of your efforts and use these insights to drive your social plan going forward.

Brogan offers a list of tools and a step-by-step strategy for marketers ready to their line in the right waters. See the full Fishing Where the Fish Are: Mapping Social Media to the Buying Cycle report on his website.

Do you have questions about the buying cycle and social content? Share yours in the comments!

photo by: lauradinneen