Effective Social Media Marketing: Mapping Out Where to Start

Posted on February 6, 2019

Effective social media marketing isn’t as easy as having a basic understanding the most popular channels. It requires a system to enhance growth, not simply surface-level knowledge.

For example, let’s say you’re scrolling through the ‘gram in an attempt to find some sort of inspiration for your brand’s next post.

“Eggs seem to be trending,” you say to yourself. “Maybe I’ll take a picture of my product next to an egg…”

For some of you, that might not be a bad idea. But that kind of guidance doesn’t provide you with a system for effective social media marketing. There is no clear process, and because of that, there is no scalability.

Effective social media marketing is the driving force behind digitally native brands. To quote Engine CEO John James, “These brands separate themselves from ordinary e-commerce brands in that they seek to establish a direct relationship with their consumers from the very beginning.”

This article will be a part of an extensive series breaking down effective social media marketing. For Part 1, we’ll be focusing on mapping out the customer journey and creating marketing funnels that are optimized for your target customer.

Mapping out the customer journey

Too many marketers tend to get excited and think about the end goals before building out the bones of the marketing plan. This is a trap I’ve fallen into more often than not in my career. It wasn’t until recently that I realized every marketing system needs to start with the customer journey.

In order to create the marketing funnel that moves your customer through the proper sequence of events, going from brand awareness to purchase to a brand loyalist, you must first map out the steps the buyer makes when purchasing products you sell.

By doing this, you can tailor the funnels you build to complement the customer journey, ultimately reducing friction during the buying process. This will increase opportunities for you to bake in actions that improve customer lifetime value.

This exercise is best visualized, so grab a sheet of paper and your favorite felt-tip pen, and place yourself in the mindset of your target customer. In the image below, I sketched out the potential customer journey of someone who buys handbags. 

effective social media marketing-ecommerce
I know, I’m a terrific artist!

The first part of this potential customer journey (remember, it’s your job to know your customer and their journey the best) starts with a high-affinity influencer post about the product. This kicks off the research phase, with the ultimate goal of finding social proof (the nature of luxury goods).

Once the social and intrinsic value is validated, the customer will have purchase intent, and if all goes well, will buy the bag. After the purchase, they will share the experience with their peers in search of social validation. The reception to their story will significantly affect their affinity for the brand in the long term.

This is half of the equation in effective social media marketing. You’ve established the customer journey, and now it’s time to build your marketing funnels to complement it and reduce friction as much as possible.

(It is important to note that each stage of the customer journey has its own set of marketing funnels that push customers through the buying process.)

Next, in the research phase, the target customer will begin auditing your presence on the internet. This includes your social media pages and website. It is critical at this stage to create some level of engagement with your material. Make sure your Facebook pixel is firing correctly and collect the customer’s email when they land on your site. The buying intent will not necessarily exist at this stage, but your marketing funnels should stimulate considerable interest and start a direct relationship with the customer through owned marketing channels such as email and Messenger.

Since this is a luxury-good example, the customer will look for social proof. Luxury products go up in value depending on the cultural significance of the product. You have considerably more control here than ever before. Gone are the days when the only way you can create any noise in the press is by paying thousands of dollars to PR agencies. Deploy tools such as HARO and the principles outlined in books such as “Trust Me, I’m Lying” by Ryan Holiday to scale your presence. Make sure that the noise you make about your brand incentivizes potential customers to come back to your platform.

At this point, your customer should have healthy purchase intent. Now, your e-commerce website is the marketing funnel you need to optimize. Your customer should be able to easily navigate to the specific product they are interested in. The highly engaged customers will go ahead and buy, but most won’t immediately.

If you did the work further up the buying process, you’ll be able to send abandoned cart, product view, or category view emails and messages to your customer, as well as retarget them across the appropriate social media marketing channels. Use tools such as Shoelace to sequence your retargeting ads to reduce retargeting fatigue.

You have now arrived at the promised land. The conversion. Browsers have become buyers. You and your team are stoked. The marketing funnels you deploy at this stage include, but are not limited to, product cross-sells, upsells, review requests, and social sharing.

You’ve spent considerable time and money acquiring this customer, and you don’t want them to leave. The post-purchase experience must be stellar to create long-term brand affinity and increase the chance of repeat purchases and a higher customer lifetime value. Make it a no-brainer for your customer to share their purchase and user experience. This post-purchase experience is extremely crucial. It’s the key to scaling peer-to-peer relationships.

Now that you are equipped to map out the customer journey and sketch out your marketing funnels to complement that process, you have taken a huge step in building your foundation in effective social media marketing.