4 Key Customer Touchpoints Where Social Media Adds Value

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Guest Post by: Jo Stratmann

In order to use social media to influence purchasing habits you need to embed it at key customer touchpoints.

Using  McKinsey’s customer journey model as a base, we’ve looked at how and where you can use social media at key customer touch points.

1. Initial consideration

What’s happening at this stage?

Something has triggered a need for the customer to start thinking about making a purchase. The consumer considers an initial set of brands based on brand perceptions and exposure to recent touch points.

How can social media be used?

This is an important position for brands to secure. According to McKinsey, people are three times more likely to purchase a brand that was in the initial stages of their purchasing journey in comparison with those that were added later.

Social media can play a part in this early stage by positioning a brand in the forefront of consumers’ minds at all times. Stumbling across a brand on a Facebook page, reading a tweet about a good experience someone has had with a brand, reading a blog post or forum thread online about a branded product – not only does this  help spread word-of-mouth, but the brand that a consumer is most likely to recall is one that has a constant place in their mind.

2. Active evaluation

What’s happening at this stage?

The consumer is actively seeking more information about the products they have in mind. Consumers add or subtract brands as they evaluate what they want and don’t want.

How can social media be used?

Two-thirds of the touch points during the active-evaluation phase involve consumer-driven marketing initiatives – something which social media excels at.

Reviews and recommendations from “people like me” play an integral part of the customer decision making process. A good review by an influential blogger, or a comment by a social media influencer who appeals to the consumer audience can be more valuable than thousands of pounds worth of advertising. By interacting and engaging with influencers, brands can build up their presence and appeal among their target audience.

3. Postpurchase experience

What’s happening at this stage?

After purchasing a product or service,the consumer builds expectations based on their previous experience, as well as hands-on experience of product itself, to inform the rest of their journey.

How can social media be used?

Post-purchase relations are very important. According to McKinsey, more than 60% of consumers (of facial skin care products) go online to conduct further research after purchase and if a product is marketed effectively online, or has been reviewed or discussed in social media, its most useful functions and features can be discovered at this touch point.

4. Loyalty loop

What happens at this stage?

This is where a consumer moves from making a one-off purchase to developing loyalty with a brand

How can social media be used?

In today’s world consumers can influence marketing and opinions about brands and social media can be the glue that keeps customers loyal to your brand. A customer who has liked your Facebook page, follows you on Twitter and contributes to your company blog is half-way to becoming brand loyal. A careful balance of interaction with consumers through social media and a great product or service could be the extra step needed to maintain loyalty,  turning impulse one-off purchasers into loyal customers. Happy customers can also turn into brand advocates and focusing on retaining repeat consumers can help attract new or prospective customers.

Image courtesy of McKinsey

Original Post: http://www.freshnetworks.com/blog/2011/04/how-to-use-social-media-at-key-customer-touchpoints/