Marketing is all about meeting your target customers where they are with the right message at the right time. One of the best places to meet those potential customers is on social media. But how exactly can you initiate the conversation? How do you craft the right message and deliver it at the perfect time, considering not all prospects are at the same stage of the customer journey? That’s where a social media funnel comes in.
Every marketer understands the vast potential of social media. You’ll find every business struggling to create a social media strategy. But here’s the thing, social media marketing doesn’t have to be a struggle. At least not if you know which buttons to press. That’s what we’ll show you today—how to build an effective social media funnel. But first;
What is a social media funnel?
A social media funnel is the same as the famous marketing funnel we’re all familiar with. If you don’t know, a marketing funnel is a path documenting the stages your customers typically take. It starts when potential customers don’t know anything about your brand and ends with them becoming loyal brand advocates.
How does social media fit with all this?
A social media funnel helps you create content and capture leads at the various funnel stages from social media platforms. Not only that, but an effective social media funnel also allows you to nurture prospects and move them from one stage of the funnel to the next.
Different marketers create funnels with different stages. However, most experts agree that an effective funnel has five stages:
- Awareness - Prospects get to know more about your brand at the awareness stage. This is where you will see businesses creating high-quality thought leadership content to attract potential customers. That content can be distributed on social media organically or via paid ads. Influencers are also very vital in helping brands create awareness on social media.
- Consideration - Prospects are already familiar with your brand and products at the consideration stage. They are now looking to see whether your products will resolve their pain point or help them achieve their goals. They also want to know what makes your solution different from other companies.
- Action - This is the conversion stage where prospects turn into customers. Leads who make it this far down the social media funnel are usually ready to purchase, but they may need an extra incentive. Some businesses retarget the prospects with ads offering time-limited discounts, free shipping, and other incentives.
- Engagement - An effective social media marketing funnel doesn’t end with a sale. Smart marketers go out of their way to keep their customers engaged. That’s important for both customer retention and building brand ambassadors. Luckily, social media provides the perfect platform to interact with customers and build a community for them.
- Advocacy - Every brand should strive to create loyal brand advocates from their customer base. That is one of the most effective ways to scale your business. Remember, modern consumers trust fellow customers more than brand marketers. So, having current customers advocate for your brand is an easy way to drive more sales. Plus, it reduces your customer acquisition cost.
What are you supposed to achieve with a social media funnel? Let’s talk about that in the next section.
What are the goals of a social media funnel?
A social media funnel allows marketers to attract, engage, and convert prospects through social media. That is achieved by creating high-quality content and distributing it through the right social networks.
That means the success of a social media funnel depends on two vital elements. The first is the quality of content. You can only create quality content if you know your target audience well. You need to know your prospects’ interests, pain points, etc., to create relevant content that resonates with them.
Second, you must know which channels to use. With more than a dozen social media platforms, you need to identify the channels your ideal customers use to ensure your marketing efforts are focused in the right place (more on that later). You can also opt to invest in a CRM for small business to organize data about your customers so you can understand them better.
In the same way, tracking emails is critical for successful email marketing campaigns, so too is tracking the performance of your social media funnel. We’ll discuss that in detail later in the article, so stick around.
Traffic source: paid vs. organic
A winning social media funnel can utilize both paid and organic traffic sources. For example, you can use paid campaigns to run remarketing campaigns to reach prospects who’ve already shown interest.
Some businesses focus exclusively on paid social media funnels. The advantage of using paid traffic is you can scale your lead generation efforts. Companies that focus on paid social traffic know the value of a lead.
Here’s an example of a paid social media funnel.
You are taken to a sales page if you click on this ad. The product costs just $4.99. It’s a tripwire price. It’s so cheap that you don’t think much about the price, meaning you’re likely to make an impulse purchase.
Anyone who purchases the course then receives follow-up content from the company. They try to upsell the lead into purchasing more expensive products.
It’s a relatively simple funnel. Many companies use this type of social media funnel to grow their customer base.
Organic traffic is always preferable. After all, organic traffic is free.
Naturally, it’s harder to generate organic leads for your funnel. You might need to invest in SEO, build a social media following, or run a competition to generate that organic engagement. There are costs associated with these investments.
There are many examples of campaigns using organic traffic. Here’s a nice example from Getty Museum. They ran a competition asking people to recreate famous works of art. It was a huge hit during the lockdown, generating global engagement.
Ideally, you should use a mixture of paid and organic traffic. For example, you can boost organic engagement by running paid retargeting campaigns.
Let’s get practical and see how you can build a successful social media funnel.
How to create a social media funnel
Creating a functional social media funnel takes time. You’ll also need to make changes along the way to optimize your campaign. Here’s how to build the funnel:
1. Consider the stage of the funnel
The first trick to creating a winning social media funnel is making the right content for each stage of the marketing funnel. That allows you to attract potential customers wherever they are on the different stages of the buyer journey. Additionally, useful and relevant content makes it easier for you to move prospects down the funnel.
So, what type of content should you create at the awareness stage? The awareness stage is the first touchpoint between a prospect and your brand. Therefore, the last thing you want to do at this point is pitch a sale. This is almost guaranteed to chase away prospects almost immediately.
You need valuable content at the top of the funnel. You can create blog posts, webinars, short-form videos, etc., and distribute them on social media.
That’s the approach used by top B2B and B2C brands. For example, GetResponse created an actionable blog post on building an engaging email blast and shared it across their social media platforms. They used the post to help resolve pressing problems experienced by most of their ideal customers.
The post helps them capture tons of leads at the top of the funnel. And since the post is created with so much authority, it leaves a great first impression on the leads. That will become very useful later in the funnel.
The consideration stage is at the middle of the funnel, where your brand is well-known to a prospect. However, they still need some convincing to give your products a shot. At this stage, you want to demonstrate what makes your products special and why prospects should go with you, not the competition.
Product reviews, case studies, and user testimonials are the best content types to use at this stage. Case studies and customer testimonials are particularly effective since they show prospects the results your product could generate for them.
Go through your customer database and identify existing customers that can help you create compelling case studies or testimonials. Then, reach out to those customers and partner with them to create the content.
Although you can write a case study on behalf of the customer, you’ll get better results if the customer takes the driving seat. Let them tell their own story, preferably through a video. That’s what HubSpot did in this Twitter post:
Product reviews are also very essential for both eCommerce and SaaS businesses. Create short videos showcasing how your product works and publish them on social media. You can also use these videos in your retargeting campaigns.
Also, you don’t have to do a full product demo. Sometimes even a short video highlighting a key feature can do the trick.
You want to give prospects the final push to convert at the action stage. Nothing does that more effectively than a discount or offer.
The bottom of the funnel is also one of the best stages to utilize remarketing campaigns. Retarget the prospects with free shipping, discount codes, and other incentives. Make the discounts time-sensitive to close the sale as quickly as possible.
You’ll need to create content that increases customer engagement at the engagement stage. You can publish fun content to give your brand some personality and make it easier for customers to interact with you. Think sharing memes, hoping on trending entertainment topics, etc.
Here’s a nice example from Oreo:
You can also increase social media engagement with informational/educational content. Some brands create private social media groups to share content and encourage customer interactions. That helps in building a community where customers feel a sense of belonging.
For example, SaaS giant HubSpot has a private Facebook group for marketers.
Finally, it’s time to turn fans into brand ambassadors. Loyal customers who know the true value of your brand will have no problem telling their networks about your business. However, you have to make it worth your while by utilizing a referral program.
So, give loyal customers incentives like discounts to tell their family and friends about your brand. You should also make it easy for them to advocate for your brand. For example, make sure your referral links or codes can easily be shared on social media. Signing up for the program should also be straightforward
Referral marketing is a word-of-mouth marketing tactic that encourages happy customers to advocate on behalf of your brand in exchange for gifts or other incentives. Sometimes called refer-a-friend programs, referral marketing has become a go-to method for ecommerce stores looking to grow their sales while minimizing the cost per action
2. Decide what channels will you use
Did you know there are 17 social media networks with more than 300 million active users? Unfortunately, very few brands have the financial muscles to set up marketing campaigns on those networks. Plus, just because a platform has users doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.
That means most business owners have to pick the best social media platforms for their brands.
Here is the thing, though; “the best social media platform” can be pretty subjective. One brand’s best social network may not be the best choice. Therefore, you need to do your homework to identify the perfect social media channels for your campaigns.
Most social media platforms make it easy to know whether they have the right audience for you or not. Pinterest, for example, has a page dedicated to its user base metrics. Analyze this data to determine whether your target audience is on the platform before setting up your campaigns.
Besides that, you can conduct customer research to determine which social channels are most popular among your customers. For example, you could use tools like Hotjar to set up a survey on your website.
Ultimately, you should identify social media channels that can generate a meaningful ROI for all your marketing efforts
3. Optimize the landing page
Your brilliant social media marketing funnel will be pointless if all the traffic ends up on a shoddy landing page. That’s because all the incoming traffic will probably bounce instead of completing the desired action. It is advisable to utilize an SEO audit service for your landing page because there are greater standards for optimization. After all search engines are constantly working to improve their algorithms.
Building an optimized social media landing page is critical in ensuring your funnel achieves its goals. Here are some tips to help you create an optimized landing page:
- Maintain consistent brand messaging. The brand messaging on the landing page should be similar to the post on social media. For example, don’t retarget a customer with an ad saying 10% off without the same offer on the landing page.
- Write a compelling copy. The value proposition should be crystal clear.
- Use powerful call-to-action buttons. Use a contrasting color to make the buttons stand out. Place the button strategically as well. You should A/B test your CTAs to identify the highest converting call to action.
- Use social proof. That is particularly important if you want the visitors to purchase or sign up for something.
- Add some visuals (images or video) showing off your product. That also makes the landing page more appealing to the eye.
Check out this landing page created from Slack for one of their social media ads:
It has the perfect anatomy of a high-converting landing page. Use it as inspiration when building your landing pages.
4. Track your CPA & scale
Finally, you need to track your funnel’s performance is essential when building your brand using social media. One easy way to track key metrics is through inbuilt social media analytics tools. All major social media platforms provide these tools for free. They’ll show you how many people see and interact with your posts, click your ads, visit your profile, etc.
However, you’ll probably want to go for a premium tool if you want advanced reporting. These tools will provide insightful analytics showing the best and worst-performing posts or campaigns. The analytics can also show you the tweaks you could make to improve your funnel’s performance.
The tools also allow you to monitor your efforts across all the major social media networks from a single dashboard.
Social media has made it easy for brands to target and interact with existing and potential customers. However, only the brands that create solid social media funnels will benefit from social media. Hopefully, this guide will help you build such a funnel for your business.
To recap, you’ll need to create quality content for each stage of the social media funnel, i.e., awareness, consideration, action, engagement, and advocacy. It’s also important to identify the right social media channels for your campaigns. Basically, know which channels your prospects use, then create the perfect content and campaign for each of those channels.
Next, optimize your social media landing page. You’ve learned of the five things that make a high-converting landing page. Lastly, monitor your performance and adjust your funnel accordingly. That’s it. Good luck!
David Campbell is a digital marketing specialist at Ramp Ventures. He helps manage the content marketing team at Right Inbox. When he's not working, he enjoys traveling and trying to learn Spanish.