Marketers Challenge : How to Measure Content Effectiveness on Social Media during Buying Cycle

March 23, 2015

Social media is now a mainstream communication medium that helps brands and customers connect across small and large distances alike. Content marketing, digital publishing and social media are slowly converging and the one factor that is going to drive all these aspects is content. New platforms such as Bubblews continue to appear and existing ones such as Facebook and Twitter continue to evolve and adapt to the changing markets. The fact that 64% of Twitter users are more likely to purchase products and make use of services from businesses they follow or that 57% of the ads on television during the super bowl this year used twitter hashtags is proof that social media is here to stay. However businesses are still slow to adapt a strategy to best utilize social media content and data for marketing.

The goal in this content centric market place is not just lead generation but creating content to continuously engage throughout the entire customer lifecycle, from awareness to advocacy. This is where mapping your content marketing to the buying cycle can play a major role. Technology and social media have morphed this cycle to some extent over the past years and marketers need to adapt to this buying trend of the 21st century.

Simply put the buying cycle is a series of checkpoints before and after a customer transacts on a product or service. Various steps have been assigned to this buying cycle and show a pattern in consumer thinking thus making marketing more effective. Content plays an important role facilitating this process at each stage and the content marketing efforts brands should focus on at every stage can be mapped out as follows:

Content Marketing In The Buying Cycle

Role Of Content Marketing In The Buying Cycle

1) Need
This is the first stage of the buying process and is where content marketing in the form of articles, blogs, infographics, e-books and tip sheets plays an important role. This convinces the customer that there is a need to be resolved.

2) Analysis of options
This is the perfect time for marketers to convey the benefits of the product on offer via advertising, public relations and various other sales efforts. Since consumers are in the research phase, marketers can provide them with specific information via case studies testimonials and demo videos.

3) Purchase intent
During this stage marketers can enforce the purchase decision by speaking about the need of the product or service via retargeting, reminder emails etc. The website and the overall branding of the product are crucial at this point. Content that marketers can bring in at this stage include comparison charts and FAQ’s.

4) Sale
The marketing involved in this step is relatively straightforward the actions that need to be performed during this phase include capturing customer contact information to develop an ongoing relationship, checking the brands online purchase process, getting coupons and discounts out there via your social media channels, pre sales emails etc.

5) After Sales Experience
The customer during this stage evaluates his purchase decision. It is a stage when customer loyalty could be easily lost resulting in loss of revenue for your business. Follow up surveys, thank you emails and customer specific webinars play an important role at this stage.

6) Advocators/Detractors
A number of experiences such as ease of the warranty process, quickness and helpfulness of the repair/service centre are assessed and result in a happy customer convincing his neighbour to buy the same. Some customers get involved and write reviews while others share the content your brand puts out from time to time.

Tying in your social media efforts into the buying process can prove to be a tough task as there are a number of metrics to track and data analyze. Measuring key metrics related to the audience i.e. its consumer base, the content being put out by the brand, responsiveness of the brand, campaign effectiveness and the performance of its social media team help brands understand the areas of improvement and gives them a clearer picture about how their leads are spread out throughout the purchase cycle. Today, it is about choosing the metrics which best suite your business goals.

Social media can be a hard nut to crack but representing the data in simpler terms and tracking it over time can help marketers clear through the mountains of information in front of them. This is where a tool to measure social channel effectiveness comes into the picture. With features like competitive benchmarking, self, content bucketing & scheduling and social responsiveness, Social Metrics now makes it possible to add value, easily track progress and properly use this massive social data set.

Over the course of the buying cycle, multiple people with different goals, behaviours and personalities enter and exit it. If all goes well the consumer enters the buying cycle as a prospect and leaves as a brand evangelist. This is the dream of every marketer and we will look at how the Social Metrics tool could be the way of realising it in the next blog.