Achieving customer acquisition (and retention) on social media is not as daunting as it may seem.
For most of you reading this, the foundation is already in place. With some tweaking of your social media practices, brands can achieve revenue growth through social media channels.
If you’re up for the challenge, read on for our best practices and a few client case studies.
Traditional Customer Acquisition
Let’s face it, obtaining new customers is expensive! Customer acquisition requires a tremendous amount of time and money across your marketing channels. And even when someone takes the “bait” — whether it’s signing up for a demo or a closing deal — your acquisition spend remains the same.
Sure, we marketers will always have customer acquisition goals. However, we often spend more time on our retention goals. Which I think is smart! According to Bain & Company …
- A simple 5% increase in retention leads to more than a 25% increase in profit
- Repeat customers spend up to 67% more in months 31 to 36 of their brand relationship vs. the first six months
- With retail, a customer’s fifth purchase is usually 40% larger than their first
BUT, today we’re talking acquisition. Specifically, we’re talking about customer acquisition through social media channels.
Let’s dive in.
The Digital Customer Journey
Many brands are failing to recognize the role social media is playing in the purchasing decisions of their customers. During their digital customer journey (DCJ) consumers use social media to research products and services before buying.
And this research isn’t just for online purchases – 74.6% of people looking at products on social media shop in store at least once a week.
In 2021, over 90% of businesses in the U.S. were shown to have a social media presence. However, may of them don’t post, or have social teams available, on the weekends. This is key to helping your potential customers as they navigate their digital customer journey.
Furthermore, an increasing part of the relationship between brands and would-be customers is real-time conversation as they research. Many consumers are likely to interact with a new brand on social media when looking purchase.
You need to be providing a range of social media engagement tactics that will help these potential clients. Engaging with these pre-purchase conversations on social media can vastly improve your customer acquisition efforts.
Additionally, you’ll need insight tools and voice of the customer (VOC) data to ensure you’re maintaining proactive acquisition strategies.
Evaluate Your Digital Touchpoints
Now that you know how important the digital customer journey is, it’s time to focus on your brand’s digital touchpoints. As in, where in the DCJ do potential customers and current customers contact you?
- Google search or social media ads
- Social media posts
- Email newsletters
- Website or social media chatbots
Many brands don’t put enough stock into the conversations that happen on social media during the path to purchase. But, once you identify your brand’s digital touchpoints, you can discover how customers interact with your brand. Which includes opinions and feelings on their path to purchase (acquisition) or after they’ve purchased (retention).
VOC Insights & Tools
Understanding the voice of your customer helps with customer acquisition, as well as retention.
In marketing, the voice of the customer (VOC) seeks to gather data around your customers’ expectations, preferences, and aversions. Using this VOC data can not only help with social media marketing, it can help with your overall marketing efforts, sales, R&D, PR, product packaging, and much more.
To collect VOC data, you can use traditional methods like customer surveys. Or, try one of the following approaches.
- Customer interviews
- Social media
- Live Chat/Chatbots
- Recorded call center data
- Website forms
- Focus groups
Let’s focus on number two and look at how to use social listening to collect VOC data.
Social Listening for VOC Data
To start, social listening and sentiment analysis provide the foundation for understanding customer experience analytics. They offer a one-two punch your brand needs to move into using social media for customer acquisition.
Social listening is tracking social media & online platforms for mentions and conversations related to your brand, products or services, stakeholders, etc., and then then analyzing them for insights to discover opportunities to act.
Sentiment analysis, also referred to as opinion mining, uses natural language processing (NLP) to identify the emotional tone behind a body of text — usually labeled as positive, neutral, or negative.
BONUS. Check out this FREE step-by-step social media listening workbook I co-branded with Sprout Social.
An effective VOC program goes beyond your marketing team. At the very least, we recommend working with marketing, sales, and customer support. We also love working with product marketing teams!
Once you’ve defined which departments will make up your VOC team, it’s time to start looking at your social media conversations.
The Importance Of “Think Conversation, Not Campaign”
First, let me tell you why we put such an emphasis on conversations at B Squared Media. Our tagline is, Think Conversation, Not Campaign.™
Brand conversations on social media are a trusted, everyday part of the shopping and research process.
In the new Publicis + Twitter study “#LetsTalkShop,” 92% of people surveyed actively seek out comments about brands, products, or services on social. More importantly, 68% said their impression of a brand was changed as a result of experiencing brand conversation.”
In fact, brand conversations are just as important as brand reviews!
The study also found conversation is most impactful early in the purchase journey, which suggests people may be more impressionable during the acquisition portion of their digital customer journey (DCJ).
As marketers, we spend gobs of time, energy, and money on content marketing and managing online reviews. Yet so few brands spend any time, energy, effort, money (ANYTHING) on their online conversations with would-be and current customers.
The platform is not the point. Stop chasing the shiny objects and start having conversations that connect (and convert!).
Looking For Customer Acquisition Conversations
To get started, I want you to tag or label all of your incoming social media conversations as “acquisition” or “retention.” Doing this will help you start to quantify how much of the conversation surrounding your brand on social is for pre-purchase (potential new customer!!) or post-purchase (retention).
Once you start with this practice, follow these steps …
- Again, tag or label all incoming social media chatter as “acquisition” or “retention” in your social media tool or dashboard
- Look at every acquisition label/tag monthly; apply a product (or service) MSRP to each unique conversation
- Total your monthly acquisition chatter
What this should do is twofold.
- One, it should quantify just how much of your social chatter is pre-purchase related — meaning customer acquisition!
- Two, you should be able to see how much those conversations are worth.
For example, let’s say you have ten unique pre-purchase conversations around a product that’s one hundred dollars during the month of October. That would mean you potentially have $1000.00 worth of new customer conversations happening on social media.
This is a reactive way to use social media for customer acquisition. The reason being is that these people are coming to you, the brand, to ask these pre-purchase research questions.
To be proactive, my suggestion is to use social listening to monitor conversations around your products or services. Let’s say you’re a company that sells printers. The example here would be setting up keyword listeners around your products and terms people use in conversation when asking about them. Perhaps we like the term “best all-in-one printer.”
If we set this listener up in our social media listening tool, it will bring all of the public conversations on social and online forums that use that keyword. You can enter those conversations proactively, as the brand, and recommend your product. Just don’t be too sales-y, okay?
Social selling works. But not if you’re egregious or pushy.
Closing Customer Acquisition Conversations
To start, let’s go back to those reactive customer acquisition conversations; the ones coming directly to your brand channels on social media.
Below is an example of real acquisition and retention data for one of our tech clients for the month of August. For this particular product line, you can see that most of the customer chatter on social media was acquisition (63.6%).
So, we’ve quantified how much of the chatter is acquisition or retention, and we’ve applied potential revenue around the unique product conversations we’re having in a month (not shown). Which is great, but, we haven’t closed any of those new customers yet!
To do this, we’ve had a lot of success around using our Customer Care processes and techniques.
- Answer your social media inquires as quickly as possible. Especially those that revolve around acquisition and retention.
- When answering acquisition questions, be sure your Community or Social Media Managers have the correct answers to those frequently asked questions (FAQS). Your FAQS documentation should be updated any time there is new information or a newly-asked question comes into play. It’s not just about being fast, it’s about giving helpful and valuable information.
- Give your frontline social media team an allowance. Meaning, give them certain discounts or promo codes that only pertain to these customer acquisition conversations on social media. THIS is how you can tell how much of that monthly potential revenue you close!
- Use those unique codes to decipher how much of the acquisition chatter was closed through social media. Attribute that revenue to your organic social media or social media customer care teams.
Beyond the four steps above, you should be looking at just how much revenue you are able to generate from social media conversations — both the proactive and the reactive ones.
With more consumers using social media as a place to ask questions and research new brands and products, it’s a no-brainer way to ensure you’re not leaving new customers on the table with your social media efforts.
Customer Care = Customer Acquisition
Finally, it’s not possible for me to talk about customer acquisition without talking about Customer Care. To actually grab revenue out of your organic social media efforts, you positively must have a customer care mindset.
With it, you’ll be able to create an always-on (or nearly so) strategy that allows you to engage with customers regardless of where they are in their purchase journey or DCJ.
And for the would-be customers, these conversations will help them make buying decisions — more than likely with YOUR business.
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