Social media has become an integral part of the customer journey, transforming the way customers interact with businesses and impacting their decision-making process. In this article, we will explain the different touchpoints of the customer journey where social media marketing plays a significant role, and how you can effectively utilize it to benefit your business.
The term "customer journey" in marketing refers to the process or series of individual stages that a potential customer goes through before making the decision to visit your venue, purchase your product, or use your service. This also includes their experience after the transaction has taken place.
The Inspiration Phase - Create Awareness of Your Brand Among Your Customers!
Recent data shows that on average, people spend 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phone each day, with one in five smartphone users spending upwards of 4.5 hours daily. During this time, individuals consume stories, narratives, and images from friends, brands, people of interest, and companies. A large number of customers investigate a venue online prior to visiting it in person. They may browse through various social media platforms such as Instagram, Google, Facebook, and even TikTok to gain inspiration regarding where to eat and what places to visit.
Social media can help businesses increase their brand awareness by reaching a larger audience through advertising, influencer marketing, and organic posts. Algorithms are becoming increasingly intelligent as they learn the interests and needs of their users, displaying content that users are likely to engage with. This often results in a situation where users discover something they didn't know they needed, but can't live without.
To make your customers aware of your company it's important to showcase what you have to offer on your social media profile. This can be achieved by generating content that appeals to your users and potential customers, using high-quality images, graphics, and snappy captions, as well as including a call-to-action. It's also crucial to be present on multiple channels such as Google, Google Maps, Instagram, and Facebook. By posting regularly, your content is more likely to be seen by customers, and the algorithms of these platforms will classify your business as relevant, resulting in appearing in the explore feed and being suggested to users who do not yet follow you.
The Information Phase
Once you have caught the customer's attention and sparked their interest, they will likely want to learn more about your venue or service. Providing comprehensive and easy-to-find information on a business's website and social media profiles is essential to help customers make informed decisions. Describing the products, services, and experiences offered, sharing menus and images, and using relevant keywords and phrases. The more information the customer has, the easier their decision-making process will be, and the easier it will be for you to identify your target market. Search engines operate on keywords and phrases, so it is essential to speak the "same language" as your customers on your website and social media platforms to make it easier for them to find you.
The Selection Phase- The Options Are Endless. Make Sure the Customer Picks You!
The visit to a restaurant is an experiential service, and it is not feasible for customers to try it out before making a purchase decision. Therefore the customer will usually gather information and compare options before deciding whether to make a reservation or book a service at your restaurant.
If you want to increase the chances of them choosing your service, you might consider installing Facebook Pixel on your website. This useful tool helps you analyze the behavior of your website visitors, enabling you to target potential customers more effectively. With Facebook Pixel, for example, if a user clicks on a link to reserve a table but doesn't complete the booking process, this data is registered. You can then use this information to retarget those customers in the future. By doing so, your advertisement will reappear on social media the next time they're browsing, putting your brand back at the forefront of their minds.
The Validation Phase - Social Media Can Influence a Customer's Decision
In the validation phase, the customer will want to check the quality of the offer. Social media can influence a customer's consideration of a product or service by providing them with user-generated content, reviews, and ratings. The opinions of others play a significant role in the decision-making process. Using influencer marketing is one strategy, but having good community management is also vital and should be included in the daily routine on all social media platforms. Responding to feedback and engaging with your community is important. Negative reviews may occur, but it's crucial to react to the situation. Therefore, it's important to be aware and present on your social media channels.
The Booking Process
Simplify the booking process for your customers by making it easy to access. Facebook provides the option to integrate an action button directly into your post, allowing the customer to be redirected directly to your website. However, this feature is currently not available on Instagram. Nevertheless, you can still link your website in your bio and guide the customer to the booking process in this way.
The Planning Phase - Create Anticipation
Before visiting your venue, customers often spend time preparing for the event. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience, it's important to support them during the planning phase. One way to do this is by sending a reservation confirmation to increase their anticipation, followed by a friendly reminder a few days before their booking. This will not only help your customers feel more prepared but also demonstrate your attention to detail and commitment to providing excellent service.
Arrival & Departure at Your Venue
Your customers' arrival and departure experiences are also crucial parts of their overall experience at your venue. To ensure a positive experience, provide information about the local surroundings on your website and consider including it in your reservation confirmation or booking reminder.
The Experience in Your Venue
During the time that customers are at your venue, encourage them to capture pictures of their experiences and share them. User-generated content often comes across as more genuine to many users. However, it is important to only repost pictures that are visually appealing and avoid sharing pixelated or blurry images.
The Follow-Up- The Cycle of Inspiring and Getting Inspired
As a venue, your goal is to create loyal customers who return time and time again. To achieve this, it's important to stay top of mind and keep them engaged with your brand. One effective way to do this is through email marketing, such as sending birthday or holiday greetings. However, be careful not to overdo it and end up in the spam folder. Another successful strategy is to start a social media campaign that encourages users to share their experiences at your venue, such as a photo competition. By keeping your brand in their minds, you increase the likelihood that they'll return to your venue, book your service, or buy your product. Additionally, invite customers to take photos of their experiences while in your venue and re-share their content. Make sure to only repost high-quality, appealing images to maintain authenticity.