- Ewan Hamilton
The importance of analysing social conversation throughout the sales funnel
The journey of the customer. Depending on who you ask, you’ll be given different interpretations of the stages and different variations of a funnel shaped concept. In the context of digital marketing, most can agree on four key stages to a customer’s journey online: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase and Loyalty.
While it is of course vital to fine tune your social media strategy, a massive part of this should also include listening to the social conversation about your brand, at each stage of the funnel. Not enough awareness being driven around your brand? Consumers choosing a competitor over you when it comes to purchasing? Social listening allows you to analyse exactly what people are saying about your product in relation to the stages of a sales funnel, and act.
On face value, brand awareness is the easiest stage of the funnel to quantify from social conversation – if they’re talking about your brand, they’re therefore aware of your brand. That could well be the case, until you do a little bit of digging into the social conversation around your brand and see that, for example, all conversation around your brand is people asking what on earth the product that you offer is.
Using Monzo – digital bank – as a case study, listening to the social conversation at an awareness level highlights trends that can be applied to a social marketing strategy. Conversation around Monzo does show that most who mention Monzo are already aware of what they are, and what they offer. There are, however, instances of people who are not aware of the bank.
A simple solution to seeing that there are people unaware of your brand would be to run more educational awareness campaigns? Makes sense, since 28% of people say they’ve discovered a brand or product on social.
However, further social conversation analysis would allow you to look for trends among those who are unaware of your brand, and optimise a targeted campaign based on findings, and potentially help in building up customer personas as part of a wider marketing strategy. In the case of Monzo, it was a noted trend that an older demographic was found to be unaware of the bank. As a result of this, Monzo continues to run paid social media campaigns on Facebook that educate awareness of the bank.
When it comes to taking the plunge, 43% of people worldwide are now doing their product research on social networks – and in particular, 51% of 16-24 year olds are using social to inform their purchasing decisions. Continuing with Monzo as a case study, there have been instances of people taking to social to express they were considering moving banks to Monzo – even explicitly asking for recommendations and reviews from other social users.
It should also be noted that the posts analysed all mention the brand name “Monzo” but don't actually tag @monzo. This reflects research from Convince & Convert, which found that only 3% of people actually use a Twitter handle when mentioning a brand on Twitter for customer service. This emphasises the need to do thorough social listening around terms related to your brand, and not just simply keeping an eye on your Twitter mentions tab.
So you’ve listened in on conversation around your brand, and found that people have been considering becoming potential customers of your brand. What now?
Sentiment and trend analysis can be utilised here to discover what is driving potential customers to consider your brand. Additionally, if people considered your brand but ultimately didn’t follow through with a purchase, and documented this on social, then social listening may provide crucial pieces of insight into what stopped a potential customer from becoming a customer. Note, the word may was used, as sadly it is unlikely that every single potential customer of a brand will document on social the reasons why they didn’t become a customer. I certainly don’t have the time nor will to justify why I chose a bar of Dairy Milk with my lunch, over a Galaxy bar.
Looking at what Monzo have done, they consistently recycle a blog post written in June 2019 through social that aims to drive people to switch their bank account.
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Analysing why people became a customer of your brand is just as important as analysing why people didn’t become a customer. However, it is fanciful thinking that every time somebody purchases a good/service they will take to social to justify their purchase.
Our research found that less than 1% of mentions of Monzo over a three month period actually fell into the purchase category – people effectively shouting from the rooftops that they’d now switched banks to Monzo. Despite this, there can be instances of people announcing a purchase – particularly for larger, more impactful ones – on social, than can turn out to be insightful for a brand, as we’ll see with our friends Monzo again.
As much as it will vary with each conversation, there are still key pieces of information a brand can learn from why people chose, or didn’t choose, to purchase with them (this also highlights the importance of competitor analysis).
Looking at the examples above, and in particular the first social post, we can analyse that the main reason for switching banks to Monzo was their spending analytics – one of Monzo’s USP’s in comparison to traditional banks. The hope after this is that the customer is impressed with the analytics, and rest of the banking service, that Monzo offers and is retained as a customer.
The power of social media has made it incredibly easy to track what customers of a brand think about it after purchase. Looking at Monzo for a final time, a Hydrogen sentiment analysis study discovered that the UK challenger banks receive nearly triple the levels of positive conversation than traditional UK banks. Analysing what is driving both positive and negative opinions of a brand is vital to ensuring existing customers are retained, and at the same time, working back up the funnel to attracting new customers.
Dream scenario – a customer loves your brand so much they then become an advocate, promoting your brand at any opportunity, and in turn, driving other people into your marketing funnel. Monzo actually banked on this – pardon the pun – by introducing a refer a friend incentive that sees a Monzo customer receive £5 if they could successfully get another person to sign up to a Monzo bank account via a shared link.
So you’ve discovered you have many happy brand advocates promoting your brand, on top of your current marketing efforts. Outstanding stuff...but what can you do about it? Well, you can analyse all the data to see whether any trends appear with what is driving all the love for your brand.
Is it something in specific about your brand, or even the audience that is showing all this love - in the case of Monzo, an easy analysis would be that they resonate with the millennial audience. What Monzo also do well is showcase their happy customers, among other things, this conveys their army of millennial brand advocates.
Conversely, this can also be applied to dissatisfied customers. From a customer service perspective, it’s obviously important to ensure each case of an unhappy customer is resolved, however it’s just as important to analyse each instance of negativity towards your brand, and off the back of this, see what is driving negative views of your brand.
In short, analysing conversation around your brand along the various stages of the marketing funnel/customer journey is crucial. From brand awareness – it would be great to know if people were aware of your brand, and talking about it – all the way to the post purchase stages of retaining customers – why are they staying with your brand/leaving – social media analytics can help inform your results and strategy going forward.