6-MINUTE READ · By Tina Arnoldi
Elias St. Elmo Lewis, an advertising pioneer in the late 1800s, is known for the AIDA model, commonly used today in marketing to represent the stages of the consumer journey – awareness, interest, desire and action, each of which has a place for social media.
Although there are marketing models available other than AIDA, the same principle applies. People need to know who you are, become interested in learning more, engage with you, consider what you have to offer and ideally take action. Whichever model you prefer, keep these general principles in mind.
If you have not yet read my earlier post on a social media, you may want to start there. It offers tips for your overall strategy which includes deciding which channels to use, defining your business goals outside of the platforms, having a plan for paid as well as organic posting, and knowing what to measure.
“Social media is great for awareness, but it does not result in any sales.” I understand that argument and have said it myself. Although social media may not result in immediate sales, there is still a place for it in business. I want to offer suggestions for utilizing it in each stage of the funnel, starting with A for Awareness and I for Interest.
The appeal of social media as a tool for brand awareness is straightforward. You can easily get a brand name out there and hopefully have people become interested in it. Even in this easier phase of the funnel, you cannot ignore strategy. There are millions of brands and individuals pushing out content so you need to find ways to stand out among the noise.
This is a stage where Facebook can be helpful. Even though people may be on Facebook for lighthearted social activity, it is a channel where a significant portion of the population spends time. If you can get their attention with a compelling ad or shared content from one of their friends, this can at least get them to enter the funnel. People may become aware of you because one of their friends is a fan of your page.
With Facebook or any social channel, you may need to do some paid ads to build up that initial audience (especially if your industry is boring). Share content that is educational and helps people do their jobs or manage their households. As the audience builds, continue pushing out content that people want to share.
But people are not going to share just anything with their friends. For example, content on the top five features that won a reward is not going viral. People want to share helpful content that got them to like you. It may be content that made people laugh or invited them to enter a contest. This is the stage where you have to remember that it is not about your products and services. We all think we do great things but people are not online looking for us to share how awesome we are.
Although paid social media is a must, you can build awareness organically by searching for relevant hashtags and taking part in the conversation. Do so to add value, not for promotion. Share attention-getting images and invite conversation in your posts.
There are more channels than just Facebook. The hashtag suggestions are useful across other platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. But do not ignore video as a channel for awareness. The above image from Pew Research Center shows the YouTube is the top channel used by adults.
With the significant number of people using it, it is a great platform for reaching an audience and maximizing impact with options for measuring performance across the funnel as seen below.
And yes, even B2B companies can benefit from YouTube. As the second large search engine and a platform owned by Google, it can improve search rankings. It provides an opportunity to offer product demos to people not ready for a one-to-one sales call and a place to offer tips for existing clients. It is also a channel for demonstrating thought leadership with recordings of conference presentations.
Once you entice people to jump into the funnel with awareness tactics, you still need to have the next step. What will you do once they enter the funnel? Encourage behavior that will keep them moving through to the end where they make that conversion.
A new audience is aware of you. Now what? Your next step is to create interest by being interesting (obviously), which we know is tough to do for boring brands. One thing we all share is the human experience. For example, everyone wants to save time. If there is something about your product and service that helps people save time, that will get interest. Your features and benefits may not be enough to get interest, but the way you address that pain point of ‘saving time’ is what will keep people’s attention.
Tell a story about how you can save time by sharing engaging images. If you do not have access to a graphic designer, use a tool such as photo-editor.canva.com/ to create attention-getting images to support your story. When you consider potential images for your brand, use your own experience. Do those images get your attention? Do they support the message? Refraining from using images for the sake of using images.
In the interest stage, prospects may not have connected with you on social media, but they do observe your activity. They do not have to fan, follow, or like to know what you do. This is why you have to respond to your existing fans and followers, especially when it is negative. If prospects do not see your brand engage with an existing social media network, it implies you may not be that available or that interested after the sale. As a result, they will not move to the next stage.
The bottom line: Get them into the funnel and give them a reason to stay!
And stay tuned for Part Two where I will cover D for Desire and A for Action.
About Tina Arnoldi
Tina Arnoldi is Analytics and AdWords Qualified and one of the few people in the United States recognized as a Google Developer Expert(GDE) for marketing. Her agency, 360 Internet Strategy, is also a Google Partner. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn.