The marketing funnel helps businesses map the conversion of prospects into paying customers. It is important to understand the routes customers are taking from initial awareness to purchase and how your marketing tactics are contributing to this.

The role of organic Social

Organic social media serves a range of purposes for both B2C and B2B businesses, dependent on the company, product and services being promoted. The core focus of the tactic is often brand awareness. Therefore, the most obvious stage in the marketing funnel served by organic social media is of course, the awareness stage. Using social media to enforce brand awareness involves gaining the interest of your audience which can then can prompt a journey further down the funnel. But how do you do this?

At the top-of-the-funnel, you need to create content that is shareable and will engage your target audience on each social network. You want your audience to be interested in this content, to comment, like and share – the content doesn’t have to be company or product specific but must relate to your target audience. With this type of content you aren’t looking to drive sales and conversions. Instead, you are looking to attract, engage and retain your target audience if they progress to your website or other marketing channels that is an added bonus!

At the top of the funnel, the awareness stage, it is also important to think about how your prospects will find you on social media and what you have to offer them. Paid media may be the first point of call for some marketers but organic social media can be an equally powerful tool for reaching your audience and building a community.  Aligned paid and organic activity will deliver better results.

Tried and tested tactics for TOFU

In terms of content, there are a range of social media tactics that are perfectly suited for the awareness stage. For example, content that gives your audience a sense of your knowledge or expertise such as linking to guides, tools and infographics or giving tips via Facebook live or contributing to LinkedIn group discussions. Organic conversations driven by awareness content can lead to deeper engagement and social media amplification with clients and influencers.

Organic social media activity can also serve other stages of a buyer’s journey. At the consideration stage, prospects actively research businesses via social media. It’s not possible to avoid or control negative comments or reviews but if you respond quickly and resolve issues visibly on social media this can shine a good light on your business and help to mitigate any damage.

Converting fans and followers into leads

After attracting customers in the awareness stage you need to think about how you are going to turn those fans and followers into leads. If you are going to use organic social as a tool to help do this the next logical step here is sharing gated content. This content needs to be more in depth and to help your fans and followers by providing solutions to problems and challenges they face as well as demonstrating your expertise. It is not recommended to use a high volume of gated content via organic social channels. However, as part of a content strategy that includes a blend of content, gated content is a suitable way to move customers down the funnel. Gated content will also allow you to continue the conversation with this audience on different channels.

To move your audience down the funnel into the close stage, paid social media is often the first tactic that comes to mind and organic activity can be aligned to support this activity. It is important to include both paid and organic social media in your marketing strategy and that they work together to support each other at the right stage in the buyer journey, not to think of them as two separate tactics.

Nurturing post-MQL

After you have closed a customer the journey is not over! You need to continue to nurture and retain that customer so that they become a returning customer or become advocates and recommend your products or services on social channels. Organic social is an excellent tool to do this. Being an active community manager you are on hand to answer customer questions, solve problems and provide support. This is fundamental to customer experience after purchase and helps to build customer loyalty. There is always a risk with social media that customers will post about a  poor experience but this gives marketers the opportunity to resolve the issue and build a long-lasting relationship with customers.

When used at the right stage in the buyer journey, with the correct content, organic social is an essential tool for awareness, customer experience, retention and helping to convert prospects into leads.