Customers have more control over their own buyer's journey. They can collect information and compare prices without involving a sales person or ...

How social media affects the buyer’s journey  

Customers have more control over their own buyer’s journey. They can collect information and compare prices without involving a sales person or visit a store. The digital transformation affects B2C as well as B2B industries. But how does social media affect the actual purchasing process?

A study from Vision Critical shows that 4 out of 10 Facebook users have purchased a product or service after they have liked, commented or shared it. Word-of-mouth is every marketer’s wet dream. If a friend or an acquaintance has recommended a product, users are 71% more likely to complete a purchase.

Despite the fact email is better for conversion, social media serves other important functions that can improve your content marketing efforts. In this article we go through how social media changes the way people buy.

Be an early part of the buyer’s journey   
Social media plays a larger role in the buying process, especially at the earlier stages. A report from technology platform Conventro and AOL shows that social media has the greatest impact at the beginning and in the middle of the buying process. Marketers have an opportunity to earn the attention of their target audiences with relevant content. They could for example produce teasers, video tutorials or other types of engaging content that are distributed efficiently in the right channels.

Social media is to a larger extent used to discover new products and services, according to Forbes. Pinterest is an example of a network where many users create their own boards to inspire a purchase (weddings, food and design are a few of the topics that seem to be very popular on the platform). This infographic reveals that half of the buyers have created some form of board before they decided to make a purchase.

To be an early part of the buyer’s journey, your content needs to take into account the recipients’ needs and desires. Do you offer fantastic content that cuts through the noise? That’s what it takes to become an early part of the buyer’s journey.

Adapt your content to a mobile world  

Mobile shopping is becoming increasingly more common. Instagram recently launched shopping tags to help their users find new products and services. But just because people have started shopping with their mobile phones while they sit on a restaurant or commute to work, doesn’t necessarily mean that your company should only blast advertising messages at them. In fact, it’s rather the opposite.

The fast development of social media makes it even more important to make the most of your audience’s precious attention. Take advantage of this opportunity and build your own audience on a platform you own. As we already know, advertising and content marketing work best when they work together.

Never stop listening  

Perhaps the most under appreciated part of social media is to use it as a research tool. What do your customers say? What do they complain about? What are they afraid of? What frustrates them?

Listen, listen, listen. There is a goldmine of valuable information out there, waiting to be tapped. You are taking advantage of these insights, aren’t you? These insights give you new knowledge on how your organisation can improve your products and services in the future. Perhaps you even uncover a new need in the market place.

Listen to what your audience is talking about. When you do that, you can become even more relevant and create a buyer’s journey that engages your followers. In the long-term, a solid understanding of your audience will create positive word-of-mouth and build a community of loyal fans who gladly spread the message for you. What else could a marketer ask for?