Navigating Through the Path to Purchase: Social Engagement and Reviews

Posted by Andrea Ramirez on Feb 26, 2015 12:40:00 PM

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As we’ve discussed in the two previous installments of our “Navigating Through The Path to Purchase” series, the path has become fragmented. Today’s digital consumers’ have access to an array of information, making their purchase decisions more-informed than ever before. In this final installment, we will tackle social engagement and online reviews: key players to building your online reputation and customer engagement.

Social Media

Implementing an effective social media strategy will not only help your business get found online, but also attract and convert your followers into local customers. Brands that take advantage of social media’s presence in a local environment will generate more relevant content to build stronger connections with their consumers and prospects. Here are three key things to consider when implementing a social media strategy to guide your consumers down the path to purchase.

1. Claim social media profiles:

A priority for every brand with physical locations must be to claim their locations on social media to ensure ownership. We have discussed the importance of improving your brand’s visibility with local listings, and the same applies for your brand's social media profiles. Ensuring your social media profiles have consistent, up to date information will establish your profiles as an authentic resource. For brands that have multiple locations, claiming all your locations on Foursquare  and Facebook child pages will help bridge the gap between your offline and online audience. When a customer checks-in to your location with the right information, a ‘virtual’ word of mouth is made possible.

2. Use Hashtags to reach more consumers:

Incorporating hashtags into your social media mix will expand reach, allowing your brand to engage with audiences outside of your existing sphere of influence. Your brand should be aware of industry hashtags that are relevant and are used by social media influences to help connect them to you. By creating relevancy through these hash tags, you establish yourself as a real-time participant in a community, instead of just a brand talking to themselves on their social platforms. Engaging in established industry chats or having your brand create their own is a great way to establish your brand as an industry leader and connect with customers and prospects.

3. Paid social:

As social media algorithms shift and change to help the consumer, brands must work harder to cut through the noise and become relevant to customers. With paid social media campaigns, your company has the opportunity to reach niche, targeted audiences at scale. Not only can you target your messages to the right consumer persona, you should also be targeting these customers locally. On Facebook your brand can create hyper-local ads targeted to potential consumer's, appearing the moment your targeted personas are within a mile radius of your store location. Implementing precise targeting with your social media advertisements is a cost effective way to convert your social connections to in-store purchases. If your brand’s social media manager is on the go like most consumers, consider downloading the new Facebook Ads Manager mobile application to manage all advertisements from a mobile device.

Consumers will buy from brands they trust, and the easiest way to gain their trust on social media is by being a valuable resource for their needs. When implementing the three strategies above to guide your consumer's down the path-to-purchase, always keep your consumer persona in mind to achieve your marketing goals.

Reviews

Reviews play a major role in the consumer decision-making process. In fact, 90% of consumers are using online reviews before making it purchasing decisions. They provide information about business to consumers, and if optimized correctly, can boost local SEO in the process. With the access of countless online reviews consumers are now more informed, connected, and empowered than ever before.  So you must ensure that your reviews are not only being found online, but are also providing useful information to convert your consumers into your offline locations during their path-to-purchase. Go above and beyond what consumers expect to find; this is what search engines favor. To begin implementing an online review strategy we recommend beginning with the following steps:

1. Claim your business listings

Claiming your online listings across The Big Six is the first step to getting found online, the next is to discover what other review sites might be best for your brand to claim local listings on.The idea is to get your business listed where your potential customers might leave a review so that you are able to start building a broad, web-based portfolio of positive reviews. Once your new listings are created and claimed you are able to join in on the conversation.

Here are some review sites outside of The Big Six that can give your brand more local visibility.

2. Listen

Think of your online reviews as a litmus of what is going on in each store location: they can’t be ignored. By listening to what your customers are saying online you will gain insight to how your brand is performing on a local level to generate the most appropriate and effective plan of action. If your enterprise level brand encounters issues monitoring all reviews we recommend signing up for a Free Brandify Trial to view and monitor all locations within one dashboard.

3. Respond

Provide your customers with a sense of acknowledgment by letting them know their voice was heard.  86% of consumers said buying decisions were influenced by negative reviews, so make sure your brand addresses the concerns of those review authors with a timely response. A timely response to a negative review is critical to managing and upholding your online reputation.

Managing your online reputation, engaging with customers, and marketing your products effectively based on the information you receive from online reviews will help you close the deal, and encourage your customers to speak about your business positively. 

Conclusion

It’s a best practice to listen and observe behaviors in the Social atmosphere so you know how to effectively enter your consumers sphere of influence and gain their trust. Word of Mouth isn’t a new phenomenon, but technology and the Internet have just raised the stakes.The bottom line is that consumers are using the web to become highly informed about everything they buy, and what they see about every business online affects whether they buy from you or your competition.


Social media and online reviews are increasingly becoming key factors to your brand's online reputation. With today’s mobile-social consumer expecting real-time communication and service, maintaining your brand’s online reputation across multiple locations is more challenging than ever.

Learn more about how your enterprise can navigate your consumer's through the path-to-purchase while also building a team of brand ambassadors in our newest white paper:   The Enterprise Mobile-Social Guide

Topics: Business Listings, Social Media, Online-to-Offline Attribution