Social media has evolved from being a top-of-the-funnel strategy to touching and influencing all stages of the buying process. And now, it needs its own sales funnel.
The social media sales funnel helps you create personalized content for your buyers for all stages of their journey. And since targeting users with content personalized to their stage in the buying process boosts conversions by 72%. Therefore, you must build a social media sales funnel to drive conversions from your social channels.
However, learning about the social media sales funnel isn’t as easy as you may think. You go in thinking, “okay, this is simple. Awareness, intent, buy.” and come out doubting the very existence of the social sales funnel.
In this article, we will help you build a customized social media sales funnel for your business and present our own two cents on the debate around this tactic.
What is a social media sales funnel?
Let’s begin with a simple definition of what a sales funnel is. Your social media sales funnel defines your customers’ path in their journey with your brand. And, when we talk about building a sales funnel, what we mean is the practice of designing a series of steps to guide your users in that journey.
Social media sales funnel looks similar to any other sales funnel. However, due to the inherent uniqueness of this marketing channel, and the change in user behavior, different marketers have different opinions on a social media sales funnel, with many people going as far as to say that “sales funnels are dead.”However, we believe that social media sales funnels aren’t dead. It’s a century-old strategy that has stood the test of time, and it cannot be kicked out of marketing just like that.
The sales funnel may not be as simple as it used to be because the buyer’s journey isn’t always linear. Many buyers flow through the funnel traditionally, while many jump up and down in an unorthodox manner.
Yet, declaring the social funnel to be “dead” would be a mistake that can lead your content strategy to go haywire.
Your buyer still has a journey and would love for you to create content that helps them in it. Creating your customized social sales funnel will give you a basic framework about how you should approach your customers. It helps you build your customer touchpoints according to where the customer is in their journey and target them with the right kind of content.
With 64% of customers expecting engagements based on past interactions, your sales funnel will boost your customer satisfaction.
Different stages of the sales funnel
Your typical sales funnel is divided into three categories conveniently called top-of-the-funnel (TOFU), middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU), and bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU). Each of these categories includes a different stage of the buyer journey.
TOFU is the widest part of the funnel in your typical inverted pyramid funnel. It involves the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, where the buyer first discovers their problems and then comes across your brand.
The strategies for this category are strictly educational, aimed at providing value to the user and building trust.
This is a lead acquisition category. The leads at this stage are unqualified, but they are leads, nonetheless. So, you have to focus on perfecting your TOFU strategies because it ultimately shapes the outcome of your BOFU strategies.
Let’s explain with an example.
Say you have focused all your efforts on optimizing BOFU, but your TOFU is weak. In this case, even if your conversion rate is 2%, but you are bringing in only 100 leads, you’ll be converting only 2 of them.
Here’s an excellent depiction of this example:
So, prioritize your TOFU as much as BOFU.
Once you have acquired a lead, you have to keep them engaged and help them choose you over your competitors.
That’s where MOFU strategies come in.
MOFU strategies aim to introduce your brand as the “solution provider” and helping your users see everything that makes them pick you over your competitors.
When MOFU strategies nurture leads, BOFU strategies score the winning goals and attempt to nudge the customer towards conversion.
But since your interaction with your customer does not end with a sale. Therefore, MOFU strategies also cover post-sale engagement tactics to help you retain your users and make them love you enough to come to you again and again.
Here’s how you can build your personalized social media sales funnel
Your business and customers are unique. Therefore, you need personalized strategies, and your very own sales funnel to attract, engage, and convert them. In this section, we will discuss exactly how you can build one. That, too, in only three steps.
Step # 1: Define goals related to each category of the funnel and identify your tactics
If you don’t remember, funnel categories are TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU, and tactics are how you execute your strategy, using Facebook ads, Instagram stories, or by resharing your blog posts etc.
Each funnel category has its own goals, as we discussed above. And you have to pick your tactics to bring your social media outcomes closer to your goals.
Let’s look into it in detail.
Goals and tactics for TOFU
We know that TOFU goals are to drive awareness and garner the audience’s interest in your brand.
You have to deliver value at this stage because no one would appreciate being sold to even before they are fully aware of what their problem really is.
Aim at creating content that helps customers identify what their problems are and how they can solve them. You can create blog posts answering your audiences most asked questions and share them on your social media. Or you can repurpose your existing blogs and convert them into short carousels to help the audience derive value quickly.
Since social videos generate greater engagement, you can include them too in your TOFU content strategy and create short, interesting videos that can offer valuable information to the user.
You can gauge the importance of videos from this graphic:Just be sure to make it interesting and avoid being blatant about selling. Remember, at this point, your sole focus is to engage your audience.
Hubspot, a marketing software provider, did just that, and guess what? They experienced astounding results.
Back in 2017, Hubspot shifted its focus from creating sales-oriented social videos to posting engagement-focused video content. They wanted to engage their audience and win trust, hoping it wouldn’t be too hard to convince people to buy from them once they had won their trust.
They adopted an audience-first approach, brainstormed content ideas they knew their audience would love, and converted them into videos.
As a result, their views jumped from 50,000 to a whopping 1 million.
Goals and tactics for MOFU
54% of people use social media to research a product. And this is the one statistic that MOFU strategies leverage as they nurture cold leads, filtering out the uninterested audience and converting the rest into qualified leads ready for the next stage.
At this point, your customers are in the consideration stage. They are evaluating their choices and considering the options they have. And you have to convince your users that you are the answer to all their problems. You have to show them that you are better than the rest. And social media offers various channels for you to do that.
You can provide social proof by highlighting positive reviews on your Facebook page, or leverage your customer testimonials, share them on your Instagram to show people that your customers really love you.
Another proven tactic involves hiring social media influencers. You can hire social media “celebrities” to drive awareness about your product and talk about how great you really are.
For example, if you sell an anti-acne face balm, you know your audience struggles with acne. You can hire a social media influencer and have them mention how your face balm helped them fight acne. However, try and be authentic. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. You want to win long-time customers, not one-time sales.
There are many other low-effort but amazing content ideas you can execute as a part of your MOFU strategies.
If you still think social media is better off sticking to the TOFU and other channels that are good for MOFU and BOFU, this case study might change your opinion.
UWheels, a self-balancing board scooter brand, generated significant revenue through Instagram.
They hired influencers to talk about their new Uwheel boards and created a lot of buzz around the product’s launch. Differentiating their product with unique messaging, they managed to stand out from their competitors. Their MOFU strategy helped generate over a million dollars!
How do we know this was a MOFU strategy? Because it attracted unqualified leads, turned them into warm leads who then converted on the website.
Goals and tactics for BOFU
Once you have nurtured the leads through the evaluation/consideration stage, it’s now time to sell your products.
Why does social media come in BOFU when the sale has to happen at the website? Well, for one, many social networks have now introduced platform-native stores, Like Facebook and Instagram Shops.
Second, you have to convert your users on social media. And for that, you need BOFU strategies.
Based on what conversion means for your brand, you can adopt various tactics. Like, if your goal is to drive sales, you can run targeted ads promoting limited-time discounts, or you can create Instagram stories promoting a sale. 61% of customers claim that surprise gifts and offers are the best way to engage customers, so this might not be a bad idea.But if conversion means more traffic on your website, you can post a teaser of your web content, say a blog post, with a link to your website and drive traffic.Here’s how Adobe does it on Facebook.
Since building loyalty is also a part of BOFU strategies, you have to include post-sales engagement tactics at this stage.
We all know upselling to an existing customer is easier than selling to a new customer. The chances of converting an old customer hover around 60-70%, while those of converting a new customer stick to a meager 5-20%.
So, you have to pay special attention to the advocacy stage of BOFU and develop strategies to keep your audience engaged, even after they have purchased from you.
As a parting note, remember to pick a couple of tactics for each stage of the buyer journey and stick to them. Optimize it and perfect it before trying on something else.
Step # 3: Assign the right metrics
Once you have decided on what tactics you will use in each stage of your buyer’s journey, it’s time to assign metrics to track the performance of your tactics with the right social tools and see how they are bringing you closer to your goals.
For example, if you are using blogs and carousels for your TOFU strategy, you might want to track their results using metrics like reach, impressions, and engagement rate.
For each metric, benchmark the industry standard and optimize it to hit that mark.
Step # 3: Test, test, and test
You thought you’d get away with a marketing strategy without testing and optimizing?
Once your tracking metrics are decided, it’s time to analyze them regularly and see what’s working and what’s not. Continue experimenting with different tactics to find your “sweet spot”.
For example, you’re using Instagram Stories to promote limited-time offers, but tests show that feed posts drive better conversion. So, you can switch to feed post and continue optimizing your strategy.
Importance of retargeting
Talking about retargeting is important here because it is a critical part of your strategy to keep your customers moving through the sales funnel.
Given that only 2% of shoppers convert on the first visit. At the same time, retargeted customers are 3x more likely to click on your ad. So, you must include retargeting in your social media sales strategy and enhance your brand’s exposure to your content.You can include retargeting in all stages of the buyer journey. For example, you can show retargeted ads to customers who have shown initial interest in your brand to help them see how you can bring value to their lives.
If you think this won’t work, know that Neil Patel leveraged social media retargeting and increased the deal closing ratio at QuickSprout to 28%, which is pretty impressive.
There’s a lot of noise around the social media sales funnel. Many say it is dead. But we believe, a sales funnel is still pretty relevant because it gives a basic roadmap for your content strategy.
While building a social media sales funnel, you have to make sure to focus on every stage of the buyer’s journey and have a unique tactic for each of these stages.
Your marketing funnel should work as a whole. Each stage should blend seamlessly with the next so your customers can flow through it without friction.
Don’t forget to assign metrics to each of your tactics and analyze them regularly to optimize your sales funnel for better results!