In Part I of our Social Commerce discussion we looked at the types of sites that allow a company to sell and advertise online in a social setting. Today, we’re going to focus on becoming part of social conversations to affect the various stages of the customer journey.

Focusing on Peer Feedback & Reinforcement Along the Customer Journey

Social media conversations are a big part of purchasing: “47% of millennials say their purchase decisions are influenced by social media”, a shift from other generations among whom only 19% look to social media, according to Forbes. That stat confirms what we all know: every company needs a social media presence. Engaging potential buyers, however, takes more than just generating a bit of social media content.

A successful social commerce conversation accesses the benefits of peer feedback and validation at each stage of a customer’s journey. When planning media that will get customers and potential customers encouraging each other to take notice, think about how that media promotes chatter, shares, likes and positive reinforcement at each of these stages:

1.  General interest and awareness stage—Does your media lend itself to being shared or discussed broadly, not only in conversations about specific products? Think about how to offer content that customers want to share, duplicate, parody, etc. and that also ties directly to an awareness of a particular aspect of your company. Maybe the content highlights a new service or product that people haven’t been aware of, or maybe it encapsulates your brand’s mission or vision clearly enough to tie the conversation to your company.

⋅  Impulse activity—Once you’ve captured someone’s interest, be prepared to capitalize on impulse responses. Is there a way to tie the content to a quick purchase? Can purchases become part of more content/shout-outs to help create momentum and peer feedback, encouraging others to purchase?

2.  Research stage—Create media that promotes sharing useful information about what differentiates a product or service. Are there ways to get people sharing “I love x about this product”? Or can you create a funny comparison that people want to share and that will help single out your brand?

3.  Purchasing—Does your media make it easy for customers to complete purchases? Think about whether the messaging to purchase is clear and also whether links and software integrations lead a buyer to make a purchase.

4.  Purchase follow-up—Can customers easily share what makes them happy, and does your shareable content remind your previous customers why they want to come back? The key here is creating easy ways for customers to feel like they are reminding one another, rather than just relying on company remarketing.

Now that we’ve looked at where social conversations happen and when customers need engagement to promote purchasing, we’ll need to take a look at the type of content that starts and joins into customer conversations. Join us in our next post for content ideas that will make your company part of customer chatter.