Ever wondered what path your customers take before they finally make a purchase? No, we are not talking about spying or tailgating your customers. In marketing, the process is called mapping your customer journey. It is like following footprints in the sand, tracing their steps through the online world. In this article, we will share how you can map your social media customer journey and use it to improve your conversion rates.
Let us begin by unraveling the mystery of customer journeys by looking at the basics first.
Understanding the customer journey.
Before we start mapping your customer’s footsteps on social media, it is important to understand customer journey.
Think of it like a pathway of all customer experiences, from the first time they discover your brand to interaction, from making a purchase online to interacting with you on social media and eventually becoming a loyal customer.
The customer journey is the story of your customer’s experience regarding their behavior, emotions, perceptions, challenges, and actions while interacting with your brand. Each stage changes their opinion about your company or business.
Now, going back to our discussion, how do you add social media to your customer journey mix?
Social media is an important growth medium where brands interact with customers (and vice versa). Your potential customers spend hours daily on social media, discovering new products, interacting with their favorite brands, and sharing opinions about their experience with businesses as reviews.
- 54% of consumers use social media to research products online;
- 71% are more likely to purchase a product/service based on social media referrals or reviews;
- 29% of social media users are likely to buy on the same day they discover a product on social media.
Components of a social media customer journey map.
Social media is important for understanding the customers and even growing brand in 2023. But how do we utilize this information to succeed?
First, we must break down the social media customer journey into smaller components. Think of it this way — the map will give you an understanding of who your customers are, what they are looking for, where they are most active, how they are influenced, their preferences, likes/dislikes, and other elements. Here is how it works:
First up, we have customer personas. They are the heart and soul of any customer journey map. They represent your typical customer, their preferences, behaviors, and needs. Then comes the journey stages – stages your customer moves through, like awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty.
Next, we have touchpoints or interactions your customer has with your brand on social media. It could be viewing an Instagram post, clicking on a Facebook ad, or engaging with a Tweet.
Then comes understanding what actions customers take at each stage and how they feel. Are they confused, excited, or frustrated? These emotions can significantly impact their journey.
Lastly, we have pain points. These are the challenges or issues your customers face at each stage. It is like the villain in our customer’s journey story, the obstacle they need to overcome to reach their goal.
Steps to create a social media customer journey map.
Now that we have outlined all the elements, let us get down to why you are here — how to map a social media customer journey. Here is a step-by-step framework for creating your very own social media customer journey map:
Define your customer personas.
Think of this as character-building. You need to create a visual representation of who your customers are. Ask yourself:
- Who are your customers? What is their age?
- What do they like? What are their hobbies
- Where do they live?
- How do they spend their free time?
- Which social media platforms they are most active on?
For instance, if you are a D2C eCommerce brand, your persona could be shopper Susan, a 30-year-old who loves Tiktok and keeps searching for new outfits to buy online.
Outline the stages of the journey.
Just like in a story, there are different stages in your customer’s journey.
They start at the awareness stage, where they first discover your brand; move to the consideration stage, where they are evaluating if your product meets their needs; then to the decision stage, where they decide to purchase; and finally, the loyalty stage, where they become repeat customers.
Identify the touchpoints.
Once you have outlined the stages, it is time to identify the times, places, and situations where customers interact with your brand. It could be a sponsored ad on Facebook, a product review on YouTube, or a customer testimonial on Instagram.
One amazing example of identifying touchpoints comes from Spotify. They use data research and customer surveys to discover where customers interact with their brand and understand how users feel at each point, identifying pain points and areas of improvement.
Highlight customer actions and emotions.
The next two steps are an extension of the previous step. You need to understand what your customer is doing at each stage, how he behaves, and what they feel.
For example, customers might feel curious or excited at the awareness stage when they first discover your social media page and see that you have a product that can solve their problem. Following this, they can visit your website, sign up for your newsletter, or buy your product immediately.
Identify pain points and opportunities.
After your customers have interacted with your brand, you should find their pain points. You need to dig deeper and find out what challenges they are facing. And most importantly, how can you help them overcome these challenges?
Maybe they are having trouble navigating through your social media page and finding the relevant product category link, or they are confused by your product options on the Facebook shop. Once you have identified these pain points, you can brainstorm solutions to improve their experience. This can further improve your customer experience on the website, too.
Draft and validate the map.
Once you have marked out the components, it is time to bring everything on a single canvas — the persona, the stages, touchpoints, customer actions, behavior, perceptions, emotions, and more.
You can use a simple mind map or a whiteboard to create a visual map highlighting everything. By the end of this activity, you will have a clear idea about how customers discover you and buy from you.
In the following sections, there are a few real-life examples of customer journey maps to be inspired. Also, did you know you need to validate your customer map using online surveys or feedback tools?
You can also validate the map by conducting market research on autopilot using GapScout. Gapscout scans online reviews and gives detailed insights into customers’ feelings about your brand or business online.
Examples of social media customer journey maps.
To help you visualize what a customer journey map looks like, let us look at some real-world examples.
First is Spotify’s customer journey map. They wanted to improve the music-sharing experience, so they created a map to understand where music-sharing fit into the customer experience, as below.
With this information, they could identify pain points and make the music-sharing experience smoother and more seamless.
Similarly, TurboTax created a customer journey map when launching a new product, Personal Pro.
They used data research, customer surveys, and key conversations with tax professionals to understand how the product fits into customers’ lives. This allowed them to see and address pain points to improve the customer experience.
Optimize your social media customer journey map using Gapscout.
Creating a social media customer journey map is great, but how do you keep it fresh and aligned with evolving customer expectations?
GapScout is a valuable tool for mapping the customer journey and keeping it relevant. Scanning online platforms and gathering reviews offers real-time data about customers’ experiences and sentiments at different stages of their journey. Here are several ways it could be useful:
- Understanding customer sentiment at each stage: By analyzing reviews and comments, GapScout can help you understand how customers feel at each stage of their journey. For example, if many customers are expressing frustration about a particular aspect of your product during the consideration phase, this might be a pain point that needs addressing.
- Identifying common paths through the customer journey: GapScout can help identify common patterns in customer behavior, enabling you to map out customers’ most common journeys when interacting with your brand.
- Spotting gaps and opportunities: By collecting and analyzing a large amount of customer data, GapScout can help identify gaps in your current customer journey where customers might be dropping off or experiencing difficulties. These could represent opportunities for improvement.
- Personalizing the customer journey: Understanding customer sentiment and behavior can help personalize the customer journey. For example, if GapScout identifies that certain customers often express a particular need or preference, you could use this insight to tailor your communications and offerings to this group.
- Measuring the impact of changes: If you make changes to your customer journey based on insights from GapScout, you can then use social listening tools to track the impact of these changes. Are customers happier? Are they progressing more smoothly through their journey?
Remember, creating a social media customer journey map is not just about understanding your customers better. It is about improving their experience and making their journey as seamless and enjoyable as possible, and GapScout can help you in this regard.
So, create your social media customer journey map, and do not forget to use Gapscout to make your journey map more meaningful.
Ready to Automate Your Market Research?
Get exclusive access to GapScout prior to release!