Mike Hanbery September 6, 2013

Denver Social Media: Social Media Monitoring and the Consumption Lifecycle

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The true opportunity social media monitoring provides is the unprecedented ability to see into the minds and intent of our current and prospective customers. Social media monitoring takes us directly to the mind’s eye, where we reveal more of ourselves than we intend.

Such is the essence of Facebook’s fortune. You are connected to many more sources for incoming data than can ever be present on your home page. Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm determines what content you will find most useful and interesting and places it in front of you. It determines this less through what you’ve told the network about yourself and much more through your actual behavior. For example, you may choose to not list the fact that you like classic rock and roll on your Facebook profile; yet somehow whenever a friend posts a question about a Hendrix lyric (It’s kiss the sky, not kiss this guy), you see it. Why? Because when you used your Facebook account to log into Spotify, Facebook recorded your preference for Led Zeppelin, the Stones and Jimi himself, integrating this data into a matrix of behavioral data geared toward providing the right mix of content for you. Sure, you click on links to articles about Denver business events and social media marketing, so you’ll get more of that stuff, too, but at your core you are a Voodoo Chile. Lord knows it and so does Facebook.

This is a major factor in how Facebook has come to occupy one of every seven minutes Americans spend online. This type of social media listening isn’t, however, only for Facebook—it’s available for all marketers.
Internet marketers know there are two types of searches: Informational and Transactional. Social media listening tools like Radian6 and SocialMention enable marketers to strategically and systematically filter to find the words people are using and the sentiment attached to them.

The Consumption Lifecycle

Purchasing Phase Diffused Need -> Focused Need -> Purchase Decision
Ownership Phase Confirmation -> Identification -> Gratification
Repurchase Phase Indifference -> Disenchantment -> Receptive

Purchasing Phase
Businesses seeking new customers are looking online to connect with or passively market to Internet users in the Purchasing Phase.

  • Informational searchers want to find deep information about a specific subject. Informational searchers believe this deep information exists but they don’t know where it’s located. “I have a need but I don’t know how to fill that need. I need to replace my wooden deck. Will I do it myself or hire someone to do it? What type of material shall I use?”
  • As searchers gather more information, they move to a Focused Need state. “I know how I intend to solve the problem. I will hire an expert to install my deck. I am looking for a local contractor who can show examples of his work with Trex composite.” Transactional searchers want to do something, e.g. buy a product, download a song. When searchers enter the name of a book or the model number of a camera, they usually intend to buy the camera.

Purchasing Phase social media monitoring activities involve seeking keywords associated with the types of questions people ask when something has changed in their lives to require the type of product or service provided by the company. The goal is to pull the prospect through the sales funnel, introducing your product or service as a specific solution and focusing the need—on you.

When a prospect’s need becomes more focused, the search activity moves into qualifying providers. This is the point at which the searches are no longer about the need or the product or service, but the provider. Businesses who have taken steps to own their brand online and generate comments will enjoy higher conversion rates from the prospects they have thus cultivated.

Ownership Phase
Businesses should seek to keep their current customers in the Ownership Phase and out of the Repurchase Phase. Ownership Phase social media monitoring activities involve seeking keywords associated with the company name, products or services provided and people associated with the account or company, usually executives and sales staff. This may also involve specific monitoring of contacts and decision-makers at the client company. The goal is to complement direct contact efforts such as email newsletters, meetings, birthday cards, phone calls, etc., to remind the customer that their business is valued and to give them a direct outlet for any concerns. This is Retention Marketing—social media’s wheelhouse.

Repurchase Phase
Ideally, businesses are targeting competitor’s clients who have been allowed to slip into the Repurchase Phase. Repurchase Phase social media monitoring activities are a hybrid of Purchasing Phase and Ownership Phase. The need is focused and the keywords include the names of competitors. This is quick gratification, high-reward social media monitoring.

In an August 28, 2013 CIO.com article, Toyota Goes All-in with Social Media Marketing, CIO of Toyota North America, Zack Hicks, explained how his company is using social media:

We use social media data analysis across many areas–sales, service, quality, marketing and product development. For example, if a customer expresses interest in a car, we can determine engagement by analyzing the frequency of dealership visits via their Foursquare check-ins, understand their dealership experiences, and even understand what features may have sparked their interest in a competitor’s product.

How to use this Information
Using social media monitoring to reach beyond the information explicitly volunteered to you through Facebook, Twitter, surveys, etc., can help identify in which phase of the Consumption Lifecycle your customers are.

This allows the astute, caring business to form a strategy, to find and convert prospects, keep current customers in the Ownership Phase, in which they are most likely to drive referrals and increase their level of engagement; and to understand which of their clients and competitors’ clients are receptive to being approached.

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