In an ever-changing social landscape, it’s only fitting that the latest thought piece about mastering the elements of the social enterprise has been published as an eBook. The Social Marketing Funnel: Driving Business Value with Social Marketing by the folks at Awareness attempts to challenge the way CMOs and social media strategists think about organizing and optimizing social marketing. Lewis and his team presents a Social Funnel that helps to lay out the steps and best practices to get the most value from social media investments.

What is the Social Funnel?

According to the authors, the Social Funnel is a “dynamic collection of consumer activity across social media channels.” To be most effective, take your traditional marketing and sales funnel and add a systematic process that identifies and captures consumer interactions across a variety of social media channels. The idea is that by putting this first process first, activity within the social customer relationship management infrastructure is continually mined so that it can deliver the right content to the right people via the right platform.

The Social Funnel creates a 360-degree view of a prospect

The Social Funnel creates a 360-degree view of a prospect

Exploring Marketing's New Frontier

It seems obvious and straightforward to integrate your social media strategy with your traditional marketing strategy, but you’d be surprised how many companies still consider social media to be an add-on, or worse an expendable marketing component. Yet by incorporating social media into the overall mission and vision of your marketing and communication strategy, the Social Funnel helps companies “paint a picture of a user’s interest, intent, preference and behavior,” further reinforcing that being able to capture customers’ unique paths and respond effectively based on activity within the social web will become the new frontier of successful marketing.

The eBook serves to outline steps to build and manage your social funnel, including ways to measure social reach, monitor social conversations, manage social content and analyze social activity. The advice given isn’t earth-shattering, but rather quite practical and reasonable. While you may have heard it before, much of bears repeating:

  • Prioritize social media channels by how well these channels are being used by a company’s target audience.
  • Monitoring social conversations is about knowing what people are saying about your product and brand, both good and bad.
  • Content should be focused on the needs of your prospects and customers -- not you, your company or your product.
  • Measure what content works within a social platform over time and against industry best practices so you can build expertise around content creation and engagement.
  • Test transactions via social, using initiatives such as sampling and coupons, where ROI can be measured directly.

Engage Your Customer, No Matter the Platform

Much of what The Social Marketing Funnel addresses is applicable to a variety of social media and not just Facebook or Twitter, although those are the most cited examples. However, the fact that since this eBook was researched, written and published, new social platforms such as Google+ and Spotify have emerged and are already growing significantly goes to show how volatile social media is -- further demonstrating the need for a strategy that is more about customer engagement, rather than engagement with customers via a specific platform.