Before social media took over the world, Marketing was all about the purchase funnel. But now, it’s all about the infinite loop, which makes the purchase funnel look like child’s play.
The decision to make a purchase is more complex than ever before, forcing marketers to find a new, effective approach to selling a brand’s product or service. Today, consumers engage in one big cycle in which they’re always discovering, considering, and purchasing products via multiple channels, such as social media and e-commerce sites. So instead of working towards the goal of turning a person into a customer, brands must now engage with consumers to ensure they don’t lose out against a competitor; they must sell the brand and establish relationships and loyalty with consumers.
However, while the presence of all of these communication channels makes it easier for consumers to research products and review those of your competitors, they also provide a unique opportunity to make your brand stand out above the rest.
And it all starts with content.
Gary Vaynerchuck, social media guru and founder of VanyerMedia, explains why content is so crucial in his YouTube video, Every Single One of You is a Media Company. During his rant, Vaynerchuck notes how the Internet has disrupted all kinds of industries, from publishing to music to commerce and to what is most important for our conversation today, media companies. No longer must they purchase a printing press or connect with a TV network to get their messages across to the public—they can now embrace open communication with consumers on a much more personal level, and it’s all free.
Vaynerchuck also goes on to call social networks the “plumbing of society,” since they distribute and propel information from consumer to consumer. But as wonderful as they are, these social platforms are only valuable if you put quality content through them. Whether your content is a blog post, a YouTube video, or a Tweet, you need to ensure it is of the best quality you can create. If you don’t fill the pipelines with freaking brilliant content that either educates people or makes them laugh, Vaynerchuck says you’re going to quickly get lost in the crowd and drowned out by other businesses.
So how does all this tie back into the loop?
When social media and content come together, you can further influence consumers to go from that pre-shopping phase to seriously considering buying your product or service. For example, many retailers have found significant value in Pinterest, which currently drives almost a quarter of all online retail referrals. And many have found ways to broaden the impact of the social platform. Nordstrom, for example, promotes merchandise that’s frequently pinned online to further encourage store visits and influence people to go online and search other products later. This seamless integration is something all companies should strive for, or else they can only expect to fall apart.
Establishing a new customer isn’t the end goal anymore because there is no “end.” It’s all about continuing to find ways to appeal to consumers, engage with them, meet their needs, and do it all over again.