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31 Dec

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Nurture Buying Cycle Learners with Social Media

December 31, 2010 | By | No Comments

Marketers constantly search for ways to connect with customers in the buying cycle. At Lift Summit 2010 (co-sponsored by Social Strategy1), Dave Bulger from Eric Mower and Associates spoke about accelerating prospects through the buying cycle. He shared that learners, or consumers who are looking for a solution but still trying to understand their options, can make up a significant portion of a market.

So how, then, can we use social media to transform learners into buyers? Here are tips for using social platforms for customer engagement:

Develop learner profiles.

We all know that social media monitoring is a great way to manage online reputation and protect the brand, but it’s also a great way to glean information from learners. By tapping into the conversations they’re having with the brand and with each other, you’ll gain the ability to form profiles, which allows you to develop the content that will help them better understand their options.

Engender trust.

A learner is looking for information about options and social media is one way to become a trusted resource. Provide relevant, clearly written content through tweets, posts, and blog entries. When a prospect posts a question, answer it. If you can’t, connect the consumer with the appropriate department. If your company can’t offer a solution, build trust by directing the learner to another resource.

Connect real-time.

Learners may not be ready to buy right now, but they want answers to their questions in short order. The Harris Interactive survey of more than 2,200 adults found that 42% of social media users expect a company to respond within one day of a post and 39% expect a response within a week. Yet only 22% of customers who posted a comment for a brand actually received a response.

Using a real-time engagement plan, your brand can quickly provide the information learners want—when they want it. After all, if you’re not there to answer a tweeted inquiry, your competitor might be.

One more thing…

Be patient. Dave noted that turning prospects into buyers requires engagement, nurturing, and time. A marketer’s job, he continued, is not to sell the product, but help the prospect to buy.

So what will you do today to help prospects buy?

Learn more by watching Dave’s Lift Summit presentation, “Leveraging Online Conversations to Accelerate Prospect Consideration Throughout the Buying Cycle“. To see more conference presentation about how to monetize your social media efforts, check out the Lift Summit blog.

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