Social media marketing works by engaging with customers and taking them on a journey. This journey encapsulates the ideal relationship they have with your brand, from first encounter to passionate advocacy.

Creating the right sort of engagement is what gives social media its R.O.I, it’s how people use platforms like Twitter and Facebook to boost their revenue and grow their brand.

Is this important to you? If it is, it’s time to get to know the 5 stages to the social media customer journey.

We’ll guide you through this journey using a case study of our own making. One which generated in excess of 500% ROI too!


Stage 1 is awareness

The problem with social media is noise, and as a result, people are getting harder to reach. Social media is simply heaving with information and conversation.

For example, Twitter is a stampede of tweets and information, with tweets becoming increasingly transient as they’re swiftly buried by the next 140 characters. And Facebook is more difficult than ever to generate views and reach without paying, given its robust intent to only show the user what they want to see.

500 million tweets per day and rising

All this gives the customer an abundance of choice. There is simply so much information to choose from that people become selective with their attention. Because of this, brands must treat their audiences with utmost respect – the initial content we post will be the prelude to someone either tuning in or turning off.

Therefore, at the awareness stage – we avoid self-promotional content.

Instead, we want to ingratiate your brand with your new audience. We want to offer them value while asking nothing in return except a moment of their attention.

Everyone likes to win. Therefore, we ran a competition on the client’s best-selling product, an entry-level 3D printer.

It’s important when running a competition to align your prize with your offering, don’t give away and iPad unless you’re selling iPads!

To give the new Facebook page – and the competition – some legs, we created custom Facebook advertising audiences.

To support the awareness stage we researched and sourced useful content from around the web, to share. This content related to and resonated with their product offering, providing information and entertainment value.

It demonstrated that there were mutual values between brand and audience, a type of content that should persist on social media indefinitely.

Stage 2 is Demand

Here we start looking at engagement as a way of driving traffic to their website, so we intertwine branded content in the social media feed.

The important metric at this stage is website traffic – driven from the social media updates and activity.

Facebook’s behavioural data is a bounty of low-hanging fruit.

To tap in to this data,

  1. We used customer emails uploaded to Facebook
  2. Create remarketing audiences
  3. And then we built lookalikes audiences off the back of this data


We gradually promoted branded content to these audiences, again spending a modest amount of ad budget, driving direct traffic to their website. The audience this content reached was already relevant, and when they investigated the brand further they could already see lots of useful content gathered in stage 1 to reinforce brand value.

Done correctly a small budget can stretch far – with clicks as cheap as 2 pence each, sometimes even less than a penny.

This traffic also helps populate additional remarketing lists which we can use going forwards.

Stage 3 is Transactions

We built momentum with impressions and engagement, and direct visits to the website.

But next it was direct product promotion time – but remaining cautious – we only dangled a toe in the water.

We used a try “before you buy” offer, because product trials work. They’re low risk, low commitment, and they don’t have to be free to be effective either.

The client offers a printing hub facility where customers can upload their own design, and it gets printed in the colour of their choice and sent to them a few days later.

After just 3 months Facebook was driving direct sales and also assisting with sales through remarketing and return visits.

And who says social media doesn’t drive sales!

Before we crack open the champagne, we need to remember that a social media strategy doesn’t stop at the transaction stage…

Stage 4 is Adoption

Here we make existing fans and customers feel good about following your brand.

It increases brand loyalty and increases your promotional power by being able to show off a tuned-in audience.

We drove further engagement through answering customer questions and queries, offering after-sales support via social media and just generally being timely to respond to the growing audience.

Adoption comes full-circle on the initial awareness phase, working hand in hand. Where awareness is driving new eyeballs to you, adoption is about keeping and delighting the audience you’ve built up.

The release of a new logo and branding offered a prime opportunity to ask the newly built audience for their opinion – a simple tactic, but it was effective.

Furthermore, we started to see additional, positive engagement across social posts and updates.

It’s important to note, the simplest way to stifle adoption is to become overzealous with your promotional posts.

We set expectations early by committing no more than 20% branded, directly promotional posts.

Stick to that rule and people won’t tire of your brand. They’ll see you as part of the community, rather than just facing it with a loudspeaker.

In doing this, your audience will allow you to push more promotional pieces to them.

And that brings us neatly to the final stage:

5 is Advocacy

The hardest-won element of a social media marketing strategy.

Don’t underestimate the power of recommendations and positive word of mouth.

When all 5 stages align, you will inspire certain members of your audience to engage beyond the norm.

They will go out of their way to engage with, talk about and share your brands message more frequently.

These extended engagements act as endorsements and make your loyal followers true brand advocates.

This, of course, extends reach and will in turn influence others.

This is what the final populated social media marketing map looked like:

social media marketing map

And the return on investment?

Well over 500% …

Which begs the question: isn’t it time you implemented the social media marketing strategy map, for your online store?