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Crystal Cha3/27/19 1:06 PM6 min read

How BrandBastion Optimizes Every Stage of the Buying Path On Social

In our previous post, we talked about how the nature of social media has evolved over the years to its current form, and what this means for advertisers today. The key takeaway was how social media is no longer an upper-funnel or lower-funnel touch point - it is a relevant touch point for consumers in every stage of the buying path. Customers are doing their research, reading reviews, making the decision to purchase, and recommending friends to purchase - all on social media.

In this post, we break down how each and every stage of the buying path can be better optimized on social media, and the solutions BrandBastion has available to help advertisers do so.


Awareness (The customer discovers the brand and adds it to her initial discovery set)

In the awareness stage, establishing a positive brand image is key. You may have invested money into developing attention-grabbing creative that resonates, but that effort can be ruined by a slew of comments right underneath it attacking the brand. Or, the comments feed may simply be filled with spam and malware, such as suspicious links and self-promoting comments asking people to “Check out my profile!”

Solution: BrandBastion offers highly accurate AI + human moderation that can be customized according to brand guidelines, hiding harmful comments that damage brand perception. (Note: We recommend always hiding, not deleting comments, as users tend to react badly to that and it reflects poorly on the brand. When hiding comments, the comment stays visible to the user who posted it but not the ad’s audience.)

Hiding comments containing spam and disparaging comments about your brand is one thing, but what if the ad’s creative does not resonate with the audience? On social media, users have no qualms about taking to the comments to air their dissatisfaction with the brand, leaving comments such as “Who approved this ad? You must be joking.” and “This is the most insensitive ad I’ve ever seen!”

Solution: BrandBastion is able to issue alerts for a variety of situations. Instant alerts, for example, are sent when a post issue is detected from any comments highlighting issues with the post, such as links not working in the post, typos, or grammar mistakes. Additionally, volume-based alerts can be issued when a certain category of comments reaches a certain threshold. For instance, if the threshold for boycott-related comments is set at 10 comments within 4 hours, then once that threshold is exceed, an alert is sent. This enables quick action to be taken before any threats can escalate further.

In the awareness stage, positive comments can also go a long way in building a positive first impression of your brand. Yet praise and rave reviews from happy customers often go unattended on ads.

Solution: BrandBastion detects comments that are positive about the brand or product/service and can like and respond to such comments on your behalf. Doing so pushes these positive comments to the top of Facebook’s “Most Relevant” comments.


Interest and Consideration (The customer is gathering more information, making comparisons, and weighing the pros and cons)

According to research from BrightLocal, consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business. During the interest and consideration stage of the buying journey, what people are saying about your brand matters a lot in whether someone considering your brand finally goes through with converting or not.

All of the above solutions mentioned, from moderation to alerts to customer response, are crucial not only in shaping customers’ initial perception of your brand. It also helps to keep interested potential customers from deciding that another brand (that seems to cater better to their customers on social media) is going to be the better choice.

In addition, if a customer is considering a brand, there may be questions he has on his mind. Ads from highly-engaged brands tend to receive questions from potential customers asking about the price, how long it takes to ship, and similar questions. Attending to these comments in real-time can have a big impact on conversion rates at the point that Google calls the “zero moment of truth”.  

Solution: By enabling BrandBastion to respond actively to all customer inquiries, especially those demonstrating purchase intent, on their behalf, brands can push interested potential customers further along the buying path.

Another potential opportunity for brands to capture interest and remarket later to engaged shoppers is using Click-to-Messenger ads. Automation, augmented reality, and chatbots are increasingly being tapped to drive engagement in private direct message channels. One example is beauty brands like Sephora allowing customers to test out makeup using AR technology within Messenger itself. Another example is retail brands providing customized product recommendations within Messenger to users based on what they are looking for, using different filters like fit, style, or occasion. 

Solution: With Click-to-Messenger ads, once a user opens up a direct chat with a brand, the user essentially opts in to receive direct push communications from the brand. Tailored, personalized special offer or remarketing messages can be sent to this group of opted-in users which would be closer to a purchase compared to users seeing a brand’s ads for the first time.


Conversion (Moment of purchase)

Say a customer has gathered their research, knows what she is looking for, and is ready to make a purchase. Upon clicking on ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Shop Now’, she finds that the link takes her to a different page than what she expected. Or, another customer enters the voucher code he saw in the ad, only to find out that ‘This promo code is not valid’. In these scenarios, the chances of an abandoned cart is extremely high, and provides a very unpleasant experience for the customer.

Solution: Fortunately, there is a way to catch situations like these before too many people experience them. With BrandBastion’s alerts feature, it just takes one comment complaining about a “link not working” or “promo code not valid” for an instant alert to be sent, so you can go in, investigate further, and take action if needed.


Loyalty (Retention and recurring purchases based on ongoing exposure)

Getting new customers in the door is always an exciting achievement for any marketer. But a big percentage of sales and revenue in many industries comes from returning customers, rather than new customers. When existing customers are asking questions about their purchase and not getting a reply, or leaving positive feedback and feeling like the brand is not listening to them, it can impact the likelihood that they will continue purchasing from the brand.

Solution: BrandBastion is able to detect and respond to customer queries, complaints, and positive feedback to help brands deliver a positive customer service experience on social in addition to their other support channels. When customers’ concerns are addressed and their feedback is appreciated, this increases the likelihood they will stay loyal and also recommend others to the brand.


In summary

As we covered in our earlier blog post, How Social Media has Changed the Game for Advertisers, the path to purchase is becoming increasingly circular, rather than linear, as McKinsey’s consumer decision journey model suggests. People are forming impressions of brands at different touch points along the way. Ultimately, brands need to prioritize consistency throughout the whole customer journey, from the first ad a customer sees, to every interaction it has with the brand, as this is essential to building trust and converting a customer.

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