As social marketers, we spend a lot of time focused on content marketing conversion. It’s how leadership measures results, even as marketers we know that conversion is just the desired end result and not the whole journey. In order to reach the finish line, we have to guide our audiences from being unacquainted with our brand to awareness, and from awareness to consideration. We need a complete content funnel optimized at each stage for conversion.

A content marketing funnel, of course, is only as good as its ingredients. You have to put the right content in the right places at the right time. In this article, I’ll discuss how marketers can create a social media content funnel to support three stages of the funnel: awareness, consideration and conversion.

It all starts with awareness.

Your audience can’t consider your brand and convert if they aren’t aware of it. Social marketers know this—according to the latest Sprout Social Index, 69% of marketers say their primary goal for social is increasing brand awareness.

There are plenty of brands out there finding creative ways to stand out on social platforms, especially on Twitter. Language-learning app Fluent, for example, called out its competitor Duolingo directly (and provocatively!) as the number of people looking to learn a new language spiked under stay-at-home orders.

Of course, not every brand will feel comfortable making a move this bold but social marketers can certainly tap into their own brand identity for content inspiration. In addition to showcasing your brand’s personality, consider focusing on:

  • User-generated content. User-generated content (UGC) about your brand or industry is some of the most authentic awareness content you can get. With tools like Sprout, you can monitor mentions and tags to identify UGC that are worth Retweeting/Regramming, giving your followers some social love and converting customers into loyal fans.
  • Ads. Ads sometimes get a bad rap, but the truth is they’re great at raising brand awareness. Make sure your content gets in front of the right people by targeting audiences using demographic and interest data pulled directly from platforms like Twitter.
  • Consistency. This is true for any kind of marketing, and especially true when trying to ensure your brand stands out in your audience’s social feed. To boost awareness, the look and tone of your content should be consistent from one post to the next. The more familiar your audience becomes with your brand’s vibe, the more solidified their awareness becomes.

To ensure your awareness efforts are working, keep track of metrics like follower count, impressions, and organic brand mentions. Impressions can help you understand your brand’s reach while organic mentions paint a better picture of audience sentiment and depth of brand recognition. Lastly, don’t forget to track engagement per post. When you create high quality, engaging content, the greater the chance your Tweets will be seen by the communities you’re after.

Build trust with customers at the consideration stage.

Once your audience is aware of your brand, they’re able to move down the content funnel towards consideration. This is a trust-building phase, so you’ll need to keep a pulse on your ideal customers’ wants, needs, and values to further solidify your brand’s voice and build an engaged community.

At the consideration stage, relevance is key. In the Sprout Social Index, 45% of consumers say they will unfollow brands on social media when they post irrelevant content. Know your audience; speak to them and their interests directly. In this Tweet, Mailchimp demonstrates they understand their end user’s pain points and offer a solution they know will help their customers.

As you continue to move consumers through the social media content funnel, the following types of content can help you achieve your consideration stage goals:

  • Thought leadership. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your brand is always thinking about your customer and how you can support their lifestyle. Glossier, for example, knows that their customers are looking for more than just beauty products—they something that looks good and is functional. There’s no need for Glossier to data-back or politicize their product here; its features and design speak directly to their audience’s interest.
  • Education. Social platforms give brands an intimate view of audience pain points and are the perfect stage to demonstrate how your products or services reduce them. People love to learn new stuff about the products they’re buying and feel like they’re getting smarter when they choose your brand. Use social data to inform education content that directly solves a need or pain point your customer is experiencing.
  • Customer care. People also want to know how you treat your customers, and social gives customers the power to converse with or tag your brand after an experience. Increasingly, brands are leveraging this opportunity to visibly demonstrate their great customer care. How you treat your current customers is important to your future customers. Don’t miss this chance to show off and seal in consideration.

Wondering how to be sure things are working at this content funnel stage? Look for both low-effort engagements, such as likes and Retweets, as well as deep engagement like replies, Retweets and shares with comments. Click-throughs to your site, of course, indicate consumers’ genuine interest in learning more about your brand as well.

Push buyers over the finish line with conversion content.

If your audience is aware of and is considering doing business with your brand, the table is set for conversion. But what are you converting for? Are you looking for newsletter signups? Purchases? Clickthroughs to your site? These metrics will affect your conversion, so it’s important to figure out what you want to convert for before doing anything else.

In this Epic Games Tweet, for example, it’s clear the brand wants consumers to download a specific video game. Not only is there a strong call-to-action, Epic Games created a sense of urgency by including the word “free” to keep customers moving down the content funnel.

Once you’ve set your goals, consider adding the following elements to your conversion content:

  • Clear call-to-action. Tell your audience what you want them to do! At the conversion stage, there should be no question about what action to take if people are ready to become customers or subscribers.
  • Immediacy. The best time to get your audience to convert is when you have their attention. Create a timely reason for them to buy, sign up, or otherwise convert right now. People on Twitter are already used to moving fast, so consider including phrases like “limited space” or “limited-time offers” to get your audience moving.
  • After care. If you’re asking your audience to act now, they need an idea of what to expect next and reassurance that they’ll be cared for if those expectations don’t pan out. What’s your company’s return policy? Are customers billed automatically? Make it easy for customers to access FAQs to encourage conversion.

How you measure success will vary greatly depending on your organization and industry, so bring your team together to decide which metrics mean the most to you. Consider metrics like link clicks, time on site, form completion, and similar indicators to track your progress. Adjust your content and your approach for the different social networks your brand uses. How you measure conversion success is going to depend largely on your goals and your defined metrics will help you know if you’re on the right track.

Create a content funnel map for your journey.

Hopefully, this post has inspired some on-brand content ideas for you or at least given you an idea of where to start. The next step, of course, is to create a campaign and map out your content funnel strategy from beginning to end. Remember to test your ratios; know the order of operations for your content; write like your customers talk; and have fun with it. With relevant content and clear goals and objectives, brands can successfully pull their customers through all stages of the content marketing funnel.

To learn more about which metrics and objectives support each phase of the content marketing funnel, check out the Sprout Social Social Media Metrics Map today.