The Articulation phase of the L.E.A.D. social media strategy is also a transition phase. It is transitional because during this phase you will shift from being a content consumer and commenter into a content producer. The articulation phase is about generating content that fulfills the customers’ need for relevant information and details about your products or services. During the articulation phase, your goal is to drive demand for your services by influencing them to use what it is that you offer. This phase is the most challenging for most because of the content production requirement. It is, however, also one of the most important steps because it confirms what you have learned during the listening and engagement phases and provides a framework for future engagement with potential customers.
To better understand the role that articulation plays in the social media cycle, you first have to understand the three phases of the marketing funnel. The marketing funnel consists of:
- Awareness: This is a research phase. The customer is looking for a solution to their problem (whether it is something to do while on vacation, or where to stay) but is not sure what service to use or where to go. This research will include reading blogs, reviewing websites, reading news and potentially discussing options on-line. The more you participate in the arenas where this research will occur, the more awareness you will build about your brand.
- Consideration: During this phase the customer has defined some parameters around the solution that they want and is now considering which ones to use. During this phase, it is essential that you provide all the information possible to help the customer make the decision to choose your service over your competitors. This may include things like providing a competitive analysis or chart, outlining your features in detail, a video introduction, slide show presentation, tips or howtos, or perhaps even a personal contact.
- Action: Once the customer has decided to use your service, make sure that there is a clear call to action and that it is measurable. If the action is to book a tour or hotel room, then make that clear and make it easy for the customer to do so. If you want to drive the customer to a call, then make that obvious and use a phone number that can be tracked to web referrals.
Your articulation objectives are to:
- Write content that helps to influence the customer to do business with you.
- Provide the customer with information that will help them choose a strategy that aligns with your business offering (whether or not it is with you).
- Provide your potential customers with all the information they need to make a purchasing decision with you.
- Give the potential customer the customer service experience that they have come to expect from the materials you have provided for them.
Now that you have a better understanding of what the articulation phase is all about and what your expectations are, we can look at what tools and services you might want to consider using to increase your chances of success.