Use Platforms As The First Step To Your Customer Journey

In my last post, I wrote about how people have limited capacity in choices. It is hard to expect people to download your specific business or consumer application when it is much simpler for them to visit just a few and see the majority of what they need.

Instead of expecting to be one of the chosen, embrace the different platforms available to your brand category with the goal of the best experience over the evolution of consumption and brand awareness.

In the day of information overload, join the crowd on the platform - just do it better than the others.

Evolution of Customer Experience

For new businesses, it is how you get your brand attention or may be the platform that truly enables you start your own business (think Uber and Etsy). For existing businesses like Playboy which removed nudity to conform to platform rules,  it is how you adapt and stay relevant to your audience. Once the user connects to your brand, consider how you convert them with a consistent user experience, and ultimately convert them to a loyal advocate.

Let’s follow a few personal stories with three simple steps of the customer experience; connect, convert, and keep.

Brand Recognition & Relevance: Connect

As a business, the Platform is clearly a great tool to connect with customers. Conform or be left behind. For consumers, it is how you find the hottest new trends either within your career or personal interest.

Feedly is one of my favorite platforms for content consumption. I can easily read articles related to technology and UCaaS that support my role as a Product leader, about fashion trends of my interest, or those that intersect the two passions. It is my one stop shop to connect to brands and continually stay relevant.

Upon first use of Feedly, I chose categories like Business, Entrepreneurship, Tech, Inspiration, and Fashion. I became most interested in Fashion when I moved to NYC almost four years ago from Chicago. Outside of a few new brands, I mostly only knew mainstream brands with large online presence and brick and mortar stores. That is, until I was introduced to ‘The Blonde Salad’ through the Fashion section of Feedly.

Since I am one year shy of the ‘Millennial’ label, Facebook had been my choice of platforms until a few years ago when I started using Instagram more frequently. Since I learned about ‘The Blonde Salad’ on Feedly, I started to follow Chiara Ferragni. Chiara Ferragni is the woman behind ‘The Blonde Salad’. Through her blog, she has successfully built a business (TBS Crew - The Blonde Salad Crew), created a million dollar brand (Chiara Ferragni Shoe Collection), HBR first blogcase study was on her, is recognized as one of the Business Of Fashion 500influencers, and more! 

Needless to say, Chiara and her brand were successful in connecting with me through the combination of Feedly, Instagram, and Facebook.

When you continue to deliver consistent content and messaging that supports your brand image, it is the first step to convert the audience.

User Awareness: Convert

Once users are aware of your brand, it is important to deliver a consistent user experience across different platforms. It is your opportunity to convert them to a paying customer.

Chiara does exactly that - she delivers consistent and relevant content to her audience of more than 4 million followers on Instagram alone. Feedly, Facebook, and Instagram follow the same posting schedule with just the right amount of variation. She publishes a healthy balance of publicity for other brands while marketing her own shoe collection. Obviously, I have purchased a few of her shoes…

PSFK is another example of a website that delivers content across platforms consistently well. After learning about them on Feedly, reading them via Pocket on the Subway, they successfully converted me as a loyal reader when I purchased tickets to their ‘Future of Retail’ event in NYC - which was a fantastic!

Not only is consistency of content across platforms key, you absolutely must be certain that your integration works flawlessly or you will do more harm to your brand. Incorporate platform regression tests with every release to be aware of the exact user experience across platforms.

As shared in my last post, Forbes has an area to improve related to functionality - as in it doesn’t work when you transfer it from Feedly to Pocket. Due to this bug in their integration, I no longer read Forbes articles. A nice quote on your landing page is fine if it doesn’t interfere with the ability to actually read your content. On the other hand, think if it really creates value or is just noise on the page annoying the user.

Once you convert the customer from doing well in the right areas, keep up the good work to gain a loyal one.

Loyal Consumer: Keep

If you do it well enough and win their loyalty, they should prefer to go direct to your website or application. At that point, your brand can even influence complementary brands - similar to the loyal following that Salesforce and Google attract with their App Exchange.

When a consumer chooses applications and complementary products based on your brand, they are the ultimate loyal and sticky customer.  I personally don’t like malls or departments stores whether it is online or brick and mortar - way too many options. Instead, I find brands that I prefer, go direct and stick to them. I don’t see the need to buy the brand from a department store when I am happy with their personal service. Just like frequent flyer miles, being loyal to brands has its perks.

As a loyal customer, I trust the recommendations of my chosen brands; Alice & Olivia, Tory Burch, and Chiara Ferragni. While Chiara Ferragni was the only one I truly discovered on a platform vs. a visit to the store, each of them personally posts favorites on Instagram. It is a bonus when they also interact personally with you via comments. Brand referral compensation businesses like RewardStylemake that loyalty even more valuable to the brand.

Now that platforms like Instagram enable us to learn about international brands, and platforms like Farfetch do a great job sourcing them, the next problem to solve are the international shipping tariffs…

Which brands did you learn about through a platform? How did they connect, convert, and keep you as a customer?

Yours Truly,

Randa Green

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