Anatomy of a Social Buyer

Anatomy of a Social Buyer: Use Social Media Optimization to Understand Your Customer & Get Sales

Social media optimization is a known business necessity. Owners understand that for their venture to withstand the competition and survive in the current economic environment, they need to be on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. They need to update fan pages, upload photos, and interact with their audience. After all, 67% of all Internet users use social networks, according to Pew Internet research. Indeed no online marketing strategy is ever complete without it. But at the end of the day, its sales—not likes, retweets, or repins—that keep the business going. So the question now is…

“Do businesses actually get sales from social media?”

Social: Vast Network of Networks

Despite doubts clouding social’s power to keep the cash register ringing, business still believe in conducting marketing via social networks. In fact, 83% of marketers surveyed by Social Media Examiner consider social media as important for their business. The same source found that 59% or marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week.

As for which site is considered most critical to business, 42% of marketers asked by HubSpot for the State of Inbound Marketing report voted Facebook as their choice. Some 80% of U.S. social network users prefer to connect to brands through it.

Apart from Facebook, which now has 1.11 billion monthly active users; marketers also cited Twitter and Pinterest. According to a study by Edison Research, 51% of active Twitter users follow companies, brands, or products on social networks. Pinterest, on the other hand, is ranked by Experian as the third most popular social network in the U.S., based on traffic. Google’s very own Google+ is continuously growing with 359 million monthly active users. Then, there’s YouTube, LinkedIn and other popular sites.

So, Do Social Users Actually Buy?

Some 43% of social users actually do buy. The purchases happened after conducting some form of social action on the item, like sharing and favoriting, says global research provider, Vision Critical. Broken down by site, Facebook appears to be the best platform to drive sales as 38% of its users have purchased an item after liking and sharing it. Pinterest ranks second with 29% of users saying they have purchased an item.  Twitter was third with 22%.  Social sites can drive both online and offline sales.

What do they buy? Recent social-inspired purchases by users fall mostly under technology and electronics, with the category accounting for 34% of sales driven by Twitter and 25% by Facebook. As for Pinterest, the top category was food and drink (24%).

Which type of retail store or site did they buy from? Facebook users mostly purchased from a discount retailer (43%) and supermarket (18%). Discount retailer also ranked first for Twitter (31%) and Pinterest (26%). Twitter users also bought from a department store (31%) while Pinterest users purchased from a specialty retailer (21%).

The Social Buyer: Dissected & Analyzed

The social buyer exists, and is mostly (51%) between the age of 18 and 34. The 35-54 age group represents 34% of social purchasers while the 55+ age group accounts for the remaining 15% or so. Divided by sex, 56% are male and 44% are female.

The demographics change when mobile comes into the picture. The ratio between males and females further favors males, 69:31. The 18-34 age group grows to 68% of the total number of social purchasers using mobile. Facebook (43%) and Pinterest (38%) purchases are mostly not mobile but 35% of Twitter-driven purchases are purely mobile.

So what’s inside the mind of a social buyer? A whopping 70% of Twitter user-purchasers said they were “vaguely” thinking about purchasing the product at the time they bought it. Facebook (60%) and Pinterest (49%) users had the same mindset when they bought a product, adds Vision Critical. The difference surfaces in buyers who “had not thought about purchasing this product” when they bought it. Only 9% of Twitter user-purchasers fall under this group while the figure is 16% for Facebook. Pinterest appears to be the best site for unplanned purchases as 29% their social buyers weren’t even thinking about buying such item when purchased it.

Social Buyers Leave Reviews, Refer Friends and Grow Your Reputation

Whenever you have satisfied your purchaser with your product or service, particularly if it involves a high degree of trust, you owe it to yourself to ASK those satisfied purchasers to give you a Review which you can display on your website and on your social media sites like Facebook and Google +.  As a result, your online reputation will grow and help prospective purchasers form a positive reaction about you.

If these Reviews are from their friends, then the prospective purchaser will have a very warm predisposition towards you and is more than likely to purchase your product or service.   Nearly 80% of purchasers rely on Reviews and Referrals from their friends in formulating their purchase decisions.  Your reputation and referrals from friends are very important.

A 2010 Economics of Loyalty study performed by Advisor Impact and Vanguard in USA found that in the financial services industry 83% of satisfied customers reported a willingness to recommend services to others but only 29% of customers actually did so.  The reason is that these customers were not asked to refer these services.  Asking for referrals is crucial – they won’t happen otherwise and their satisfaction with you will remain a secret.

How to Appeal to Your Social Buyer

Use a Specific Network’s Purchasing Influence – Auto posting the same exact stuff on all your social accounts is not the best way to approach social media. If you want to get social-inspired sales, you must understand how a particular network or social website influences a customer’s purchase decision. For example, 43% of Pinterest purchasers said they were influenced by the “additional information on the product,” according to Vision Critical. This means Pinterest is a great choice when providing product details, reviews and recommendations, different models, etc.

For identifying where prospects can purchase the product, 38% of buyers used Twitter. When alerting to a sale or deal, 37% credited Facebook and 32% Twitter. Some 32% got reminders to purchase through Twitter. But when it comes to providing a coupon code, the race is tight between Facebook (18%), Pinterest (14%), and Twitter (18%). The product discovery contest is also close: Facebook (31%), Pinterest (35%), and Twitter (35%).

Network Where Your Targets Are – Leading data firm comScore estimates 80% of Pinterest users are female. Repinly, an online pin directory, says the most popular Pinterest categories are as follows: food & drink, DIY and crafts, women’s apparel, and home décor. Head over to Google+ and the world turns upside down. According to SocialStatistics, nearly 87% of Google+ users are male. Students, early adopters, and engineers are some of the biggest groups. Go to LinkedIn and you’ll find a healthy balance of professionals from both sexes.

Facebook has an audience search capability that enables you to very accurately define your target audience so you can use Facebook ads to target only that audience with great results.  Facebook newsfeed ads are very effective and low cost in generating sales.

The idea is to analyze which site best suits your target market’s profile and then start your social media optimization campaign in that network. This strategy gives your marketing focus and maximizes results.

Get Started in Focused Social Media Today – You can use social media optimization not just to get a legion of followers, but also to generate sales; a fact that’s already been proven across multiple industries worldwide. The best approach right now is to get started—if you haven’t already—and give it focus to ensure you influence social buyers to purchase your products and avail of your services today. We can help you or do it for you.

Email us at chris@PattersonDigitalMarketing.com or call us now at (09) 449 1005 or (027) 489 5009 so we can provide you with a free in-depth consultation on social media optimization, attracting social purchasers, understanding your customer and generating more sales from social networks.

Chris Kirkham