The Secrets of Social Media: Using Behavior to Reveal Purchasing Patterns

Our buyers are changing and they are changing the buying patterns that we traditionally encountered. The fact that all buyers will display certain specific behaviors that are unique to them, and that we can then use this information to predict their personal purchasing patterns, is something considerably more advanced than generalizations. What is even more interesting is that we now have the ability to apply these methodologies within the environment of social media.

Behaviors are considered to be visible. In terms of evaluating the behaviors in others, these clues come from what we can see and what we can hear. Certainly, in this sense, primary behaviors can be closely aligned with how that individual will prefer to communicate and, particularly in sales, how best to communicate with that individual in order to achieve the desired results. Maybe results like … securing the sale and, these same behaviors do provide the needed clues for predicting purchasing patterns. For our purposes, behaviors and communication styles are interchangeable terms.

This is accomplished through a three-step process whereby we …

1.    Come to understand our own behaviors and tendencies
2.    Learn to assess behaviors in others
3.    Adapt our messages to best connect with others based on their displayed behaviors

The transition of these practices from real-life to social media is really not that difficult. We can see updates and, if we try hard enough, we can even hear them. While this topic really requires a much more in-depth discussion than we can even hope to completely address in this article, here are some quick tips to assess the four behavioral styles, determine their buying patterns, and how to adapt our messages in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. Please note: very few people will display only one style and multiple styles with high ratings will naturally blend (soften) with each other.

Start bullets

  • Dominance – This individual will operate at a fast pace (extrovert) and will be task focused. Those who rank high in this factor will be seen as hard-drivers who are results oriented. Their biggest fear is being taken advantage of. You will most likely find them on LinkedIn. Their updates will be task focused and generally short. They are motivated by being in control, power, & bottom-line results. They are irritated by time wasting & excessive details.
  • Words and ideas that work for high Dominance: win, lead the field, results, now, new, and challenge. Words and ideas that don’t work: follow my directions, in my opinion, and frequent interruptions
  • Dominance Purchasing Pattern: They will decide quickly and they do like expensive items.
  • Influence – Will operate at a fast pace (extrovert) but will be relationship focused. These folks are the “peacocks” and their updates will likely say … “look at me”. They like stylish items and will be want to make sure that any buying decision will reflect positively on them. Their biggest fear is social rejection. Find them on Facebook and Twitter. Expect fun updates and fun photos including many of them. They are motivated by status, visibility, and recognition. They are irritated by systematic & formal structure.
  • Words and ideas that work for high Influence: fun, exciting, I feel…, sociable, and “this will make you look good”. Words and ideas that don’t work: theoretically, sophisticated, requires study, and “the same for everyone”.
  • Influence Purchasing Pattern: While they will decide quickly, they will also reverse a decision just as fast so take care to not get “unhooked.”
  • Steadiness – Prefers to operate at a slow pace (introvert) and will be relationship focused. If your product or service is the “latest thing”, be sure to temper your statements with supporting facts and offer to guide them personally through the process before, during, and after the sale. Their largest fear is lack of security. Expect to see them on Facebook with select family and friends. Their updates will reflect their focus … close relationships. They are motivated by family relationships, team-building, absence of conflict, & security. They are irritated by attempts to secure immediate acceptance.
  • Words and ideas that work for high Steadiness: step-by-step, help me out, guarantee, promise, and “think about it”. Words and ideas that don’t work: substantive change, innovation, and “play to win”.
  • Steadiness Purchasing Pattern: They will decide slowly and will request plans prior to change.
  • Compliance – Will display a slow pace (introvert) and will be task focused. They are motivated by “makes sense”, logical, secure, & pride in their work. They are irritated by excessive charm and their biggest fear is criticism of their work. Good networks will be LinkedIn and Google+ and their updates may be lengthy and factual in nature.
  • Words and ideas that work for high Compliance: here are the facts, no risk, proven, analysis, and guaranteed. Words and ideas that don’t work: untested, cutting edge, educated guess, and experimental.
  • Compliance Purchasing Pattern: They will decide slowly and require proof prior to change.

Start with this: Identify and match your prospect/client’s pace and focus. This is applicable for both social media and real life. People buy from those who they like, trust, and respect and who do we like and trust? We like and trust those people who we perceive to be much like ourselves.

Put your knowledge to work! What social tool or tools might we best use in helping us to determine these behaviors in others and then engage with them? As a Solution Partner for Nimble I would strongly suggest that you begin there. People talk a lot about social dashboards. Nimble is uniquely positioned as a social dashboard and a damn nice one, that just happens to reside in a CRM.

When working with a prospect or client, and if you want to be able to leverage social media to help you in determining behaviors and buying patterns, you are going to need to address a number of critical elements and one of those is focus. From within a contact record on Nimble, I can see all of my clients’ social profiles and activities (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and FourSquare) without having to jump from one service to another. From this stationary position, I can also engage with that person on any of these networks. That’s powerful!