Most consumers make hundreds of small decisions every day. They decide what to wear, where to go, what to watch, what to eat, how to work, and most importantly to you, what to buy. Understanding what encourages them to buy one product or service over another can be critical to making sure that they choose you over a competitor. The buying decision is rarely one single act—it is usually a buildup of several different decisions, some of which you can control and some of which you cannot. If you want to make the most out of your opportunities to sell, you are going to want to learn as much about your buyers as possible. Here are some tips for using social media to better understand your buyers:

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What kind of content do they share?

One of the best ways to see what kind of person your buyer is, is to look at what kind of content they share on their profile. Do they mainly share funny cat videos? Or do they share articles from The New York Times? Obviously, one person can do both of those things, but, for example, if you went to your own social media account and scroll through the things you’ve linked to or posted, what could you learn about your likes and dislikes, what might sway you towards buying something? Many users today don’t even realize that they are sharing branded content, because all they are really looking for is valuable, entertaining, and engaging content. Looking at what kind of content they are already interested in will give you insight into what you can create that will attract them to your brand, over another brand they might be considering.

What kinds of content formats do they prefer?

For example, do they primarily share videos or do they prefer to share articles? Some users will be turned off by the overload of videos on social media and will only share articles. Others will share each and every video that they find on their feed. Not only can you use this information to better understand what format of content might be the most valuable for you as a content creator for your brand, you can also make inferences about the kind of person that buyer is based on what formats they prefer. For example, most young people prefer visual formats, like videos or images. On the other end of the spectrum, most older people prefer writer formats. And while this isn’t necessarily one hundred percent true across the board, it is a good way to get a peek at what kinds of content your buyers are more likely to respond to and what you can deduct about the kind of people they are based on that information.

What do they complain about?

If you looked at my social media page, for example, you would likely see me complaining about brands that do not respond to my inquiries in a timely manner. If I ask a question of a brand, I expect to be answered within a couple of days, or I assume that that brand does not care about me and my concerns about a product or how long shipping is taking, etc. You would then make the inference that as a consumer, I expect brands to respond to questions or concerns fairly rapidly. If I was one of your buyers, you would now have in insight into what I expect from the brands that I deal with. You would likely also see me complaining about how difficult products are to find on some webpages, how difficult ordering is, etc., etc. All of this sort of information could be used to understand how to craft an offer and a website that I would easily be able to order from.

What do they commiserate about?

While you might feel a little creepy slowly scanning through their posts and conversations with friends, this can be a great opportunity to see what their interests are and what makes them engage with a post that someone else makes.

Looking at what they like and comment on of their friends’ posts can tell you what kinds of posts they are likely to like and comment on. Of course, there is a divide between how people engage with their friends on social media and how they engage with a business, if they enjoy engaging in lively, friendly discussions about controversial topics with their friends, this is a good indication that they’ll enjoy engaging in those kinds of conversations with a brand, as long as the topic is on-brand for that company.

Learning as much as you can about your buyers is the key to being as successful as possible when selling to them. Click to Tweet

Learning as much as you can about your buyers is the key to being as successful as possible when selling to them. It’s how you’ll know what kind of social media posts to make, what kind of content to post to your blog, what kind of content and website to develop for your brand, etc. Only when you really know the mind of your buyer can you bend it in your favor. Social media offers up a wealth of information that you can access even if you do not yet have a business account.

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