3 Not-So-New Social Behaviors of the Digital Buyer Persona

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I was in a mall recently and couldn’t help notice the banners boldly announcing to follow the mall on Facebook and Twitter.  Social communities are ebbing their way into the conscious minds of all buyers in many facets be it consumer or B2B.   I have to admit, I stared at the banner incredulously.  As in – why would I ever want to “follow” the mall?  The lures of coupons were proclaimed.  Another was to find out what was happening at the mall.  In a funny way I began to wonder if anything new was really happening here and the fixation on social communities perhaps making us miss something. 

It prompted me to think of three buyer behaviors that social communities are making more transparent today:

  1. Deal checking:  Social communities are becoming another place to check for deals.  I believe this is the type of behavior that companies jumping on the bandwagon are actually encouraging.  Not sure what to really do with social communities but feeling the pressure to do something, coupons are becoming a prevalent part of social communities like Facebook.  They may be in printable form or as simple as come into our location and mention you saw it on Facebook.  Communities like Facebook are becoming another place for consumers and buyers to “check” for deals, discounts, savings, and etc.
  2. What’s happening:  I’m sure you’ve seen those sneakered walkers at the mall blazing through laps around the entire mall.  A community among themselves walking past shoppers without a blink of the eye.  On this particular day at the mall there was an arts and craft show going on.  Communities like Facebook are becoming a hub for finding out what is happening at a place of interest.  In the B2B world, there are many conferences I would love to attend.  Although I am missing the opportunity to interact directly with people, social communities and blogging has made it possible to “attend” these conferences virtually.  As people, we generally like to know what is happening and what people are doing.  If I am a “mall blazer”, I just might like to find out when the group of people meet up to start tearing up laps around the mall.
  3. What people are saying:  We like to know what people are saying.  We may not think of Amazon as a social community but I think it is.  I was on the site recently to purchase a gift in electronics.  Of course I looked at most of the comments, what people had to say, Amazon’s charts, comparisons, and etc.  Social communities are becoming another source to get a sense of what people are saying.   People search for reasons to “like” or not “like” what they may be considering based on what people are saying.

These behaviors are not-so-new.  Since the early days of the marketplace, people have gone to bargain for deals, find out what is happening in the community, and to hear what people are saying.  These thoughts as I write evoke the memory of my mother who laboriously scoured the newspaper and cut out every available coupon before heading out to go shopping.  And, shopping was an event for us.  We would meet neighbors, talk, go to the bakery for a treat and etc.  Other words to use one of the new descriptors in social media conversations these days – we would “engage” with the community.

What social communities have done for the digital buyer persona is make these behaviors more transparent and accessible. These behavioral factors in of themselves will not make a complete holistic picture of a digital buyer persona but they will contribute to the understanding that can accompany qualitative and experiential analysis.

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