The Anatomy of a Social Customer

A social customer is any man, woman and child who is actively using any form of social media. According to a survey conducted in August 2015 by the number of active users is a staggering 2.2 billion people globally, or approximately 30% of the world’s population.

The widespread, global adoption of social media has altered the way customers are communicating with businesses and has facilitated the shift of a business-centric marketplace to a customer-centric one. Your once static patrons have become more dynamic and much more verbal than the customers that helped build your business. This new breed of customer is shaping and, more often than not, leading the way we market our businesses, products and services.

Are you aware of the defining characteristics of Social Customers?

  • They are hyper-connected – The smartphone, tablet and even the Apple Watch are the new constant companions of this group. The Social Customer treats a smartphone more like a pocket-sized computer than a phone.
  • They readily reach out to peers and influencers – Social media gives customers widespread access to the opinions and experiences of their family and friends – the people they trust. Let’s be honest, people care about what others think and certainly like to draw upon the past experiences of those they know. So if many of their friends tell the Social Customer they love a particular product, the customer will be a bit more inclined to buy it.
  • They are constantly researching – The good, the bad and the ugly are widely available for your new customer to research and review. Review sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google My Business and similar sites offer customers the opportunity to voice their praises and complaints of a product, service or business for future customers to read and evaluate.
  • They are sharing what they think of you – It’s not uncommon for Social Customers to use the very sites where they researched your business to also trumpet their thoughts about your business. The beauty of many of these tools is your ability to respond to these questions, comments and concerns to share the company’s viewpoint.
  • They expect brands to be responsive – Due to the real-time nature of social media and the precedent set by many businesses of near instant response to customer feedback, many Social Customers are expecting the same of all brands they patron. They want the information and response they desire when they want it.

Keep in mind these are general characteristics. Each industry and sector will have niche demographics specific to its audience. Don’t let this untethered communication access get the best of you. Focused research, a strong strategy and a dedicated effort on the part of the business will assist with interacting with the Social Customer at the speed of social media!

The way we communicate with current and potential customers has been revolutionized. Social Customers are at the helm and businesses need to have their proverbial finger on the pulse of what’s driving their audience.

What strategy have you developed or steps are you taking to learn about the characteristics, preferences and behaviors of your Social Customers?