How to Influence Your Customers Online

By Jonathan Fitchew, Founder and CEO, Pareto Law
A bright computer screen shows a megaphone with cards and coins around it.

The rise of social media has heralded a seismic shift in how brands connect with their customers and how they sell products and services to them. Online audiences no longer want to be sold to in the traditional sense and are instead often influenced by those who have a regular voice on social media.

It’s something brands can learn from, too, when using social media. Recent research from Pareto Law identified a clear set of sales persona strategies – laying out how different types of sellers interact with their audiences online to push through sales on a more personalized platform. These personas show how individuals who are extremely influential online can motivate people to buy into products and services without a traditional sales pitch.

Social Selling Personas

Pareto was inspired to carry out its study following research published in Harvard Business Review, which identified eight types of traditional salespeople, including closers, experts, and storytellers. Building on this, the traits were examined to see if they could be linked to a more social media-centric world.

The recruitment firm analyzed 100 of the most successful social influencers, operating across 14 different industries – looking into the content formats, content themes, and language they use when promoting products and storytelling. From this, a new persona model for social media sales was created, giving brands an insight into how to sell online.

The social selling personas included the following:

The Promoter: Energetic and enthusiastic – using positive, bold words like “huge” and “great” – the Promoter is a natural leader and an innovator. Making up 49 percent of influencers analyzed, they include Richard Branson and Sheryl Sandberg among their ranks. They can often be found working in technology and business and make use of inspiring language to connect with their audience and make them feel like they want to buy into an idea.

The Nurturer: Inspired by family values, the Nurturer typically is kind in all interactions, placing high importance on friends and loyalty. They’re great relationship builders and naturally adept at social selling, simply by their ability to connect on an emotional level. Using emotive language such as “support” and “grateful” in their social posts is key to their success.

The Maverick: The Maverick is a divisive persona. Mavericks are natural risk-takers in their approach to selling, speaking their mind, and are often found in public-facing roles. Donald Trump and Jeremy Clarkson are two of the most high-profile Mavericks, best exemplified by their ability to ruffle feathers to get noticed – their biggest goal.

Influential Tips to Improve Sales through Social
The ability to build relationships is central to sales success – and social media is a powerful tool to find success in this regard. It enables salespeople to connect directly and instantly with a large audience, creating lasting relationships that keep people coming back.

Next, consider your tone of voice and online persona. It needs to be consistent across all platforms, resonate with your stakeholders, and fit your brand personality. But what do you want to say? Social media is about engagement, so you need to tap into your audience and determine what they want and how best to connect with them. For inspiration, examine what your competitors, industry bodies, and the media are talking about.

Selling to customers in a social media world can be a challenge; but, if you identify what your audience wants, how to connect with them, and how to use language to best effect, you open the door to great social sales success.

Jonathan Fitchew is the founder and CEO of Pareto Law, the UK’s largest sales training and recruitment company.