Peacock or Lurker: Who Are You Selling To?

With over 2.2 billion people actively using social media, it’s important to be able to identify the type of user you’re speaking to. Knowing potential clients’ personality types is just as important online as it is offline. By understanding user psychology, you will know what makes people tick

You’ll be able to identify their motivations and pinpoint their preferred means of communication. Engagement will increase because you’ll know which activities engage specific people and will understand how they, in turn, influence others. Let’s take a look at the six different personality types that exist in today’s social media world.

The peacocks are the selfie queens who are known for daily updates and for posting photos of their material things on social media. Their clothing, their homes, and even the restaurants they eat at are made to be a reflection of their identity. They are competitive in nature and often very successful because of it. The peacocks work to collect followers because, for them, life is a little bit like a popularity contest and they’re constantly networking to be seen. Peacocks want to know what’s in it for them and how your product will elevate their status. Avoid deep conversations as peacocks are not online to build lifetime relationships. Do gain their trust though by liking, sharing, and re-tweeting their posts to prove your own value. 
Ex) The Kardashians are possibly the most-famous and well-suited example of the peacock personality type. Their content is posted for the sole purpose of garnering attention and forming a brand identity. 

The activists are the type of people who share their opinions on every news story and aren’t afraid to air dirty laundry. Face-to-face they may be mild in demeanor, but online they are very opinionated, externally focused, quick to share, and always involved in the latest campaigns. Activists may come across too intense at times, but they’re almost always well-meaning and sincere. When dealing with activists, sell how your brand and product is making a difference, bigger picture. Connect through their causes. If these users have a negative experience, they will be quick to share with their circles. Their word of mouth has influence so always follow-up to ensure a positive review.

Example: Pamela Anderson is famous for many things, possibly the most important of which being taking on the role of a social media activist. Known as a huge animal right supporter, she often goes on Twitter rants preaching the importance of veganism and conserving the ocean. While she has been criticized for coming across as condescending, she aims to create a better world by voicing herself on social media. 

The social nurturers are the lovers of animals, babies, large group photos, and often use emojis. They are warm-hearted, popular, conscientious, responsible, and value traditions and security. Social nurturers need to feel that warm, human connection with what you’re selling. Appeal to their emotions while still offering details of what your product can do for them and what problem it solves.

Example: Ellen DeGeneres encompasses so many traits of the social nurturer. Through her show and her social media, she posts content with the intent to make her audience feel good. Videos of animals, features on children, and light-hearted fun, leave her followers feeling positive.

The inspirers are the enthusiastic, creative, idealistic, open-minded people who have a broad range of interests. They have a large number of followers and connections and typically have their own blogs. Inspirers are early adopters and want your product before everyone else has it. Spare the details and share the excitement in what you’re offering. Offer cultural benefits of services, rather than logical aspects. Brands that create buzz appeal to the inspirer, along with viral campaigns and sneak peeks of new services.

Example: Almost everyone has heard of the blogger powerhouse Perez Hilton. He jumped on blogging long before it became popular, and created his own style of journalism to attract and hold the attention of readers, earning him $200-$400k per month in revenue.

The doers are the action-oriented type who live in the now and are focused on immediate results. Their posts are usually of extreme sports and nights out. They are loyal, adaptable, and have great people skills, but have a disregard for norms and rules. The doers want to know what your product will do and the problem it will solve, without hearing long explanations of features - they want the elevator pitch. Videos appeal to these users, so try quick product demonstrations or posts with an emphasis on visuals. Show, don’t tell.

Example: Richard Branson is just as famous for being an adventurer and extremist, as he is for being a man of business. A large part of his success has come from doing this differently and not playing by the usual rules. His social media is covered with photos of extreme sports and far-off vacations. 

The lurkers are the practical, traditional type who value security and are hard-working. Known as “good citizens,” they are extremely loyal and like to be in charge although they are impressionable. On social media, they likely have had the same profile photo for years, and prefer reading posts rather than making them. The lurkers like to watch. They pay attention to every post, and if they take a liking to you, will be a loyal client. To win them over, sell aspects of authenticity, safety, privacy, and security. Take care in nurturing this relationship over time.

According to leading social marketing strategist, Ted Rubin, many people on social media are lurkers. Though they are not visibly active, he says that “they do participate… it is just vicariously via those who do engage and interact.”

People work with those they know, like, and trust. Once you have established a clients’ personality type, you have the tools to better understand them, build rapport, and eventually introduce them to your products. Share posts that appeal to them, include content that they want to see, quickly solve their problems, and include your unique selling features. By doing so, you will build valuable client relationships that bring you business again and again.

Sarah Pearce is a business coach, author, and speaker.