There have been a number of studies in the past looking at Facebook and Twitter’s social media behaviour patterns. Yet, few have looked at the relationship between online behaviour and personality types. Marketers accept that people have different personalities online and have even tried to accommodate for this with using different forms of content and message styles in their social media campaigns. Yet even though most marketers intuitively know that social media personality types exist, most have not had any formalization of such personality types; simply using there best judgement and experience to guide them.
So, with the growing importance of social media for marketers and Brands, it was timely that a new in-depth study examining the relationship between personality and social media was released. From that study, it was revealed that users tend to fall into one of 10 different personality types. These 10 typologies captured a range of social behavioural types based on people’s online social media exchanges and views of themselves. Moreover, the research suggested that these personality types could be used to identify and predict social content that could facilitate or inhibit social media discourse depending on the mix and type of social personality types being engaged.
With more consumers preferring to research online and seek out information from others, it’s becoming increasingly important for brand marketers’ and businesses to gain as much insight as possible into the types of social media personalities people may adopt when being online.
1. The Social Athlete
Serious and quiet, interested in security and peaceful living. Extremely thorough, responsible, and dependable. Well-developed powers of concentration. Usually interested in supporting and promoting traditions and establishments. Well-organized and hard working, they work steadily towards pre-identified goals. They can usually accomplish any task once they have set their mind to it. Profile photos are head shots with informal dress in outdoor setting or behind desk in professional setting. Often has joined the maximum number of groups for each platform. There profiles are complete and they boarder on spammer for the number of daily tweets and posts.
2. The Social Luddite
Quiet and reserved, not interested in the latest and greatest tech-anything. Reluctant participant in the world of social media. Uncomplicated in their desires. Loyal to their peers and to their internal value systems. They excel at finding solutions to practical problems. Often no profile or profile photos
3. The Social Nurturer
Warm-hearted, popular, and conscientious. Usually puts the needs of others above their own needs. Stable and practical, feel strong sense of responsibility and duty. Value traditions and security. Interested in serving others. Need positive reinforcement to feel good about themselves. Well-developed sense of space and function. Profile photos are often animals (cats being the most common) or group photos with two attractive friends. Their posts are characterized with large numbers of smiley face emoticons and pictures depicting motivational sayings.
4. The Social Lazies
Quiet, reflective, and idealistic. Interested in running a online community and has many profiles. Social posting is characterized with a flurry of activity then after 1-2 weeks dwindles then stops. Well-developed value system, which they strive to live in accordance with. Adaptable and laid-back unless a strongly-held value is threatened. Usually talented writers. Mentally quick, and able to see possibilities. Interested in understanding and helping people. Profile photos are head shots with informal dress. Like to automate, using tools such as Hootsuite and schedule bulk posts.
5. The Social Geek
Independent, original, analytical, and determined. They have an exceptional ability to turn theories into solid plans of action. They value knowledge, competence, and structure. Driven to derive meaning from their visions. Long-range thinkers. Have very high standards for their performance, and the performance of others. Natural leaders, but will follow if they trust existing leaders. Profile photo is photoshop’ed and includes a Star Wars character, attractive girls, or tech CEO’s (such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates etc.).
6. The Social Doer
Friendly, adaptable, action-oriented. “Doers” who are focused on immediate results. Living in the here-and-now, they’re risk-takers who live fast-paced lifestyles. Impatient with long explanations. Extremely loyal to their peers, but not usually respectful of laws and rules if they get in the way of getting things done. Great people skills. Profile photo feature drunken escapades or extreme sports.
7. The Social Lurker
Practical, traditional, and organized. Likely to be reading posts. Not interested in engagement or participation with social media. However, has clear visions of the way things should be. Loyal and hard-working. Like to be in charge. Exceptionally capable in organizing and running activities. “Good citizens” who value security and peaceful living. Profile information is basic and photos are absent or use default image.
8. The Social Inspirer
Enthusiastic, idealistic, and creative. Able to do almost anything that interests them. Great people skills. Need to live life in accordance with their inner values. Excited by new ideas, but bored with details. Open-minded and flexible, with a broad range of interests and abilities. Often have the best personalized wall papers on their Twitter or Weibo pages. They like to speak at industry events to highlight how much they know.
9. The Social Ranter
Popular and sensitive, with outstanding people skills. Externally focused, with real concern for how others think and feel. Quick to share their ideas and beliefs, sometimes in as a single stream of information. They see everything from the human angle, and dislike impersonal analysis. Very effective at managing people issues and leading group discussions. Interested in serving others, and probably place the needs of others over their own needs. Often found with all major environmental interest groups linked to their social accounts. Sometimes known as the soapbox hero.
10. The Social Visionary
Creative, resourceful, and intellectually quick. Good at a broad range of things. Enjoy debating issues, and may be into “one-up-manship”. They get very excited about new ideas and projects, but may neglect the more routine aspects of life. Generally outspoken and assertive. They enjoy people and are stimulating company. Excellent ability to understand concepts and apply logic to find solutions. Their numbers of fans and followers is important.
IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS & MARKETERS
A lot of social media users will be exhibiting a combination of some of these social media consumer personalities on various days or times. Additionally, between the major social networks, (like Facebook, Twitter, Sina Weibo) users may also reveal different personality traits. Building and maintaining relationships online through social media networks is becoming increasingly different to real live relationships. For organisations, this is an important fact to consider, as people tend to behave in a variety of ways on social media channels. Getting to know people and identifying the consumer behaviour of potential target groups on Facebook, Twitter, Sina Weibo, WeChat etc. is crucial but it is also difficult to establish. However, businesses that know how to classify the personality types of their followers will certainly benefit and ensure to have a more efficient social media and content strategy.
Author: Dr. Mathew McDougall
Although a native of Australia, Dr. Mathew McDougall has been involved in the Chinese Internet and media industries for nearly ten years. Dr. McDougall is the founder and CEO of Digital Jungle, a leading Chinese digital marketing Agency.
Digital Jungle was established to capitalize on the shift in advertising spend moving from offline to online and where social media and search marketing was attracting a significant amount of interest. Additionally, Dr. McDougall recognized that many digital Agencies at that time were unable to understand the Chinese social media dynamics and effectively engage in online campaigns that had social influence goals at their core.
Prior to Digital Jungle, Dr. McDougall founded SinoTech Group, a social media analytics and consulting company.
Dr. McDougall is a renowned expert on digital marketing, recognized for his published articles, his frequent speaking engagements, as well as his prestigious consulting and teaching programs. His books include, “The Chinese Social Media Universe” & “The Chinese Search Market”.