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Which Type of Social Media User Are You?

With more than 900 million users in eight years, I think we can safely say that social media reached critical mass at a rate much faster than anyone expected. As a result it has become imperative for organizations to understand and take advantage of this new channel. As I’m sure most of you are aware this isn’t easy. Trying to understand if all of your Facebook likes are being driven by brand engagement and loyalty, versus coming from one-off promotions isn’t simple or easy. As it stands today, no single customer engagement channel can deliver marketers a complete picture of customer behavior. Facebook knows who your friends are, but not what you buy. Google knows what you’re interested in, but not what you’ve done. Foursquare knows where you are, but not what you like. How are marketers to create engaging campaigns if they only have half the picture?

Today’s marketers have to shift away from measuring success in the form of likes, tweets, followers and recommendations. According to a report, Staring at the Sun: Identifying, Understanding and Influencing Social Media Users, published by global loyalty management leader, Aimia, “Marketers must define success not by social media activity, but rather by customer value and engagement.” No longer is this something that only the community managers are saying. In fact a 2011 IBM CMO study revealed that social media engagement is a top priority for CMOs. However according to the report, “Most CMOs consider social media as a tool to build loyalty, rather than as an end in itself.” The challenge then for marketers will be linking social media data points to the customer loyalty lifecycle.

IBM CMO study

According to the Aimia report, “Marketers often struggle to understand the true motivations and purchasing intent behind customers’ social media activity. Proper segmentation allows marketers to appropriately identify, understand and influence customers through social channels.”

6 Social Media Personas

Aimia has identified six different social media personas in an attempt to help marketers maximize their brand’s social media engagement.

  • No Shows – According to their research, No Shows, surprisingly enough, are 41% of the total US population. No Shows are those that have not logged on to a social network in the last thirty days. They are typically a “65-plus male” and are concerned about the level of data social media sites collect about them. They have absolutely “no interest in broadcasting his activities or interests to anyone.”
  • Newcomers – Constituting 15% of the US population, these are typically passive users. They primarily stick to one social network. A Newcomer may reluctantly join Facebook in order to “keep up with the Joneses.” They usually use social media sites as a means to enhance their offline relationships.
  • Onlookers – At about 16% of the US adult population, Onlookers may lurk on several different social media networks. They tend to post infrequently, and rely on social media to primarily keep up with the online lives of others. Onlookers tend to be reluctant to post about themselves, and they want complete control of their online reputation.
  • Cliquers – Making up about 6% of the population, Cliquers are active single-network users who tend to congregate on Facebook. They are typically women, and most of their online sharing consists of photos, status updates, and comments. Within their small network of close friends they are highly influential to them.
  • Sparks – Only 3% of the US adult population, Sparks are the most active and engaged users. They use social media as a means of self-expression. While Sparks are still concerned about online privacy, they work to control the online conversation. They typically are the most open of the six personas on social networks. They frequently engage with brands and will serve as enthusiastic brand ambassadors for their favorites.

6 Personas

What does this Mean?

This means that the old model of building customer loyalty post-transaction is giving way to a more relationship building centric model. Today, organizations need to focus and establishing a conversation with customers throughout the entire purchasing process. Additionally, this means that it’s important to integrate customer analytics with your social media marketing. It’s time to get smarter. It’s about actively listening to your community, and providing information that they find important and useful. By incorporating analytics, you ensure that every communication, offer and dialog is valuable and relevant to you audience. By understanding that consumers interact with social media based on the drivers of trust and control, you can place social media in its proper role: As a tool that helps build long-term customer relationships based on deep consumer insight.

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Image Source: 2012 Aimia Social Media Personas Report

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