Business owners and management teams tend to struggle over understanding audience behavior when refining their social media strategy. After all, it is a strange thing, isn’t it? They were interested enough to like your Facebook page and follow you on Twitter but they never show your posts any love. What gives?
We sometimes forget we are dealing with real people online and fail to distinguish the different species that exist in the digital domain. It’s important to understand the simple difference between these two types of users when creating your social media strategy:
1. Proactive Users
2. Reactive Users
Proactive users are the people that are actively posting updates, engaging with other users, utilizing most available features and basically make their presence known through a variety of activities.
Reactive users are those people that rarely make posts and only interact with comments or posts that are directed at them specifically. They aren’t as likely to like every picture of your cat in their hilarious Halloween costume unless they helped pick it out!
The 7 Types of Social Media Users
1. The Listener. This person is an active social media user but prefers to fly under the radar. Even when they like your posts they are more inclined to a real-life “lol” than one written in the comments.
Despite this, they are excited to engage in many aspects of social networking and especially enjoy the ability to aggregate their favorite content conveniently.
2. The Activist. Yes, we all have one (or two) of those overzealous activist friends that are sternly promoting some sort of controversial ideal or movement. These folks usually have a knack for promotion and an admirable desire to save the world.
Realizing the power of social tools to have their voices heard, they are typically regular posters and undoubtedly fall into the proactive category. Businesses can often learn a lot from activist-types by watching how their most popular messages spread. It’s not just the cause, it’s the message and delivery that make a difference.
3. The Spammer. I almost put this in the “troll” category but this type is a different breed altogether. Those who believe aggressive sales tactics will work on social networks need to pull a Felix Baumgartner and jump back down to Earth. Not only is spamming universally detested, it makes for a terrible social media strategy.
Since most people who have used the Internet for longer than a few weeks can spot a spammer, they don’t really require further explanation beyond a single piece of advice: do not become one!
4. The Passionista. These people are my favorite social media users because they are bonded together by their passions. Every interest imaginable seems to have a plethora of booming groups and discussion on social networks, giving even the most obscure interests a place to connect.
The typical passionista focuses the bulk of their social networking dedicated to their passions in a number of different ways. Pinterest is a passionista goldmine since users are connected and socialize exclusively around photos of things they love.
5. The Troll. Here’s one that needs a firm kick in the backside more than an introduction. For those of you that don’t know, trolls are those incessant spreaders of all things negative and hateful. A troll always manages to take that step across the line from an unpleasant opposition to downright hate speech, no matter how sensitive or irrelevant the issue.
It generally goes without saying that these people should be ignored, blocked and reported to the corresponding social network, if the action justifies it. The good news is that people who aren’t trolls can empathize with victims of trolling and will not hold it against them.
6. The Black Booker. If you remember the days before cell phones, then you remember having a little black book full of phone numbers. This type of social media users uses it like their little black book.
Social media is merely a means to communicate with other people for these people, although they may very well use it regularly. I’ve noticed a lot of them see the networking value but might not have taken the chance to fully leverage it yet.
7. The Family Man. Or woman, of course! These social media users are in love with the fact that they can chat with their relatives and keep track of their growing nieces and nephews overseas. Most of these types seem to have been late adopters (although that doesn’t matter as much these days).
It’s also possible that these are the exact same people that you end up having to block from sending you more Farmville requests. I’m talking to you, Mom!
Now I know I’m not God and my attempt to pigeon hole every social media user into one of my little personality profiles isn’t going to work for everyone. I want to hear what you think I got right, wrong and what I missed in the comments below.
As a bonus question, let me know which one of these types of people could be your most valuable ally when creating your social media strategy.