The 6 Types Of Social Media Users

At this point, no single customer engagement channel can deliver marketers a complete picture of consumer behavior. 

How people share contentGoogle knows what you’re interested in, but not what you’ve done. Facebook knows who your friends are, but not what you buy. Pinterest knows what you share, but not how you act on it. Foursquare knows where you are, but not what you like. You get the idea.

Social media measurement is critical to success, but brands have been unable to get their arms around what it is and what it means.

Aimia, a loyalty-management firm, has unveiled a new segmentation model that analyzes trust and control as drivers of 6 distinct social media personas. The model is detailed in Staring at the Sun: Identifying, Understanding and Influencing Social Media Users. The report argues that specific social media personas can be identified and directly engaged.

“Today’s approach to social media measurement – racing to rack up the most likes, retweets, followers, and recommendations – is the wrong approach. Marketers must define success not by social media activity, but rather by customer value and engagement,” said Aimia senior VP Doug Rozen, lead author of the report. “Marketers often struggle to understand the true motivations and purchase intent behind customers’ social media activity. Proper segmentation allows marketers to appropriately identify, understand and influence customers through social channels.”

Download the white paper about the 6 types of social media users  Download the white paper

Aimia has identified 6 social media personas in the U.S.:

  1. No Shows (41%): No Shows haven’t logged on to a social network in the last 30 days. Most likely a 65-plus male, they typically exhibit low degrees of trust and have no interest in broadcasting their activities or interests to anyone.
  2. Newcomers (15%): Newcomers are typical passive users of a single social media network. They may reluctantly join Facebook, for example, in order not to feel “left behind”. Newcomers primarily use social media to enhance their online relationships.
  3. Onlookers (16%): Onlookers may lurk on several social media networks, but they post infrequently. They rely on social media primarily to keep up on the online lives of others within their social networks, but are reluctant to share details about themselves. Onlookers want complete control of their online information.
  4. Cliquers (6%): Cliquers are active, single-network users who congregate primarily on Facebook. They’re most likely to be women, and most of their online sharing includes photos, status updates, and comments. They’re active and influential within their small network of close friends and family.
  5. Mix-n-Minglers (19%): Mix-n-Minglers participate actively on multiple social networking platforms. They like to follow brands in order to receive offers and keep up with the latest news. They also understand the importance of data privacy. They meet many of their friends online and they’re influential in their networks.
  6. Sparks (3%): Sparks are the most active and deeply engaged users of social media. They use social media tools as a means of self-expression. While Sparks are still concerned about online privacy, they work to control the online conversation. Sparks typically boast the most open social networks amongst the six personas. They engage with brands frequently, and are enthusiastic ambassadors for their favorites.

Social media usage framework:

The spectrum of U.S. social media usage

Social media use achieved critical mass much more quickly than anyone predicted. The type of segmentation outlined by Aimia can potentially help marketers understand the difference between active and passive audience behavior, and improve their ability to selectively leverage social media beyond what they’re able to accomplish via mass media. The data can help brands create a more sophisticated engagement strategy that considers how different groups of consumers use social media in different ways.

Here’s a graphic that breaks down the report’s data: 

  • Hi Pam
    Thank you for the post this is highly informative regarding the users who are involved on Social Media Platform.More over i would like to Add something more to this thread.Social media .
    Employers See In Social Media – And Probably At Your Account [Infographic]

    Read more:

  • This is great information, Pam. Having a better “grip” on SM user demographics will help me direct my clients to more effective platforms.

  • bill

    The ‘Sparks’ are certainly an interesting market segment…24 years old, in grad school, making $80k a year. Sure.

  • Another great post, Pam – interesting to see how the Baby Boomers are reluctant to get online. I think some of their reticence is the training – and at work, they don’t want a 30-something coming in with a swagger and treating them like kids or worse, an “old addled-brained coot”. (my brother’s words – lol)

    That happened to my older brother, and resulted in him totally avoiding any kind of interaction online other than emails. He’s become a “No Show”.

    And many “No Shows” are business owners that see no benefit for their companies to get on the social media bandwagon. It’s going to take concise, but informative presentations to them so they can realize the value social media can bring to their business.

    • Afraid that about sums up the situation where I work. Social media for me is a fun after hours hobby crossing socioeconomic classes and some breakroom discussions with my fellow production floor employees, but not the owners or half the office staff .. not that I wouldn’t welcome the chance to help with more than some Tweets and checkins on Foursquare, because we could always use more clients – who couldn’t?

  • Social media produces such interesting data – and it’s always changing. I think the one constant or standard that’s emerged – aside from change of course – is that Social is populated by the Noisy Minority. Most content, interaction, creation, sharing – it’s all done by a minority of users; most people lurk, use casually – or not at all. And FWIW I’m probably a semi-Sparkly Mingler.

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  • Here from Pinterest. Now updating my Disqus profile, plussing on Google+ and following on Twitter, all the while recommending Instagram’s Tumblr blog to friends on Facebook. The trouble with demographics is the inevitable generalizations – I have income near No-show; age and household of a Newcomer; tools of an On-looker; frequency of a Mix-n-Mingler; outlook and connections approaching a Spark ..which about fits my Klout. Might even mention your article if ever I update my WordPress blog. More importantly, I read in hopes of helping friends with biz use, including a Kickstarter project. Look forward to connecting!

  • rePepe

    Thank you for this great share.

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