The 5 “Personality Types” of Social Media Users (and How to Market to Them)

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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Calling social media networks “popular” today would be an understatement.

Staggeringly, more than one out of four people in the world has a profile on a social network.

Because of the tremendous reach of these social platforms, there are many different kinds of people using them. From an inbound marketing standpoint, businesses can gain a better understanding of their prospective customers if they take the time to learn about each type of social media user.

The different social “personality types” discussed here are:

  • Observer
  • Complainer
  • Novice
  • Addict
  • Beauty Pageant Contestant

Everyone divides up the types of social media users in a different way, but these are some of the more common profiles of users found on the more popular social networks. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

1. The Observer

The observer is perhaps the most common type of social media user. They have an account and may even log in frequently, but they rarely post new content. They are mainly using social media to keep up to date with friends and family or to get updates on things they care about.

Twitter in particular is a popular platform with observers: they will sign up for an account and follow news outlets, celebrities, or organisations that they care about, but will rarely send out tweets of their own.

The Observer is one of the most prevalent kinds of social media user: research has shown that a surprising 44% of all Twitter users have never sent a single tweet.

2. The Complainer

Everyone knows a few people who go about each day as if they are Chicken Little. Complainers aren’t only found on social networks, but they certainly give them a much easier platform on which to vent.

From annoying colleagues to jealous lovers, no one is safe from the complainer’s lengthy rants. These kinds of users are mostly found on social networks where they are given a sufficient platform to share longer thoughts, such as Facebook or Tumblr, but they can be found on many different networks.

3. The Novice

The Novice is new to social media, and sometimes the internet in general. Many of these users are a part of the baby boomer generation and didn’t grow up using technology: your grandmother who constantly makes Facebook statuses in all capital letters is a good example of the Novice.

It’s possible for some users that fall into this category to eventually educate themselves sufficiently about social media to move out of the Novice stage and into another, but some users are either unwilling or unable to learn enough about social networks to understand how to use them properly.

4. The Addict

The Addict is the type that has multiple social media accounts, every mobile app for each social network that they are on, and is constantly checking all of their social media profiles for updates. Think of the person taking a photo of their lunch to put it on Instagram and you have a good idea of the Addict.

Many people associate the addict with those from the younger Millennial generation, but you can find social media addicts of all ages: more than two out of every five adults online are on multiple social networking sites.

5. The Beauty Pageant Contestant

While they might not be actually participating in a beauty pageant, this type of social media user lives and dies by how much attention they get on social networks. From retweets, favourites, and comments on each post to the number of friends, fans, or followers that they have, the Beauty Pageant Contestant likes to be liked.

Their popularity in the real world may not be proportionate to their popularity on social media networks, but this is not something with which the Beauty Pageant Contestant is concerned.

Using Inbound Marketing to attract Social Media Personality Types

Now that you have this information, what can you do with it? The challenge with these broad types of social media users is that they are comprised of so many different kinds of people.

A Novice type could be an older person, but they could also be a Millennial who’s more of an outdoors person and doesn’t spend a lot of time online. An Addict or a Complainer could be someone from any age or any type of background.

The key to successfully using these personality types is making sure that you publish content that attracts each type. For example: the Observer will often appreciate an informative article or interesting interview with an expert in your industry. The Beauty Pageant Contestant will like being able to participate in a contest or other activity that allows them to gain exposure and popularity.

You also need to learn as much as you can about your prospective customers beyond what type of social media user they are. Gender, income, and professional and personal goals are also an important part of inbound marketing.

The more information you can get about your prospects on social networks, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to create valuable content that attracts people to your brand, no matter what type of social media user they are.

What social personality type are you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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