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Six Social Media Personas Driven by Trust and Control

Posted on 6.03.2012

How much do you know, I mean really know, about your brand’s social media fans, friends and followers? And how would your social media marketing strategy change if you had access to that information?

Loyalty management vendor Aimia has released an interesting segmentation model that identifies six distinct social media personas and maps based upon the behavioral drivers of trust and control. Aimia’s Staring at the Sun: Identifying, Understanding and Influencing Social Media Users report argues that no single social media channel can deliver a complete picture of customer behavior.

"Today's approach to social media measurement – racing to rack up the most 'likes,' retweets, followers and recommendations – is the wrong approach," says Doug Rozen, lead author of the report and senior vice president of communications, design & emerging technologies at Aimia. "Marketers must define success not by social media activity, but rather by customer value and engagement."

Aimia’s research reveals that the more trust consumers place in social media networks, the more likely they are to participate. Likewise, the more control consumers perceive of their social activity, the more likely they are to engage with a variety of networks.

"Control equals exposure, and trust equals participation," says Rozen. "The more control a consumer perceives over their social media activity, the more likely they are to engage with a wider variety of social media networks. The more trust a consumer places in social media networks and their connections, the more likely they are to actively participate."

The report maps social media usage and outlines differences between types of social media participation via six distinct personas:

- No Shows (41 %) – lease involved in social media, engage infrequently

- Newcomers (15 %) – passive involvement; engage to enhance offline relationships

- Onlookers (16 %) –
involvement is observational, sharing almost no information

- Cliquers (6 %) –
active users of one network, influential amongst a small group

- Mix-n-Minglers (19 %) –
regularly sharing and interact within a diverse group

- Sparks (3 %) –
most active and engaged, serve as enthusiastic brand ambassadors

Aimia mapped these personas to social brand-related activities (writing reviews, purchasing product, viewing videos, interacting on forums and blogs, check-ins) and found that the more passive “Onlookers” are just as interested in flash sales and daily deals as the two most active personas – Mix-n-Minglers and Sparks. Applying social media personas and segmentation is useful in that brands can target users based on their behavior.


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