Untangling the social web: Targeting social media personas

It’s no secret that social media can be a very useful channel for marketers in connecting with customers. Less understood, however, is the idea that the purpose of social media can change for different segments of consumers. Where some consumers may rely on social media for deals and special offers, others may prefer to share brand experiences or hear about new products. Some may prefer to connect through a smartphone, while others may prefer a tablet. Marketers who can understand these differences can better reach their desired customers by tailoring content to their unique preferences.

In a recent webcast, we looked at highly socially active magazine subscribers to see how different magazine interests translate into differing social media preferences. The analysis presented social media attitudes and usage patterns for six targeting segments of magazine readers: Entertainment, Epicurean (Foodies), Health & Fitness, Home, Travel and Automotive.

  • Travel and Home readers prefer content over product information. Readers of Travel and Home magazines under-index for following their favorite brands or companies on social media websites. However, they are much more likely than the average consumer to follow their favorite magazines online, likely because they like to see relevant content on their news feeds.
  • Level of trust varies among segments. Epicurean readers are most likely to trust product information from a brand online. On the other hand, Travel readers are highly skeptical — they are 29 percent less likely than the average adult to say they would trust information from a brand on social media.
  • “Sharers” versus “lurkers.” The Entertainment segment is most likely to be “sharers” — that is, they are more likely to post or repost content to their own social media profiles. All of the other segments (besides Health & Fitness) under-index for sharing online, and tend to be “lurkers,” or passive social media users. However, when they do post, these heavy magazine readers tend to be highly influential in their social circles.
  • Facebook reigns; Twitter and Pinterest compete for second. Facebook has the highest engagement for heavy magazine users among all devices. The second-place position, though, is different for each device. Twitter is the second most active device on smartphones, while Pinterest is more prominent on tablets (especially for Epicurean, Home, and Health & Fitness segments).
  • Driving traffic to external websites. For Entertainment and Health & Fitness consumers, Facebook drives the most engagement to magazine websites. Shareable home-oriented content on Pinterest does well in driving traffic to Home-related magazine websites. However, Twitter lacks in this area, suggesting that many tweets may be missing important calls to action.

For a more thorough look into how social media behavior can differ between these interest groups, watch the Targeting Social Media Personas webcast.