Around 500 million Tweets are sent every day.
11% of people on earth have a Facebook profile.
We spend 2.9 billion hours on YouTube every month.
Never before have we been so connected. There are 17 virtual communities that have over 100 million active users. Some estimates indicate that 90% of the world’s information has been generated since 2011 – and a great deal of that will have been over social networks.
Yet no matter how united we may be in our online socialising habits, our personas remain as diverse as ever. There have been many attempts made to arrange social media users into separate groups for various reasons. This kind of research is of use to￼financial organisations because traders need to know the credibility of their information sources, while investor relations teams can judge the level of influence different users possess and how this should affect the type of communications they’re sending out.
The Ultras – Always engaged, they can be fantastic influencers if on-side, but if they take against a business for any reason, perhaps due to negative CSR perceptions, then they can spread bad news fast. A lot depends on whether they are considered an authority on certain subjects, or if their postings are diverse, giving their influence little weight.
The Deniers – A group that finds it difficult to admit the control SM has over their lives. Given they spend as much time online, and use SM for similar reasons, they can carry just as much weight as the Ultras, but the two groupings need to be approached in different ways.
The Dippers – So-called because they dip into and out of their accounts infrequently. As with the Ultras, the range of topics they post about is important, as they can still influence a conversation if they are perceived as knowledgeable in an area.
The Virgins – Newbies to social networking, they will have little influence amongst their peers. But they shouldn’t be ignored or worse, patronised – today’s Virgin may be tomorrow’s Ultra.
The Lurkers – People who watch the conversation from the sidelines anonymously and rarely if ever take part. Although they may be thought to wield little influence, as with the Dippers it is all dependent on their authority on a topic.
The Peacocks – Collect friends, followers and likes as a test of social standing. Whilst their opinions may sway with the breeze, if they have broad networks then they possess enough influence to be considered valuable by corporate communicators. Traders however should beware placing too much faith in them as a source.
The Ranters – The kind of person you often find leaving rage-filled comments under news articles, they are highly opinionated and the type of people that need to be kept inside the tent rather than outside. If they have a problem with the way a company is operating then they’re not going to worry at all about sharing it as loudly as possible over as many networks as they can.
The Ghosts – Regular participants in conversations, but unwilling to share their own personal details – a wise move online in many respects, but traders must treat information they share with caution since its origin may be suspect.
The Changelings – Adopt a different personality for each social network they frequent. Much the same as Ghosts in that all information needs to be corroborated before being used.
The Quizzers – Great people to be sat next to at a dinner party, they provoke conversation with questions on SM. If corporate comms can steer them into asking the right questions with a positive spin then they can have immense value.
The Informers – Love to be the first to spread news, especially because it guarantees them extra retweets. Because of this speed, the accuracy of the information they supply can be called into question.
The Approval-Seekers – In many respects similar to the Peacocks, they place great value on the likes and retweets each post earns them. Feeding them information that will generate attention for their profiles will garner positive results.
Image credit: First Direct