People on social networks can be divided into several personality types, each of which requires a specific approach. Here are some of the common ones:
- THE INFLUENCER. An influencer is a social media linchpin, a hub of knowledge, a person who others look to for advice, content and trends. Ideally, you want to become an influencer yourself, since the role is extremely powerful and steers public perception. Treat influencers with respect, provide them exclusive material and do everything to get them on your side.
- THE LURKER. A lurker is someone who views and takes part in social media but never openly participates or speaks up. For example, a forum lurker may read the posts and conversations but will never add comments. The majority of your social media community is likely to be lurkers, since only about 10% of people take steps to comment or engage actively. The one place lurkers will show up is in your analytics data, since their activities leave trails there.
- THE BRAND PROPHET. A prophet is someone who is so enthused by your product that they spread the message far and wide, even if they are not influencers. Prophets are useful because they spread your content to their social networks, increasing your exposure. If somebody is truly enthusiastic about your brand, considering offering them a special deal or referral fee – or even simply thank them for their vocal support.
- THE COMPLAINER. A complainer is someone who will only speak up if they have a problem or issue to resolve. Complainers may seem negative, but they are generally otherwise happy customers who are looking for help. One of the best social marketing moves is to address the problems of complainers openly and quickly, demonstrating the lengths you will go to make a customer happy.
- THE TROLL. A troll is someone who has nothing good to say about your brand and who will complain constantly and vocally about your product. Trolls are not looking for resolution, so there is little you can do for them. If ignoring them doesn’t work, try challenging them to substantiate their points, or see if you can remove them from the community if the situation spirals out of control. Just make sure that you try to keep this offline.
Maintaining a community means dealing with all manner of people and remaining sensitive to individual issues as well as to group concerns. Ideally, once your community is launched, you should have very little to do as your customers will create the engagement. In reality, however, you will need to keep a close eye and monitor how conversations are evolving.