Segmenting social media users to better engage with them

Last week’s post focused on how to create good social media content. If good content motivates social media users to engage with brands, it is crucial to recognise that they will do so in different ways. Consequently, businesses must develop different strategies in order to enable all their customers to engage with them online.

Holis, Sriramachandramurthy and Sashittal studied customer engagement on Facebook. They established that Facebook users could be divided into four segments based on their behaviour on the platform. Brands should design different strategies for each segment in order to encourage engagement.

In this blog post, we will look at the characteristics of these four segments and how brands can adapt their strategies and tactics in order to effectively promote customer engagement among all segments. Although these segments were created by looking at Facebook users, we will notice that the segmentation and the strategies tend to be applicable to other social media platforms as well.


  1. Attention seekers

Attention seekers have a low level of content consumption but a high level of content creation. Very self-centered, these users post a lot of content about themselves and what is happening in their daily lives on Facebook. However, they rarely read or comment their friends’ posts on the platform.

These users would not engage with brands on their Facebook page but are more likely to post about brands on their own wall. Therefore, brands should recruit and empower them in order to generate positive word of mouth.

Attention seekers consider brand endorsement as an opportunity to express themselves, to benefit from the positive association with the brands and to boost their image on social media. In order to convince these users to post about them, brands can give them exclusive information about new products, send them personalised messages or offer them exclusive deals.

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When users post pictures of them with a product on social media, they create word of mouth. This trend is increasingly popular and many companies benefit from it. One of them is Gelato Messina. The picture above shows the result when Instagram users search for the hashtag #gelatomessina. Most of these photos were posted by customers. Although not all of them are attention seekers, this example shows the potential of recruiting this segment to increase brand awareness and word of mouth. Attention seekers can use a lot of different platforms to share their opinion about brands, proving that the segmentation can be applied to other social media platforms than Facebook.

  1. Devotees

Devotees have high levels of content creation and consumption. They share their daily lives with their Facebook friends, talk about their accomplishments or look for encouragement and support. In addition, they are also very active on other people’s walls and read, “like” and comment on other users’ posts.

Similarly to attention seekers, devotees are likely to post about brands on their own page. Consequently, brands should recruit and empower these users as well. However, because they have a high level of consumption, these users may also contribute to the content that is posted on brands’ pages. Other users sometimes do not consider user-generated content as marketing, making this tactic very successful.

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An example of a devotee is the blogger Tuula Vintage. She travels around the world and posts pictures of the places she visits as well as the clothes she wears. One of the brands she wears and regularly promotes on social media is Faithfull. In addition to the content she shares about the brand on her own blog and social media platforms, she also participated in an Instagram takeover for the brand and wrote an article for their blog. The fact that the content created by the blogger was posted on different platforms also suggests that the segmentation and strategies can be applied elsewhere than on Facebook.


  1. Connection seekers

These users have a high level of content consumption but a low level of content creation. They mainly use Facebook as a way to connect with others. Similarly to devotees, they will read and comment on their friends’ posts. However, they will not share personal content about themselves on the platform.

As connection seekers do not contribute to the creation of content, brands must focus on nurturing their relationships with them rather than empowering them. To satisfy these users, brands should make it easier for them to interact with other customers. It can be done by inviting them to brand events or simply creating a Facebook group.

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BMW has an important brand community, and BMW owners want to connect with each other. Therefore, many groups on Facebook were created (based on the model users own or the area they live in for instance) to enable customers to interact. These groups deliver additional value for customers, reinforce loyalty and promote customer engagement. Contrary to the first two segments, Facebook remains the best platform to satisfy connection seekers because it is the most used social media platform and enables users to create groups.


  1. Entertainment chasers

Entertainment chasers have low levels of content creation and consumption. They usually use Facebook when they are bored and are looking for entertaining content. Consequently, they access the platform more often than other users but for a shorter amount of time.

As these users are not creating content, brands should nurture their relationships with them. Nonetheless, it is more difficult to convince entertainment chasers to engage than connection seekers. To satisfy these users, brands can organise competitions. Contests and quizzes will entertain users and the prizes will motivate them to get involved with the brands.


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 As part of a contest, Dove Canada asked Facebook users to upload a picture of themselves and a friend. They had to write a caption explaining why they think their friend is beautiful. The prize included a weekend in Toronto, a photo shoot and the winners were also featured in the next campaign of the brand. It did not require a lot of efforts from participants, as they could simply upload an existing picture and write a few words as a caption, but it created a lot of word of mouth for Dove. Although Facebook was used for this specific contest, many competitions are organised on Twitter or Instagram for example, proving once again that the segmentation and strategies are applicable to other platforms.


Even if social media users behave differently, businesses can encourage customer engagement among all segments by designing strategies and tactics for each of them. Depending on the objectives of each campaign, brands can select the segment(s) they want to engage with and develop strategies and tactics specifically for them. Moreover, brands also have the ability to choose their preferred social media platform or a combination of them. Indeed, the segmentation and the strategies are also applicable to other platforms, although Facebook remains the most appropriate for connection seekers.

Which segment(s) do you think you belong to? Does it correspond to how do you usually engage with your favourite brands? Let me know in the comments below! Thank you for reading and see you next week for a new post on digital marketing!



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