10 Social Media Personas – Understanding Personality and Communication

In my professional career, I have come across many different types of people, with different personalities, resulting in different communication skills and habits. Most of these people have found a way of connecting to other people in their own special way.10 Social Media Personas - Understanding Personality and Communication

Some just run around business events and talk to everybody, others wait until other people start a conversation, some need to hold talks to have something to say, some have such an intriguing personality that they attract others just by being there… There are many different personalities and you will meet them all in your social media activities.

People are individuals and all behave individually, but once you have identified the basic personalities and their communicative habits, you can act accordingly. Here are some tips how to identify and connect to the basic characters in social media.

#1. The Shy

These people usually do not start a conversation, but wait until someone talks to them. In Social Media shyness is a problem, as you are fairly invisible if you do not take part in any conversation. The shy do not usually get in contact on their own account. To gain anything, they have to provide some reason for other people to notice them and to get in touch.

In offline networking, you can at least see the shy ones lurking in a corner (or so their stereotype would suggest). In online life, these people are harder to find. If they do not publish or communicate, the only chance you have got is stumbling across their profile. Hopefully, some of the keywords in these people’s resumes will match your search.

Takeaway: Be open to communication with The Shy, but do not waste energy to hunt them down. They will learn to come to you (and others) if they want to survive in social media.

#2. The Politician

The Politician jumps on every opportunity to communicate and interact. He or she comments on everything, to everyone, and gets in the mix in various heated and/or popular discussions – all while keeping his or her goals in mind. The Politician publishes great content, with the mission to engage and convert.

In social media, the politician has a large stage and seeks to reap the benefits from his or her widespread audience.

Takeaway: You will have an easy time finding the politician and connecting to him or her, as communication is the means to his or her survival. Followers of the politician should be aware – the author has a purpose and has produced content accordingly. You might have a harder time getting the attention of the ever-active Politician or nailing them to a deal, so make sure he or she sees the advantage in your offer to interact.

 #3. The Self-Promoter

The Self-Promoter takes part in social media communication and discussions solely with his or her own purpose in mind. Unlike The Politician, the Self-Promoter is not looking to have a dialogue; he or she is looking for a microphone. The Self-Promoter usually begins “conversations” with information about his products or services. After seconds usually gets his pitch out and asks you to buy something. No matter what the original discussion was about, the second sentence in his answer will always be about his own products or services.

Takeaway: The Self-Promoter will (most often) find you. The problem may be to avoid their incessant reminders or to get any useful information from them. If you want to interact with The Self-Promoter, be ready to listen and buy (as you will have a hard time being heard). Be careful not to write them off too quickly – The Self-Promoter might just promote something that is useful to you.

#4. The Helpful

The Helpful is always there to provide strong answers and positive feedback. They provide insightful information in their content, for which reason they are nice follow on Twitter. You will probably gain much knowledge and many useful links from their tweets. Nice to connect to, The Helpful is always willing to step in with answers and recommendations.

Takeaway: The Helpful is the ideal social media connection. You gain a lot from their knowledge and willingness to share. If you ever need their services, you will probably go to them with a good feeling and trust in their willingness to serve you without the fear of being used. If you have something to offer, the helpful will probably even be willing to help you get relevant connections interested in your service.

 #5. The Nagger

No matter what you post, The Nagger will find a way to point out your flaw (“It’s: too long, too basic, the wrong forum, the wrong time of day, too much information, too little information, I read about that yesterday, you posted somewhere else, too.”) From The Nagger, you can expect any kind of creative, negative comment without any real substance.

Takeaway: You will probably not seriously connect or engage in business with The Nagger. The Nagger is not an ideal business partner, as they will detect small problems with: your products, your services, your behavior, your money, your country – or whatever else they can find.

#6. The Direct

The Direct has a clear goal in mind: to obtain your contact information. There is little or no small talk with The Direct, as they will ask what you are up to and proceed to tell what they have to offer.

Takeaway: The Direct will target you if they believe they can gain something from your contact information. If you have a product or service that needs explaining, The Direct will (most likely) not listen long enough to engage. Keep your message to The Direct straight, to the point, and practice your pitch.

#7. The Entertainer

The Entertainer uses social media as a stage. Unlike the Self-Promoter or Politician, The Entertainer manages to add enough sympathy and entertainment to attract a following within the community.

Takeaway: Do not regard comments from The Entertainer too seriously; be open to their humor. Understand that while they may be eager to connect, it is not always simple to engage in conversation. Enjoy their feeds, but understand their motivations before business engagement.

#8. The Storyteller

The Storyteller is never shy of a good story: they produce great content, great narratives, and posses a sense of humility and openness Storytellers come in the form of content marketers and everyday users who have the knack for attracting audiences through their storytelling abilities. The Storyteller boasts a lot of ‘likes’ and comments.

Takeaway: Be sure to understand with which type of Storyteller you are engaging. Are they in it for the story itself, or do their stories relate to your business? While The Storyteller may teach you valuable lessons and entertain you, it may be difficult to divert The Storyteller from their own stories and get them to listen to your own.

 #9. The Friend

The Friend does not take part in social media with business in his mind. The Friend likes to communicate, talk, share and connect solely for the purpose of social interaction.

Takeaway: If The Friend is actually your friend – let the relationship be. However, if The Friend shows signs that their professional life relates to your business and is the friend of a friend or an acquaintance you discover – see if there is a way to engage on a business level. Once you figure out their professional motivations – and there is a match – working with them could be great fun.

#10. The Comedian

The Comedian is always after the laugh, even though his posts might not always be that funny. The mission of The Comedian is to be witty or inspire humorous interaction, even if they miss the point.

Takeaway: Be prepared to laugh and be entertained (or at least poked), but do not expect much more from them – especially on a professional level.


There is not only one character sleeping in each of us, as our different parts intermingle. No matter which personality you claim as your own (it could even change depending on mood, life experience, stress level), you will have to deal with different characters in social media. Do not expect people to act and react in the way you would and you will avoid feeling any type of offense. Be open to these varying types of personal behaviors and remember that each have motivations, just like any other.

Accepting different personalities as part of the game will help you enjoy the social media ride.

Guest Author: Susanna Gebauer is one of the founders of the social publishing and content marketing platform exploreB2B. You can find more of Susanna’s content on her profile on exploreB2B. You can also find Susanna on Twitter.

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Image by Community Photography ‘now & then’


  • http://rt-now.com/ RT

    I’m the perfect mix of #3 #4 #7 and #10

  • Kuladip Roy

    Susanna thanks for shearing this, your point the politician is too good, today lot’s of politicians are involved in the social media they used if for the shearing thought in the public domain. Thanks it’s a beautiful post.

  • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

    I want friends and helpers! Everyone else just sounds kind of annoying :) Of course I would like to also BE the friend and helper…

    I laughed when I got to the nagger. I know a few of those and they cross into being comedians without trying. The great thing about this summary of personalities is that it speaks to the point that you really have to pay attention when you’re engaging people on social media. It’s not the easy/fast/free thing that many people would have you believe. Just buy a few followers and rake in the sales, right? Enjoyed this very much.

  • Mike Schoultz

    Found this to be a very useful article Susanna, thank you. One could do much better networking by keeping these personas in mind.

  • http://twitter.com/dreckbaerfrau Susanna Gebauer

    Thank you all for your feedback! Makes me really happy!

    Thank you also for suggesting more characters, “the Teacher” is a good one – would fit perfectly into the list. Any more suggestions?
    (I have also come across some naggers and learned to ignore them)


  • http://twitter.com/BrothersCat Virginia Fair

    Great post. I guess people are people no matter how you meet them. Judging by this and my social media presence I have a split personality.

  • http://twitter.com/AllanGaddi Allan Gaddi

    Count me in as one of those shy people. I’m trying to move over to the story teller type. I want to avoid becoming a self-promoter but have you seen my blog yet? hahaha

  • limya