by Jennifer Lumba | December 16, 2016
While the style and scope of networks you use can influence your social media engagement, it's also crucial to know who you're trying to reach. Below are seven common personality types you'll find among your social media following, along with some advice for how best to engage them:

1. The reposter. The reposter is the follower / friend who so enjoys what you post that she wants to share your genius with the world by reposting just about everything you put on social media. Engage with her. Thank her for every repost, and then recruit her to multiply your social media marketing efforts. She's already interested in your ideas. Why not have her repost your pitches to networks where you aren't -- or at times you're offline? You'll improve outreach meaningfully while making one of your best followers feel like she's a part of something.

2. The scoop hunter. Social media tends to breed addicts.  Some will dive into games while others read articles or waste time chatting. Others spend their time seeking attention by posting links to anything and everything they think is interesting or potentially newsworthy. Call them the scoop hunters in your news feed; engage by complimenting their curating talents. No other social media persona will ever be as helpful when it comes to tracking the online conversations that matter to your business.

3. The conversationalist. Quite possibly the best of all personas for growing your influence online, the conversationalist wants to engage with you. You post, she asks questions. You answer, and she provides additional perspective or an alternative point of view. Conversationalists not only make social media fun, they also make it useful. Hang on to these followers by treating them like treasured customers. Because even if they aren't actual customers of your business at the moment you meet them, the relationship you're forging could turn commercial at some point.

4. The authority booster. Just as in real life, the friends you keep say something about you. But on social media it isn't what your friends say that matters so much as who they are. The bigger their following, the more authority they confer upon you. Whether that's fair is debatable, but it does work. Try targeting at least a portion of your social media outreach efforts to the most followed members of your market. If they respond, thank them and promise more engagement if they'd be willing to follow you. 

5. The casual friend. Social networks are a media of convenience and some respond to that by engaging in rapid bursts of activity. These are the casual friends who'll like 15 of your Facebook posts in 15 minutes or reply to three old tweets in the span of three minutes. This is how they catch up, and that's fine. Don't spend too much time engaging with them; chances are they won't see what you want them to see until long after you've posted.

6. The troublemaker. On the other hand, you'd be hard pressed to find a more willing time waster than the troublemaker who either won't stop criticizing you or your work or pestering you with unhelpful requests. Troublemakers' entire social media existence is built around creating drama where none exists in order to direct attention to themselves. Troublemakers also prefer to target those who have a large following and who are prone to react, or whose followers will come to their defense. The more posting and tweeting in response to his incendiary posts, the more the troublemaker likes it. Block any current or would-be follower that's behaving like the troublemaker.

7. The stalker. Social media attracts all kinds, but none are so creepy or unhelpful as the stalker. You know this type. She'll respond to every tweet or post. She'll ask multiple questions of you, usually in full view of the public in hopes of forcing you into a response. And if you ignore her? Sometimes she'll go away; other times she'll turn abusive. Either way, the cost of engaging with the stalker is usually too high to be worth it. Block at the first sign of abuse.

Have other ideas for improving social media engagement? Please leave a comment below or get in touch. I'd love to hear from you!
Jennifer Lumba is the chief marketing officer of Rideau Recognition Solutions. Built on state-of-the-art technology, Rideau's employee recognition and customer loyalty programs change the way companies recognize employee service and achievement, reward individual and team performance, strengthen customer relationships, and create brand loyalty. Lumba can be reached at [email protected].