Research shows that people approach social-media from two distinct perspectives, depending on whether a particular outlet is geared toward making personal or professional connections. The same person approaches a personal network like Facebook differently than a professional network like LinkedIn, with different expectations and agendas. Considering SOCIAL STYLE preferences can make the differences even more distinct, as people of different Styles approach their personal and career interactions in different ways, regardless of the outlet. Based on the behavioral preferences of each Style, people of different Styles are likely to act in different ways when interacting with others via social media.
According to The Mindset Divide, a research report distributed by LinkedIn, users of personal social media outlets are mainly driven to socialize, keep in touch with others, share content and be entertained. The same users approach professional social networks with different motivations, being driven by a desire to keep up with professional contacts, maintain a professional identity, search for career opportunities and make new contacts in their industry.
Given these findings, it is easy to see why people use different social networks in different ways, as they are reaching out to accomplish different goals. In the context of these general preferences, we can anticipate the most likely ways that people of each Style approach both personal and professional networks online.
Driving Style people are likely to have an agenda in mind when they log on to a personal or professional social-media outlet. Whether it is to check private messages, search for a contact to make a connection, or check in on a discussion, these people are likely to get in and out quickly, scanning updates and posts rather than reading in detail. On personal social networks, Driving Style people are less likely to broadcast opinions and long stories to their connections, but will not hesitate to add their input to a discussion. In fact, they run the risk of being misinterpreted due to their brief remarks.
Like their Driving Style counterparts, Analytical Style people are likely to have a clear purpose in mind when logging on to a social network. They may spend more time searching or dissecting information than others, and though they are typically not very talkative, the format of social media can appeal to their preference for commenting with the ability to think things through before stating their opinions. Because of this they might get particular satisfaction out of engaging in online discussions since they can take the time to write their thoughts, instead of stating them verbally. When they have something to say, they are likely to include details or links that support their opinions. However, they will almost always think twice before making public posts.
Amiable Style people are likely most interested in cultivating relationships on social networks. They will treat social media in a similar way as the rest of their lives, seeing the opportunity to establish a large network of friends and contacts. Even on a career-centric network like LinkedIn, they are genuinely interested in the lives and well-being of their contacts. These people are less likely to browse information without becoming involved, as their Analytical Style colleagues may, and will spend a good amount of time engaging in conversation and interacting with groups. Amiable Style people can view social-media interactions as being just as significant as in-person interactions, with the same impacts on relationships.
Expressive Style people are likely to make frequent public posts to share their opinions and experiences with others. They will become actively involved in discussions, and can express their opinions more forcefully than others at times. These people have the unique ability to keep discussions lively and upbeat in professional settings, making them an asset in career-centered discussion groups. Recognition is the Expressive Style Need, and social media provides ample opportunities for this Need to be satisfied. However, they need to be careful that their penchant for spontaneously posting remarks does not cross the line with others.
Do you find yourself using social media in the ways described above?
An analysis of the early survey results does show that people of different SOCIAL STYLEs do have different social media preferences. Here are some of the details:
- Amiable Style people rated Facebook their top social destination.
- Driving and Analytical Style people put LinkedIn on top
- Expressive Style people rated YouTube and Facebook as their top social sites.
- Most respondents (64%) said they visit social sites a few times per week, with only 7% saying that can’t live without social and 29% saying they rarely visit social sites.
- 78% of respondents said the habits described above match their own habits.