The Six Types of Social Media Consumers, According to Science

August 1, 2018 / James Hughes

In today’s world of marketing, it is important that companies make sense of the internet madhouse that is social media. “Who is using it?”, “why?”, and “how?” are the important questions as organizations strive to understand their consumers. Luckily, researchers have helped identify different types of social media consumers, specifically related with how they interact with brands. Dimitriu & Guesalaga (2017) studied how consumers interact with different brands on social media, and studied consumer’s reasonings and motivations, and ultimately grouped users into six distinct groups:

  1. Brand Content Seekers: consumers who interact positively with brands, often hoping to get a deal from them

  2. Brand Observers: consumers who are minimally involved with social media

  3. Brand Deal Hunters: consumers who are actively trying to get deals and compensation from brands, often by complaining and patronizing them

  4. Brand Hard-Core Fans: The loyal, actively engaged consumers who consistently follow/interact with the brand, but can also be critical or patronizing (often because they are so passionate about the brand)

  5. Brand Posers: Consumers who consistently like & follow brands, without consuming much information or interacting consistently. Mostly in it for the show.

  6. Brand Patronizers: The haters. Very outspoken and critical of the brands.

Tips for Marketers:

Dimitriu & Guesalaga had several tips for managers and decision-makers. First, they highlighted the fact that overall social media engagement is very low when it comes to individual brands. 64% of the sample engaged with brands “seldom or never”.

Second, they noted that when consumers do engage with a brand, it's often for a variety of motivations, namely: tacit engagement, brand exhibiting, deal seeking, and patronizing. They recommended that social media managers develop strategies for each of these areas.

Third, they suggested developing different strategies to target each of the six consumer segments. Find ways to minimize patronizers from criticizing your brands, and lower opportunities for deal-hunters to bully you into discounts, for example.

Thanks for reading,

James Hughes, Data Science


Dimitriu, R. and Guesalaga, R. (2017), Consumers’ Social Media Brand Behaviors: Uncovering Underlying Motivators and Deriving Meaningful Consumer Segments. Psychol. Mark., 34: 580-592. doi:10.1002/mar.21007