Understanding the social mindset divide

Marketers need to understand the different ways in which users expect to engage with brands on personal and professional social networks, writes Josh Graff, director, marketing solutions, LinkedIn EMEA.

There’s no doubt today that by engaging customers on social networks, brands can develop deeper relationships than ever before. However, to lump all these platforms into the same bucket when planning campaigns is a mistake.

Only by looking at each social network and understanding their members’ specific mindset and emotions can brands ensure their communications are relevant.

While the different needs, interests and emotional drivers on personal and professional social networks might seem obvious, a deeper dive into how people think and behave demonstrates a number of uniquely appealing opportunities for marketers.

In an effort to better understand these differences, LinkedIn recently partnered with TNS on a global study of more than 6,000 social media users across 12 countries. What is clear from the findings is that we all exhibit two very different mindsets when engaging on social platforms.

On personal networks we passively "spend time," catching up with friends and family, looking to be entertained and generally killing time. Comparatively, on professional networks we actively "invest time," looking to improve ourselves, achieve more and progress in our careers.

While on the surface this might seem obvious, what is interesting for marketers, is that this has a huge impact on how we expect to engage with brands on these platforms.

In a ranking of the types of content users expect to see, "updates from brands" was ranked number nine on personal networks compared to number two for those using professional ones.

In a ranking of the types of content users expect to see, "updates from brands" was ranked number nine on personal networks compared to number two for those using professional ones. The findings also show that users crave insights above all else on professional networks and expect to hear from brands 26% more when visiting them than when spending time on personal ones.

The types of brands users want to see and hear from further reflects the mindset divide between "spending" and "investing" time. For example, the study shows that on personal networks people want to hear from brands which help them express their personality, be entertained and match their hobbies. However, on professional networks, they want to hear from brands that can help them improve professionally, make better business decisions and provide sage advice.

It’s a well known fact that those brands which create an emotional appeal deliver better results and provide a more powerful experience to the consumer, and as you would expect, there is clearly a split between our emotions when visiting personal and professional networks - would you want your Saturday night to meet your Monday morning?

On personal networks we experience emotions around memories and entertainment but, surprisingly for some, professional networks also stir up a strong well of emotion around a sense of purpose and ambition to achieve goals. Both are fertile environments for brands to engage with consumers but campaigns on each social network should be planned with this this split in mind.

As the debate around "social" rumbles on and the focus on ROI becomes even sharper, it will become increasingly important for brands to harness the very different mindsets and emotions being experienced across each network. Only then can marketers improve relevance, engagement and ensure the right messages are getting through.

You can get more detail on The Mindset Divide research by downloading the report.

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