People can be classified into two broad categories when it comes to describing their social life - introverts and extroverts; but does that have anything to do with your professional life? Does being an introvert or an extrovert hinder or smooth over the job of a marketer, a job that presumably requires people skills?
“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strengths” - Sigmund Freud
Some people are labeled as introverts and some as extroverts. Sigmund Freud believed that these traits that make us introverts or extroverts are mere manifestations of how we perceive the world around us. And this perception makes us behave in a certain way that leads to this generalized labeling. However, when you take these labels as your vulnerabilities, then you have two choices - you can either succumb to them, or let them guide you to your strengths.
Most people believe that introverts don’t make good marketers as it needs a certain amount of flair for communicating with the public. Freud along with his contemporary colleague Carl Jung, however, believed that it’s not entirely true. They believed that introverts have the ability to incubate creative ideas that deliver better results. Research has validated their views that introverts are indeed better suited for leadership and creative roles as they tend to channel out the noise around them and use their quiet energy as an asset.
Social media universe is home to all kinds of people. It is like a mirror of society in the virtual plane. And this virtual society consists of marketing professionals and their target audience as well. In this multi-channel universe, attracting and communicating the right audience, therefore, requires marketers to understand themselves before they can become effective.
Understanding engagement on different channels
Every social media channel has a different level and style of engaging the audiences. If we look closely at the various channels and the kind of content that is available on each of them, it becomes clear which ones are preferred by extroverts and which ones are preferred by introverts. A recent study by Smart Insights sheds more light on the most popular social media channels with their active user and engagement levels.
Now let’s look at how personality types impact the different social channels. Videos, for example, are the best way to engage with extroverts, while blogs, case studies, whitepapers and other such written content is best suited to engage introverts. Why? Because of the inherent need of extroverts to channel their inner energies to look for something exciting. Introverts on the other hand, like to reach a state of calm in everything they do. Here are a couple of interesting pieces in Live Science that corroborate this theory about extroverts and introverts. As a result, they are drawn towards more passive content that can help them achieve that state of calm even when they are consuming promotional content on social media.
Matching your personality to your social content
As a marketer, once you understand this basic difference between the two main personality types, you need to look inside yourself to find out the kind of personality ‘you’ possess. No one will judge you for being an introvert and a digital marketer at the same time. In fact, if you are indeed an introvert, then according to Freud you have an opportunity to turn that perceived vulnerability of yours into your biggest asset.
The thing you must factor in your strategy, however, is that no one is a complete introvert or an extrovert, there is a scale to it. So, anyone can demonstrate low, moderate, or high introversion or extraversion, but never absolute.
“There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum.” - Carl Jung
Just like this variation in the personality types, the content types and channels available to you as a digital marketer demonstrate a variation in their acceptance. This variation in acceptance mirrors the variation in the introversion and extraversion levels of individuals consuming your content. As a result, your social media content must be able to address these variations in personalities and the digital channel to ensure better engagement from your audiences.
If you want to have a closer look at how content designed to address these basic personality attributes can play a role increasing engagement for you, here are a few tips to help you on your way.
Whether you consider unfiltered live streaming on Facebook, Periscope, or Instagram Stories and Snapchat videos, or even videos uploaded on YouTube, video content is unparalleled in attracting your target audience. This Comscore report has more data on the popularity of video content across different digital channels. This report clearly indicates that channels that allow video content are far ahead on the consumer acceptance curve. The reason - videos have the ability to deliver the maximum amount of content in the shortest time span. While introverts don’t really disapprove of this delivery method, it is of particular interest to extroverts in general. Their insatiable desire for instant gratification from everything they do draws them towards this compact content delivery mechanism and allows them to consume more content in less time.
If you are one such extroverted digital marketer, then you know you need to channel your energy towards more creative pursuits and your communication style will show that too. This increases the chances of your thoughts and communication style to resonate with the type of audience who demonstrate personality traits similar to yours. And needless to say, when you audience can relate to you, they will engage with you.
As we move away from the video content towards podcasts and live streaming audio, the consumption style starts to become more passive than active. This is where you start finding audiences from further down the introversion scale drawn towards this kind of content. Introverts like their space, they like to dig deeper into their thoughts and their surroundings with a calm mind in general. Audio content allows them to do just that in the absence of visual stimulus available in video content that extraverts need to keep their minds active.
Marketing professionals who identify with this trait can harness it to their advantage by designing content that appeals to audience of this particular personality type.
Images, infographics, and presentations
Static visuals like pictures, infographics, presentations, etc. take you further towards introverted audiences. These content consumers are even more passive in their consumption patterns than audio content consumers. Their interactions with their surroundings and even digital content depends highly on the emotional resonance that they receive from it.
As a result, marketers for whom this personality trait is more familiar than any other, can leverage it to their advantage by designing content that addresses it. As a marketer who demonstrates these personality traits, you are already familiar with what you and people like you would prefer to see and engage with. So, capitalize on that and have your strategy reflect that insight that you possess.
Blogs, e-books, research papers, and case studies
The most introverted audience members also happen to the most passive content consumers, and they are inadvertently drawn towards written content. Blogs, e-books, research papers, whitepapers and case studies are the best way of communicating with them because it allows them to tap into their superpower of analysis and deduction.
These are just a few of the basic attributes most people display in their behavior towards digital content, and most of this behavior is inadvertent solely based on their personality types. However, this is not an exhaustive list. Everyone will tell you that in order to get the best results for your brand, you need to gather similar insights about ‘your’ target audience in particular and tailor your communications based on that. But when you go against your own personality and try to communicate with someone, there’s only a remote chance that such communication will work. Think about shaving against the grain - that’s always painful.
Remember - your first goal is engaging your audience with your digital content. And at the end of the day, we are all human. If you understand the basics of introversion and extraversion that every member of your target audience and you yourself are bound to exhibit, then you already have a firm grasp on what needs to be done to get their undivided attention towards your brand communication.