How your personality aligns with social media content types

social media content

By Mark W. Schaefer

I have always had this fantasy about trying to align Myers-Briggs personality types with people successful on the social web, but alas I have not had the time or resources to do so. However I do think there is something to this idea. I believe there is some alignment between where you choose to publish and your personality type.

A few data points to illustrate my theory:

  1. I marvel at the people creating fun and effective content on Snapchat. To truly stand out in 10-second content chunks, you have to be part news anchor, part comedian. In an excellent post about the human factors behind Snapchat Jay Acunzo argues that the best content is goofy and random. When people think of me, they probably don’t think “there is a man who is both goofy and random.” I mean, I can do that in short bursts but it’s not a natural personality state. It takes a special gift to tell consistently good stories on Snapchat, and it may not be a gift that I possess!
  2. The social media content form I love best is blogging. It gives me room to tell the whole story. It allows me to be accurate and complete. I can let a story germinate a few days or a few weeks. It fits my personality.
  3. I’m amazed at the non-stop content output of Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s frenetic, and a natural showman on video. But I can’t imagine him sitting down to compose a white paper based on a research study. Me? Yeah, I can do that.
  4. I don’t like Periscope, where all the attention is on me, but I did love a format like Blab where I could host a conversation with friends. I’m more comfortable sharing the attention.

These thoughts led me to consider a broader perspective of how the content we choose to create might be related to personality type. Let’s see if this makes sense to you.

Between the slow, cerebral demands of blogging and the in-the-moment improv of Snapchat is a continuum of content options for the range of human personality types. I took a shot at matching these, with the input of a few friends:

personality and social media content

As you see in this chart, how we choose to distribute our content might also reflect our personality type. Is it easier for a person to post content on Pinterest, which has relatively little give and take, or on Facebook, which can create tons of engagement and even controversy?

You can put these two things together and get a picture of how you might like to create content and where you might like to post it based on personality type.

So for example, an extremely extroverted person might like streaming live video and would also enjoy the Facebook Live feature because it allows for tremendous interaction. A quieter person might enjoy plucking great illustrations from the web and curating them on Pinterest, a distribution channel which does not require a lot of engagement.

Now I want to emphasize that I am not trying to pigeon-hole people. There is a world of diversity out there and there absolutely no reason why a shy person can’t enjoy posting interesting things to friends on Snapchat and a chatty person wouldn’t love stirring things up on a blog.

Also, there are lots of different types of content I didn’t cover here for the simple reason that the chart was getting too crowded. So there are lots of other options to consider like infographics, Reddit,  webinars, etc.

But if you’re just starting out and you’re a little overwhelmed by all the content and distribution choices, I thought this template might be a something to think about.

What do you think? What do you like? What did I miss? Let me know in the comment section!

SXSW 2016 3Mark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant. The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Aaron Perkins

All posts

The Marketing Companion Podcast

Why not tune into the world’s most entertaining marketing podcast!

View details

Let's plot a strategy together

Want to solve big marketing problems for a little bit of money? Sign up for an hour of Mark’s time and put your business on the fast-track.

View details

Share via