Today we are releasing the first definitive research on the mindset of global social network users. Titled The Mindset Divide, our objective was to more deeply understand the motivating factors for how and why people use personal and professional networks. Our findings give marketers insight into how to effectively engage with audiences on these important platforms.
We partnered with TNS, a leading global market research company, to ask 6,000 social network users across 12 countries why they use these platforms. We uncovered some insights that surprised us.
Mindset On Personal vs. Professional Networks
The biggest difference between personal and professional networking is purpose and mindset. We learned that people exhibit two very different mindsets when they engage on social platforms – a personal one to passively “spend time,” and a professional one to actively “invest time.” On personal networks, people are driven to socialize, find entertainment and generally kill time. The research found that people are more than 3 times as likely to use personal networks for entertainment rather than professional networks. In turn, they are 3 times as likely to use professional networks to keep up to date with their career over personal networks.
And the type of content users expect from networks aligns to the differences in mindset. In a ranking of the types of content users expect, “Updates from Brands” was ranked #2 for those using professional networks and #9 on personal networks. Professional network users crave insights above all else and expect to hear from brands 26% more on professional networks than they do on personal ones.
Emotional Drivers On Personal & Professional Networks
It’s easy to assume personal networks capture more of users' emotion and passions as they share their personal lives – but our study reveals something very surprising – users are also driven by a deep well of emotion when engaging on professional sites. While these emotions are less obvious than those on personal networks, powerful desires like ambition, security, achievement, progress and happiness are lying just under the surface of the professional’s engagement. Not only do emotional appeals in marketing drive greater ROI* , the deep emotion on professional networks provides fertile ground for building meaningful relationships.
View this video to see people sharing their experiences on both platforms.
5 Tips For Optimizing Marketing With Mindset
By understanding the mindset and emotion across different social networks, marketers can improve relevance, engagement, and amplification of brand messages. Here are a few tips on how to tap into the professional mindset and drive results:
- Recognize the separation between personal and professional networks and the opportunities they present.
- Frame how the brand helps users gain knowledge and success on professional networks.
- Engage information-hungry influencers with exclusive content.
- Align the brand with emotion by matching messages to user mindset – casual updates versus insights-driven content.
- Build meaningful relationships by participating, sharing and listening.
Check out the full study here: The Mindset Divide. We’re really delighted to share our findings with you.
* IPA Effectiveness Study, 2009