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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2011 Sep;14(9):547-53. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2010.0346. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Classifying and profiling Social Networking Site users: a latent segmentation approach.

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  • 1Marketing Department, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain), Albacete, Spain.


Social Networking Sites (SNSs) have showed an exponential growth in the last years. The first step for an efficient use of SNSs stems from an understanding of the individuals' behaviors within these sites. In this research, we have obtained a typology of SNS users through a latent segmentation approach, based on the frequency by which users perform different activities within the SNSs, sociodemographic variables, experience in SNSs, and dimensions related to their interaction patterns. Four different segments have been obtained. The "introvert" and "novel" users are the more occasional. They utilize SNSs mainly to communicate with friends, although "introverts" are more passive users. The "versatile" user performs different activities, although occasionally. Finally, the "expert-communicator" performs a greater variety of activities with a higher frequency. They tend to perform some marketing-related activities such as commenting on ads or gathering information about products and brands as well as commenting ads. The companies can take advantage of these segmentation schemes in different ways: first, by tracking and monitoring information interchange between users regarding their products and brands. Second, they should match the SNS users' profiles with their market targets to use SNSs as marketing tools. Finally, for most business, the expert users could be interesting opinion leaders and potential brand influencers.

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