Last week, the loyalty-management firm Aimia published a compelling new study about social media users that identified and differentiated six specific types of users, creating an argument for the idea that it is not about the consistency of your online presence, but rather how you go about targeting your particular brand audience.

The study points out the flaws in each form of social media—they each aggregate certain demographics about an audience while inevitably lacking key information in other areas. As an article on Social Media Today points out, Google knows what you’re interested in, but not what you’ve done, while Facebook knows what you’ve done and who your friends are, but not what you buy.

Aimia’s study, entitled “Staring at the Sun: Identifying, Understanding, and Influencing Social Media Users”, pinpoints “trust” and “control” as being the main factors that drive anyone’s use of social media, and the study advises people employing social media from a business standpoint to identify the exact type of social media user they seek to engage in order to cater directly to their tendencies and habits.

In order of percentage of users, these are the 6 types that Aimia uncovered:

No Shows account for 41% of all users. These are working individuals that have not shown any signs of social media activity within 30 days or more, and the majority of these users are male and 65 years old and above. They display less understanding of and trust in the Internet, and therefore hold less interest in broadcasting and sharing their preferences with others. If this demographic is the core audience you intend to reach, there is most likely better ways of doing so than investing time and energy in social media.

Mix-n-Minglers make up the second-largest user group at 19%. These are active participants in multiple social networking avenues, and this group enjoys following brands in order to receive additional information about them, particularly deals, discounts, and specials. Mix-n-minglers are open to meeting and befriending people online, and they are influential within their networks. This is the perfect group to target when your company or organization is running a promotional deal or introducing a new product.

Onlookers make up the third-largest group, accounting for 16% of your total audience. This group spends a good deal of time browsing social media networks, but usually refrains from active participation (i.e., posting, retweeting, pinning, etc.) This group employs social media primarily to keep up with what is going on with the people and products around them, but shy away from providing personal information about themselves. Therefore, it is difficult to determine the type of impression you are making on this particular group.

Trailing close behind the Onlookers are the Newcomers, which represent 15%. This group is also somewhat passive, as they are still unfamiliar with and overwhelmed by the endless options and logistics of the world of social media. This group has joined in an effort to avoid feeling outdated or left behind, and want to enhance their Internet savvy and online experience. This is a good group to target, as you can be the one that interests and motivates them enough to become a heavy social media user.

A small segment of social media users are known as Cliquers (6%). These users are loyal to one social networking platform, and nine times out of ten that website is the media giant Facebook. This group mainly consists of women that employ social media as a means of sharing photos, status updates, and comments with their friends and family. They are active and influential only with this small network of online connections. This is a great group to target if you are in a female-dominated consumer industry (retail, cosmetics, clothing and accessories, etc.), particularly if your main form of online promotion is through Facebook.