ep25 - Know Your Customer on Social Media: Enneagram Type Four

show Oct 06, 2021

I'm honored to {virtually} sit down with my colleague, mentor, and friend, Emily P. Freeman, to talk about how Enneagram 4s experience social media.

I'm on a mission to discover what the Enneagram can teach marketers about the personality of their one, perfect customer.

Emily is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of five books, including The Next Right Thing: A Simple Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions. She is also the co-founder of hope*writers, a thriving online membership community of over 3,600 writers. 

During this interview, we cover:

  • Navigating all the feels on social
  • How to stop Emily's scroll
  • Being your authentic self on social


About My Guest:

Emily P. Freeman is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of five books, including The Next Right Thing: A Simple Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions. With a master’s degree in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Friends University where she serves as a Residency Lecturer, her most important work is to help create soul space and offer spiritual companionship and discernment for anyone struggling with decision fatigue.

Emily is also the co-founder of hope*writers, a thriving online membership community of over 3600 writers. She has been a featured speaker for Renovaré, Anglican Mission in the Americas, Faith and Culture Writers Conference, and The Apprentice Gathering. Her writing has been featured in Today Parents, Christianity Today, and Patheos. Her nationally ranked podcast, The Next Right Thing, has more than 12 million downloads and she regularly offers perspective and clarity for her more than 100K followers on Instagram. Emily lives in North Carolina with her husband and three teenagers.


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Megan: Hello, and welcome to Megan's Social Media Marketing Show. I am so excited for today. 

Today, I get to talk to the lovely Emily P. Freeman, and we will be talking about knowing your customer through the Enneagram. Emily is an Enneagram Type Four, and I will bring her on here in just a moment to tell you all about her experience, navigating social as a type four. 

Megan: . Well, for those of you out there who may not know Emily, would you tell us a little bit about yourself family? 

Emily: I would love to. Well, first of all, thank you for having me here. This is super fun. You're one of my favorite humans. Y'all if you don't know, Megan and I have been working together at hopewriters since, I mean, it's been over three years now, so I feel like I've gotten to know you as a boss person, but also just as a friend. And so I love the work that you're doing. I think it's fantastic. So I'm in North Carolina. I've lived here for, I don't know, 25 years, hope I never have to leave. My husband, John, and I recently celebrated 20 years of marriage. But I do my best and most favorite work when I'm standing at the intersection of Faith and Creativity. And especially when I get to talk about anything having to do with discernment, decision-making, writing, lots of fun things kind of intermixed in there. So I host a podcast called The Next Right Thing and my most recent book came out in 2019 by the same name. 

Megan: Wonderful. Well, let's dig in. Let me introduce a little bit of what we're talking about today. So the Enneagram is this ancient wisdom system that pairs modern psychology that tells us our inner motivations, right? Why we do the things that we do and on social media. As business owners and marketers, as thought leaders, our job is to influence people to action. And so I'm kind of pairing these two ideas to try to help businesses owners, entrepreneurs, and marketers, to figure out if they have type fours in their audience, which they do because everybody has all the numbers. But particularly if your audience has a large number of type fours, is how to really serve well. 

How to not only make them feel welcome and encouraged, but how to influence them to action. So my buddy, Emily, agreed to come on and talk about her experience as an Enneagram Four, and just, I hope this is, this feels like a unique topic for you because I'm asking you, as a person, not as maybe Emily P. Freeman, the brand, but just, you sitting there on your couch at night scrolling. Like, what are you doing? What's your secret social life? So I'm excited to chat about that today. 

I would like to, as we get started, just so people kind of know what a Four is, I'm going to read a script for you. This is, it's Take Care of Your Type: An Enneagram Guide to Self - Care. 

Emily: I don't have that one. 

Megan: Oh, I love it. It's fantastic. Christina Wilcox wrote this one and it is great for, I mean, it definitely read my mail in a new way of like, oh, I was like, I didn't realize that was, I knew I liked that, but I didn't know why, how to self care, different types of self care for your type.

So Enneagram Fours are often referred to as the individualists and creators of our world. They are the ones who walk into a room and want to be the most unique and interesting people there. They are the friends you always go to when you need emotional validation, they encourage you to explore the depths of your feelings and usually see themselves as being exceptional or exceptionally flawed or different from everyone else.

They are naturally inclined toward living a life of self-expression. However, they define it, living their life to the fullest means striving for beauty and their passions and finding who they really are. They are often called individualists or creators because not all of them are creative in an artistic sense, more than anything, Type Fours, simply want to be individualistic.

Each Type Four has a different idea of what that looks like, however, and they are usually rather sensitive and introverted and they're constantly longing for something they feel is missing in their lives, whether it's material thing or personally. So that was a lot, and sometimes it's hard to hear or read a hard description like that, but what in that there, Emily resonates with you, is that true?

Emily: Well, true to type, I don't think there's any description that ever feels fully true. So we'll go ahead and get that out of the way. But I definitely think there is that individualistic piece of it, which is interesting because there's also, I think that description that is often used, usually the one that's, the shortest is the one that probably gets under each type skin the most, because it's like, ‘but that doesn't fully encompass, you know?’

And I think that idea of wanting to be the most unique person in the room. I get that, but I think that part is like, well, but it's really more, I think that the, longing of the Four is to be fully herself. And, I think knowing that if, if we can each be fully ourselves, then we know that. By default, then you're going to be unique because you're the only one of you that there is.

So it's less in comparison to others to be the most individual of all the people. It's more to be most fully myself of who I really am. And I don't, I know that might sound like, well, you're splitting hairs here, but that's literally what we do. Uh, we try to get like, but let's really look at the biggest fear of a four.

The way I experience it is. To not have a sense of self or to be misunderstood. And so if, if you know, talking about scrolling social media, if someone is saying, well, this is what Type Fours are like, and it doesn't sound right. Then guess who's going to be the first to object, like, well, but because there is that fear of like, you're, it's not so much, like you're trying to put me in a box.

I'm happy to be in a box. As long as it's the right box. So do not miss define what this is. So I think that that's kind of the piece about before, and by the way, I will tell you Megan, severe unique, because I don't do a lot of talking about Enneagram anymore. I don't do a lot of public talking about the Enneagram, because I think that exactly what you just said about the description.

There's such a longing for an authenticity and a depth of understanding in all areas of life. And so when the Enneagram seems to have been condensed to a meme or like which friends character are you, you know, like, I, I think that's super fun, but at the same time, I do think, like you said, the Enneagram is an ancient tool that's been used.

So many years, it only took us what, five years to record all up here on the internet, just like briefly, we just kinda ran it through the mud, but I do think it's a really helpful tool for transformation and to help us understand ourselves and each other. So that was a lot of words. Hopefully that was helpful.

Megan: No, it's very helpful at that authenticity piece, the authenticity piece I hear and see most often come up on social media for sure. And. This isn't necessarily, this conversation isn't necessarily about this, but why don't we just go there? Like how authenticity and being on social media, it, everyone, I feel struggles with that.

Like, what is the self that's here? How am I representing me and all of that? How, how do you reconcile that as you are scrolling and commenting and posting. 

Emily: Yeah. It is such a great question. And I think. I won't speak for all, but I think Fours in particular can get really tripped up here. And we are probably the ones who are the most likely to like, show up on Instagram and be like, I'm out of here because this place is, you know, like there could be, we can put on airs about it.

Like we are, we see things differently than the rest. And, and sometimes, honestly that we do, there's a giftedness there. There's also a shadow side. I think for me doing this work online, I've had to do a lot of work of separating out what it means to be authentic in my work, because it is really difficult for me to show up on Instagram and to say, oh yeah this is just my personal Instagram, or this is just my business.

Guess what? I'm one person, it's all one thing. I'm not going to have a separate account for my work and a separate account for my personal, I don't think there's a thing wrong with that. If people choose to use Instagram differently, I just choose to kind of put it all together. Cause I'm just all a one human.

But I think something that I've had to make peace with Megan and speak kind of authenticity piece is recognizing that. You can be authentic, but that doesn't mean you have to tell everything there's a difference between being authentic and being exposed. And for me, I think sometimes we think if we're not sharing everything, we're struggling with everything that we question.

Every doubt we have, every joy we've celebrated, then we're not being authentic. And I think that's kind of an, that's kind of a young way of thinking about it. And as we mature and grow, we record. It's healthy to have boundaries and filters. And there are small circles with whom we can share our most authentic selves, but it doesn't mean that the piece that I share on Instagram isn't really me.

It just means that I'm being a professional, or I know where my boundaries are. And this is a, this is a platform for a particular part of what I do, but it's not a platform to display everything.

Megan: That's very true. So when you are scrolling and commenting and liking all that, what is an average day look like for you on social media?

Where are you? What platforms and what are you doing? 

Emily: That's that's a good question. I'm going to have to be self-reflective here, which is one of my favorite things to do. I spend more time on Instagram than any other platform when it comes to social. I think, I mean, someone came up with combining images and words together.

Emily: Are you kidding me? I love all of that. I reward beauty and depth of insight with my likes, my comments, my shares. So I think that just as a person, as a user. So when I see something that's. That's lovely. That has some thought to it that has a point of view. That's what I'm going to like comment share, because I can't help it.

It's just, it draws me out. I think when I. And that doesn't mean to say that I don't also love laughing on social or, you know, I have, I use, I'm a very avid user of the save the bookmark and putting them into like the category tabs, which of course they're organized, you know, by what I want to go back to.

And I'm often always putting into my folders and what are they called Megan? They're like 

Megan: Your saves.

Emily: My saves. That feels right. Yeah. What I'm often saving are things that elicit some type of emotion. You know, I think that I can, I internalize my feelings a lot. I think fours can get lost in our feelings, but also being.

People who are, who instantly know how we feel about something. We might not know instantly why, but I think we're very intuitive and we know we know how we feel about a thing. And I know that instantly when I'm scrolling Instagram, and if something elicits a strong emotion to me, whether that's. Or tears.

I almost always save it and I save it in last. I have a left safe file and I have a tear saved file, and sometimes I will go back and I will scroll through my little. And it's the most joyful thing a human could do is to scroll through what has made me laugh the years. And it's fantastic. And I did the same thing with tears and it's tears, not like booboo, I'm sad, but tears like, oh, this has moved me.

This has spoken to me in some way. And, and I, that those are the things I save and I have also other things that I say, but those are probably the most, those are probably the most often say things. 

Megan: Okay, so is it an accurate statement to say that you organized your saved material emotionally?

Emily: Correct.

Megan: Okay. All right. 

Emily: Yeah. And I also to be fair, I also have like a marketing file, like things that I see that people are doing that are beautiful and awesome. I will save in marketing. So I'd be like, I don't remember that, you know, and I have a like, feels like home file where something I'm scrolling in. This feels like something that I wanna incorporate my home, you know, but notice feels like home.

Megan: I caught that, that was great. Those to me are just the little nuggets that bring joy into my life. And knowing that Emily's folders are, are emotionally categorized as I watch. Oh, okay. So what is it that you, you went a little bit into like what you can't resist. So like things that really. Elicit some kind of emotion one way or the other, otherwise you're just scrolling on.

Is that correct? Like if you're not being triggered emotionally, that's what makes you keep scrolling? Is that accurate to say. 

Emily: I would say if, if I'm on a, I would say usually because I lead, we all lead with something, we all either lead with thinking or our gut instinct and I leave with my feelings. And so I think we've been maybe in some of us have been conditioned out of that because we've been told, like, you need to let your thoughts lead first and you know, that's not a bad way, but that's one of three.

Right. And so I just, I see the world through the filter of. Of my heart of feelings. And so, but that doesn't mean I'm always walking around laughing or crying, you know, it's, it's just, that's what, but that's where the connection first starts for me. So if I read something or I see an image that it it's, it's minuscule, right.

And again, it's like so quick, you know, it's not, it's not, I don't think about it. I just feel about it. And so if I'm scrolling through. Something in that image or in that quote graphic or something that connects with something in me that feels true. I'm probably going to stick around long enough to read the caption or I'm going to double tap because it's just immediately was this beautiful image.

And I might double tap before I've even read the caption because I like the photo and then I'll read the caption. And so yeah, I would say that is definitely what tends to stop. My scroll is a connection to some type of. Emotionality or some type of yeah. Feeling in some way.

Megan: Oh, that's good to know.

What are your pet peeves? Like? What are the things that you're like? Oh, so, ah, I want them to stop doing that. 

Emily: Megan, this is unpopular, but I'm just going to say it. I just, I'm just a little tired of all the pointing and the dancing. I know that that's a thing that people do and some, and you do it really well.

I will say you do it. You are one that I have not unfollowed. But I'll say that there is because I do value like a little bit more stillness and quiet. That is not social media, right? Like that's not what gets rewarded on social media. But I will say if you're asking what my pet peeves are, it's some of the.

It's this and we, you know, I just, that's kind of, that's kind of the I'm a little bit grieving and I, listen, I am all about like, learning how to use reels in a way that's authentic to me. And that fits like I am not against the reels. I think like I love to learn the new platforms that I love to, but I will say I am grieving a little bit that.

It is so moving, everything moves now. Like when I scroll everything that I scroll and see is something that's moving like a fit, that's a video or a reel or something. And I understand that and I don't want to like the old lady, like the good old days when we just posted the others, but it is, it's a, it's a getting used to for me personally.

Megan: I have heard that a lot, the grieving of the way that it used to be. Uh, but as you said, as part of being, holding, both being a business person in the world, you know, like being a marketer on the one side, like absolutely in your personal social media life, do what's spot and do what you like. And. Yeah, absolutely.

But as part of part of being. Uh, if you want to evolve with what everybody else is resonating with you either you have to learn how to shape it. And again, authentically to who you are. Totally. You, Emily doesn't have to do the pointing. I don't want to do pointing, right? Yeah. Yeah, but I, I wholeheartedly believe that everyone can find a way to make it work authentically for them and their brand and their company and whatever they're trying to accomplish.

Like, we don't have to do the new things all the time, but. We can find a way to evaluate it. Is this good? Is this the way I need to go and then find a way to do it authentically? 

Emily: I think you do such a great job of teaching that Megan. And I think that I'll speak for the, for myself as a. R T my tendency sometimes is to throw the whole thing out.

But my, but my grown-up hat, right? Because it hope writers. We talk about balancing the art and the business of writing. And I talk to writers all the time. We'll speak to writers for a second writers all the time who are like, I just want to write, I just want to craft my words. And, and my, my I'm a four with a three wing.

So my three comes out and I'm like, Okay. That's beautiful, crafted, beautiful words. But also if you want people to read them, you have to know the business. And so on Instagram, just if you just want to post photos and posts. You do you, but you cannot then complain that nobody is paying attention. And so that's the same thing in writing.

It's like, you get to do what you want to do, but you have to know that this is going to lead to a certain conclusion. And so if you want to be a professional writer, or if you want to grow your Instagram account, if you have that goal, Then there are certain things to learn and to adapt and to make authentically you.

But we can't shake our fist at the machine at the, the way that people pay attention. We have to learn people and find our way to be compassionate towards people and show up as our full selves. But I'm like, you know, I'm, I'm over saying, I just get to do it this one way. And then I expect the same results that I would get if I were to do it the way that, you know, kind of quote unquote work.

Megan: Absolutely our friend, Chris Camilli says, I often want to throw the whole thing, but she keeps going. It keeps you going and do you do it for yourself? 

Emily: It's helpful to find people who, who feel the same way and you can have your little side conversation. Like I hate the dancing. Yeah, me too. But then you find a way to adapt because if you just peace out, that's fine.

Maybe you can have your peace of mind, but then also. You're probably not going to grow your Instagram or reach more people with thing you're doing and you just have to make peace with that. That's your choice. 

Megan: Yeah, absolutely. 

So if I could do a little round Robin here of the other socials, we talked a lot about Instagram.

We both love Instagram. We do our favorite favorite, but there are so many other options out there. Yeah. How do you feel? Do you use Facebook? Does Facebook have a place?

Emily: Facebook has a place. But I don't use it. I use it for private groups only. For a while I kind of posted some things there. It is a great, whenever I did use Facebook I got the most engagement when I would ask questions on Facebook and be able to hear answers in the comments and kind of collaborate that way.

But I have just decided to choose one platform for now and it's Instagram. So, so I do think that I think any platform can be. Tweaked for your own personal way that you want to do it the way that you exist in the world. And I, Facebook is one of them, for sure. Don't happen to personally love it.

Twitter. I think Twitter now I will say I was for awhile, really active on Twitter for the last year. I've been pretty much completely silent on Twitter, but I think that's a different type of platform. I think as a for that can be a I think some people are like, oh, No, I think it's, you just have to learn the language there.

Right? You have to learn and find your people. And I think, I think fours can find a really lovely place on Twitter by entering into conversations, by connecting with other people. I think it's a great place for writers to have connection and to But to not show up and say words and then disappear.

That's not Twitter. You have to kind of be engaged and involved. It's a, it's conversational and it's it's kind of a, a place where you could, if you want it to be a really good listener and learn a lot. But honestly, because it's not image-based if I have a hard time, because I'm so visual that I that's why like Instagram slash 

Megan: Twitter is very relational.

I don't think people realize that. Yeah. If you just pop in and out, you're not going to build a really big, good. I don't want to even say following there because it's, it's more about the conversations. It's more about the back and forth and people. Aren't going to have conversations with you. If you were like, Hey, and then leave.

Emily: Yeah, it's not like I'm going to just post my blog posts there, know that you're on Twitter to be on Twitter, to be in that platform, engaging in the ways that you engage there. But I know people who have like met some of their closest friends through Twitter, you know, and people that they are in masterminds with because of Twitter.

That's just not the place right now where I'm, you know, doing most of my. 

Megan: Are you a pinner? Pinterest?

Emily: I only do it for personal, for my own personal. I don't, I don't do it for business, but I, so I have no idea how Pinterest works. Like I don't understand. I don't understand. From a business side, you know, but I definitely understand how it works when I want to know, like I learned everything about Pinterest from the nester who is my sister and I am always in there pinning things to my autumn board, my winter board, my summer board.

And so things that feel like, you know, the seasons. So that's kind of primarily I use Pinterest. 

Megan: Yeah. It's very visual. Yeah. Yes, yes. I can see that. Uh, YouTube, 

Emily: I don't use. 

Megan: No only like if somebody sends you a video or something like that, you might. Yeah. 

Emily: But I'm not to me. Well, in my house, YouTube is for my 15 year old son. I'm not, I'm not Googling things on YouTube. I don't even know how you say that. Searching things. I don't, I'm not, that's not my life, but that is not bad. It's just not my life. Okay. 

Megan: So maybe it's fair to say, I'm going to get no  Tik Tok for you. 

Emily: I, again, I just I've just sat on there and partly it is like just choosing, I've just chosen one.

I think I do have, I do have my name on Tik Tok. Like I have an account, but I lost my login information. And so I'd have to reset that to log back in. 

Megan: Not worth it. 

Emily: Maybe one day it will be. 

Megan: Okay. So we're, we're nearing the end of our time here. I, I do want to just say that I always post like, Hey, what, what might you want to hear about in any gram number?

Whichever one we're doing. And let me tell you, the fours showed up here. Here's just one comment from. Kierra joy Craig. She said, and this was the general feel of post event. , how do you scroll and not feel all of the feelings and want to reach out to every single person I can handle Instagram because I treat it as networking.

Facebook newsfeeds gives me panic attacks. And one time I went on Twitter to set up my account and my heart started racing immediately. 

Emily: That's funny. 

Megan: I know. So how. I think we talked about a little bit, but feeling all the fields are managing that. 

Emily: Yeah. Yeah, because I would, yeah, I would, I would say I wouldn't try to not feel your feelings.

I would never advise someone to not feel the feelings. But it sounds like your, quite your reframe of the question was accurate that it's actually managing those feelings. For me personally, I never struggled with feeling like I need to reach out to everyone on Instagram or answer every DM or cause I, I personally can't do that.

I have to decide why I'm on Instagram and kind of. And then also in that decide why I'm not on Instagram. So I don't struggle with feeling like I need to reach out to everyone. I think more mine would be the feelings of seeing what all the people are doing. And then thinking like, oh, that's such a great idea.

Or, oh, I could do that too. Or, oh, if only I had more time kind of that pull of everyone else knows what they're doing and I am missing something vital I need in order to have that same knowledge. I think that's, you know, the missing piece syndrome that. I can kind of feel as an Enneagram for, I think that's kind of a four thing.

And I would say that the thing that's helped me the most with that to answer ish answered the question is recognizing that and recognizing that as Bernay brown would say, the story I'm telling myself is not necessarily the story. That's true. And I'll say Megan learning. My type any room for, and seeing in print that any reinforces often feel like there's something missing that they need that is vital for life and health and wellness.

And they don't have it. I'm seeing that in print actually gave me so much peace because then it helped me. Oh, maybe that maybe there's not something missing, but that's, that's the story we're telling ourselves, but the story isn't true. And so that has been for me the most liberating and freeing thing as I scroll Instagram.

I mean, isn't that crazy how the Enneagram can help inform how we scroll Instagram, but it can. And so that's, that has been the most helpful awareness for me. 

Megan: So thank you. And I think, I might have to just redo the series again and do it on how do marketers handle being on all of these different, like you as a creator?

How do creators handle that? Because that was all the other questions. And I was like, we can't cover all of that. Maybe we'll do that in a whole another series. And we haven't got, gosh, talk about that portion. ? So I think, well, well, we'll just end on this one.

How really can we support you Emily? On obviously we can follow you on Instagram. We can all go there, but what else can we do to get more of Emily? 

Emily: Oh, what a question, Megan. You know, I would say, I mean, speaking of, since we're just talking Instagram, let's just do that. I think one of the most friendly things that we can do for each other on Instagram is when something resonates to share it.

And I am guilty of not doing that as often as I think about doing it, I often think, oh, that was so good. And then I keep moving, but, but if you're asking, I think that's probably. The thing that's the most helpful when it comes to this, this social platform is is sharing things that resonate. And I am, I have a high value on connection as a high value for me.

So when I see something's resonating, I'm like, oh, yay. It connected. You know, because that's such a high value. So that, that's what I would say. 

Megan: Okay. Share if you, if it connects with you share. Yep. Absolutely. That is a practice that I realized it's recently even like, wait, I'm on here all the time.

My focus is on responding most times , but I am not like the people that I love. I love their accounts. I consume everything since they have huge followings and that they don't need to hear from me. They know they're great. Right. I have started as a practice to like actually comment and actually interact with those people who I love.

And I watch everything and I read everything they put out there and I'm like, oh, shocked to know that they respond. Wow. You know, like it's probably, so if you, if you, anyone out here is watching and it feels like, oh, I'm a leader. Emily knows. She knows how great she is. And she doesn't mean my affirmation.

You heard it, she wants you to like, and comment and share. She wants you to tell. How it impacted you because that's why we're here socialist. That's right. So media is social no more. It's in the title. All right. Well, thank you so much, Emily, for spending your time here today. It is so precious, obviously where we are in the middle of a busy work week this week.

I appreciate anymore that you would take the time out to do this. 

Thank you so much. 

Emily: Thank you, Megan. I love that. Listen, final plug for you. The work you're doing is really beautiful. I think you were an excellent example of a marketer who's heart-based who knows the business, your Sunday saves that you share on Instagram of the things that you found that week.

I watched them every single time. So thank you for the really beautiful work that you're doing. 

Megan: I appreciate that so much. All right. Bye-bye thank you.