Charlene Li at Forrester knows her stuff. A while back I posted about her study on calculating blog ROI back in late January. That study enabled corporate marketers to back up their desire to engage with customers in social media. The newest study from Li is just as insightful.
The Social Technographics study which she posted about on her blog looks at how US adult Internet users participate social media. What I personally like about the research is that it is technology independent looking at interaction levels. Here is the chart:
Here are some thoughts on each rung:
Inactives: As you can see, over 50% of users are still not engaging with social content. This number is shrinking and will continue to do so as more boomers move online and start creating.
Spectators: These people read blogs and watch videos, look at photos and listen to podcasts, but they do so without reaching out to either the creator of the content or other users.
Joiners: These people join social networking sites, create the basic profile and keep the information up to date. They're not really creating new content though.
Collectors: These people use RSS and tagging systems like del.icio.us and Digg. They crave new information, read frequently and store it away for future access.
Critics: These consumers are reading and commenting on blogs and posting ratings and reviews on sites like eBay and Amazon. They're not creating new content, but are adding to the conversation.
Creators: These are the bloggers, wiki editors, Flickr photographers, YouTube videographers and Twitterers. They're adding content to the conversation as well as commenting and tagging. These people are starting and perpetuating conversations everyday.
From a business perspective these rungs are important to creating successful social media strategies. Knowing where you readers/customers are on the ladder will help you reach them through your endeavors. If your audience is inactive, you are probably not going to shift them. However, if your audience is a spectator, creating content that makes them join and engage is the way to go.
Take a close look at this and apply it to your situation. I'd be interested to see if it answers questions you may have. I am going to move this into my presentations to help clarify the issue for people.
strategy, marketing, video, interactive marketing, user generated content, trends, social networks, social marketing, blogs, Twitter, Forrester, Charlene Li, tags, Conversations, technology, Techno//Marketer, Matt Dickman