People have the desire to connect and Social Media is the new outlet to satisfy this need. If you’ve joined a social networking site, which most of you have, you’ll know that feeling I’m talking about. It’s like an addiction for some but for most, an enjoyable, informative and satisfying exchange that you can do from the comfort of your smartphone. This convenience has appealed to almost all of us and businesses might be smart to pay close attention to the varying preferences of our use. Is it worth their time to analyze the Social Technographics of their target markets and structure their Social Marketing strategies accordingly?
It’s interesting that we all have this need to connect; but with varying levels of actual participation. Based on the North American Technographics Online Benchmark Survey, Q2, 2010, 58% of US adults visit social networking sites while 43% update their profile status. Though only 12% publish or maintain a blog, 31% read them and 20% provide comments. A Social Technographics Profile is a way to group people based on the social media activities in which they participate based on the people-to-people interaction and the Forrester Research’s methodology of surveying (groundswell, 2011, p. 41). With these varying levels of activity, we can formulate a profile that best describes each individual.
These findings are categorized into groups. Critics enjoy reacting with comments and contributions to content online, in a slightly more engaged manor than Collectors, while Joiners like to participate in sites like Facebook and showed the most increase in 2007 from 25% to 59% among US adults. This, while Spectators are hungrily consuming all of it! A few years ago I would have classified myself as a Conversationalist, posting updates on social networking sites, but now I consider myself a Creator, along with 23% of online US adults, at the top of the Social Technographics ladder.
Do we really need to classify to such an extent?! Let’s find out.
What about an actual case scenario? Based on a study for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Survivor’s Network (ACSCSN), a non-profit organization, it was determined that even with a lower score on the profile, showing Creators at just 16%, but Joiners and Spectators at 52% and 68% respectively, the “community strategy” can still work. We know that disease sufferers, or people with health problems, often identify with others in similar situations, sharing information and coping strategies (groundswell, 2011, p. 58). We can then generalize that an online community or forum would be an effective online social strategy.
If we look at the not for profit Canadian Cancer society, they also have a community based network called cancerconnection.ca. There is an impressive array of resources available and visible online activity from categorized discussions, special interest groups and shared personal journals, to featured articles and live webcasts. Users can “like” journal posts and articles or share their own. It’s a bit overwhelming to see such a strong, thriving community of support and understanding.
It seems logical then, that for these users, the reason for participation, also categorized, would be due to the affinity impulse, or the driver to join and connect with people that share common interests and concerns (groundswell, 2011, p. 62). Other, more basic reasons for participating could include friendships, paying it forward, or the succumbing to the altruistic impulse, feeling like they “should” join.
So, is it worthwhile to measure the Social Technographics of your audience? To examine the tendencies of a group for which to base the development of social strategies and programs? If your business goal is an effective social presence aimed at your target market……then the short answer is yes!
Canadian Cancer Society Cancer Connection. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://wwwcancerconnection.ca
Charlene Li, J. B. (2011). groundswell. Forrester Research, Inc.
Forrester. (2013). You Tube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/6Pr3XWdJLOI.
Photos by William Iven: https://unsplash.com/photos/jrh5lAq-mIs and https://unsplash.com/photos/SpVHcbuKi6E