Best practice approach to social computing

24Apr07

Forrester Research in their recent Social Technographics report has hit the nail on the head in helping to explain how companies should approach social computing.

Charlene Li in her blog explained some of the key points:

Many companies approach social computing as a list of technologies to be deployed as needed – a blog here, a podcast there – to achieve a marketing goal. But a more coherent approach is to start with your target audience and determine what kind of relationship you want to build with them, based on what they are ready for. 

Forrester explain that consumers have 6 different approaches to technology participation. Their metaphor of a ladder shows this, with the rungs at the top indicating a higher level of participation.

Forrester Social Technographics Participation Ladder

Company pursuing social technologies should analyze their customers’ Social Technographics first, and then create a social strategy based on that profile.

Using the “participation ladder” companies will be able to figure out which social strategies to deploy first – and also how to encourage users to “climb up”, so to speak, from being Spectators to becoming more engaged. Forrester do not believe that everyone is cut out from the start to be a Creator; nor is everyone inclined to jump with both feet into social networking.

Companies seeking to engage customers with these new tools need to understand where their audiences are with this categorisation and then create bespoke programmes for them. This piece of Forrester research comes at a great time when companies throughout the world are struggling to come to terms with how to reach-out to their customers.

Too often I have seen a ‘one size fits all’ methodology into new media outreach. Hopefully, this kind of research will push vendors to consider that different approaches need to be taken dependent upon the micro-audience that are targeting.

 

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11 Responses to “Best practice approach to social computing”

  1. Just found your site through Sixty Second View, really enjoyed the read!

    Lots of stuff that I wanted to comment about, but running to get to work. This post in particular I enjoyed, moving the conversation on from the 1% Rule that I usually use with clients. That’s the rule that in terms of web 2.0, there is only 1% of people who create new content and upload it to the web, 10% of people will interact with the content (add comments etc) and the other 89% will be passive readers.

  2. 2 Jonny

    Thanks Amelia. Really happy you like the blog.

    Your 1% rule is great – however, I do believe that if we took your stat and Forrester’s and reviewed them in a years time we will see a far greater amound content creators. I think our task is helping to push (and guide) people ‘up the ladder’ whilst making sure that our messages to them are specific to their motivations for taking part whilst matching that with their current usage level.

  3. hello there! i’m a bit confused with the data..I also read the last Hitwise study stating Amelia’s rule. I understood from Forrester study that that 1% is their 13% creators. Is that correct? how canit be so different?

  4. 4 Jonny

    Hi Caroline

    Thanks for your comment. I think the major difference in the numbers refers to the population that each of these surveys captured.

    The Hitwise one – looked at all users whereas the Forrester survey concentrated on adults.

    What this means is that as a proportion of internet users, 13% of adults create content compared to only 1% of the whole internet population (in the US).

  5. thanks for your answer Jonny. So I’ll keep Hitwise’s study for general purpose and Forrester more detailed approach to start working on a client’s strategy😉

  6. The ladder is great – thank you for providing that. I am off to check out Charlene’s blog next. However, a lot of the analyst coverage of Web 2.0 is focused on consumer adoption of social computing, this includes Forrester. Do you have any suggestions on where to go for hard numbers on adoption of Web 2.0 technologies by business people for business uses? Things like: amount of time business users spend on professional blogs, number of business people using RSS feeds to aggregate information and the like.
    Might be a good topic for a future post.

  7. 7 Jonny

    Thanks Chet

    I know that plenty of analyst houses are analysing the B2B side of 2.0 technologies – I will take your suggestion on board and publish something about this in the future.

    What I have noticed though is that consumers are largely the drivers and early adopters of 2.0. It is also becomg less clear how to differentiate when someone is working or doing non-work related tasks on their computers in the business setting.

    What this means is that we should look at how consumers are using technologies as this will be a good indication of what to expect in the B2B environment.


  1. 1 Ethnography and Technographics « Disparate
  2. 2 Web 2.0 makes up 12% of web traffic « Technobabble 2.0
  3. 3 Feeds and stats « Technobabble 2.0
  4. 4 Comparing Forrester's social technographics to twitter « Technobabble 2.0

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