Last week, a lot of you read my guest post about the ROI (return on investment) of social media.
There is no doubt that social media is changing the ways people
interact online and hence, the way companies communicate with their
The thing that is still missing is quantifiable data about these
interactions. We’re in a theory stage – we know what’s right because we
have experienced it – but we are still waiting for proof in numbers.
Forrester Research made a giant step in the right direction when they
introduced social technographics.
Social technographics is an analysis of consumers’ approach to
social media – not just which ones they use, but understanding how they
use the medium in their daily life. You can download the full report on
Forrester Research’s website (there is a fee) or read the book on the same topic published April 21, 2008: Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. (There is also a ton of free goodies at the Groundswell blog.)
I sat in on a webinar last week where Charlene and Josh expounded on
their work. Josh summed up the goal of this work: “Think about what you
want to accomplish, not the technology.” There is so much fascination
about what technology can do that marketers often forget the question
is what technology can do for you. The webinar came back
again and again with the message to use this data to inform a strategy
for your clients. (You can find the resulting Q&A published
How’s It Work?
Charlene and Josh categorize web users into six sections based on
the level of their activity, from Creators to Inactives. I have not
seen a clear but simple ranking system like this before and I certainly
hope it is accepted as an industry standard. The real value, however,
comes from their detailed analysis of each category’s activity.