One of the highlights of the day-long track on Social Media & Video Strategies held in conjunction with Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose, was a presentation by industry leader Nate Elliott, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research on the Groundswell, a book based on analysis by Forrester Research on how they look at social marketing. All too often marketers launch a Facebook, Twitter or YouTube account without a social media strategy which according to Forrester is a backwards approach.
We had an opportunity to speak with Nate following his presentation and he described several practical, data-based strategies that companies can use to build their social strategy. According to Nate you need to look at consumer engagement and ask what they want. Social media has changed the way consumers participate in group action and if companies don't heed the Groundswell they could be dealing with a public relations disaster, like the viral video hit, United Breaks Guitars.
"We actually encourage marketers to use the POST method. Focus first on the People they are trying to reach, second on their Objectives and finally look at what Strategies they want to pursue and what Technologies are most appropriate for achieving those strategies."
Forrester's Social Technographics:
Forrester's Social Technographics® is a tool that classifies social media consumers into six overlapping levels of participation according to how they use technology. Based on their 2008 survey data Forrester was able to see how participation varies among different groups of consumers, globally. They've made available a consumer tool and a B2B tool that lets you rate the social technographics profile of your customers.
The Social Technographics tool is based upon a ladder that defines highly social interaction to spectators in ascending order. At each level of the ladder participants have the ability to influence a social media campaign.
- Creators - make social content go. They write blogs or upload video, music or text
- Critics - respond to content form others. They post reviews, comment on blogs, participate in forums, and edit wiki articles
- Collectors - organize content for themselves or others using RSS feeds, tags, and voting sites like Digg
- Joiners - connect in social networks like MySpace and Facebook
- Spectators - consumers of social content including blogs, UGC video, podcast, forum, or reviews
The biggest challenge for social media is proving success, it's very difficult for marketers to understand exactly what's happened with their social marketing campaigns and what impact that's had on their business. On brand impact, on sales and the things that actually matter to them as marketers. It's great to see that marketers are willing to spend some money to figure out some those challenges.