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BizReport : Research archives : April 24, 2007

Forrester unveils "Social Technographics" report

A new report by Forrester Research has grouped social network users into six categories based on their level of participation, enabling marketers to develop more effective social marketing strategies.

by Helen Leggatt

Before being able to build a relationship with a consumer, it is necessary to know on what basis to form that relationship. Many companies employ a suite of Web 2.0 tools, such as MySpace homepages, blogs and podcasts, but according to Forrester Research, marketers should analyze their customers’ level of social networking participation, or ‘Social Technographics’, before developing any social strategies.

‘Social Technographics’, a term coined by Forrester Research, is based on a range of six user participation levels from ‘inactive’ through to ‘creator’. In a recent survey of 4,000 U.S. online adults Forrester found that over half, 52 percent, were ‘inactive’ and didn’t frequent social networking sites at all.

Of the 48 percent that did visit social networking sites, 33 percent were classed as ‘spectators’ choosing to watch podcasts, videos and read blogs but not to get involved. ‘Joiners’, (19 percent) join social networking sites, ‘collectors’ (15 percent) tagged websites and use RSS feeds and ‘critics’ (19 percent) post ratings and leave comments on blogs.

The topmost level of participation is ‘creator’ and comprised just 13 percent of respondents. Creators are akin to online publishers and regularly upload videos, maintain blogs, leave comments and add to the online content of social sites.

For marketers, understanding the level of participation of consumers will enable them to fine-tune their use of the various social marketing tools, and engage with consumers within their comfort level.

Charlene Li, author of the report and Forrester’s VP and principal analyst, refers to the “participation ladder” which, she says, can be used 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.”

Tags: Forrester Research, social media, social networking, social technographics

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