Taking influence from Forresters Groundswell, it is important to have a clear plan in place regarding the specific social tools to be utilised prior to initiating an social media exercise. For example, there is no point exclusively embracing Twitter when your organisations customers are using alternative social networks.The Social Technographics model (from Groundswell) is an effective method of determining how an organisations customers interact with social media and is a great way of determining which tool(s) to use moving forward.Categories include the following:

  • Creators – classed as the ‘top of the ladder’. Creators add content to an online community at least once per month
  • Critics – react to other content online
  • Collectors – Collect URL’s and content online
  • Joiners – participate in or maintain profiles on a social network
  • Spectators – Consume what others create (largest group)
  • Inactives – Don’t participate in any social networking activities

With a clearer understanding about how social media is being adopted by an organisation’s client base, it is then easier to determine which social tools should be utilised for engagement purposes and, more specifically, which tools should be used to share the value add content that is created as part of the inbound marketing strategy.If a social platform is embraced that is not used by customers, the saying ‘if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?’ is very apparent…Contradicting this statement, though, it could be argued that from an SEO perspective it can be useful to use variety of social tools to share and distribute content, as universal search is becoming more significant. Universal search sees Google including video and images within its organic search results, which, if optimised for, can be an effective way of achieving high rankings for competitive key phrases by using alternative content to standard web pages.With this in mind, using tools such as Flickr and YouTube, even in the event of customers not necessarily actively using these social networks, can still have some value.From an engagement and interaction perspective, though, it is best to choose the platforms that are used by your customers and where you can add most value. Success with social media is not about interruption, but is instead about engagement. Ultimately, that is difficult to achieve if your customers are hanging out elsewhere.What do you think? Do you take the time to profile your customers and prospects?Image Credit