Social Networking has given a whole new meaning to the World Wide Web. The network of one individual branches off to that of another, and so on to create an interconnected web of users who communicate with and influence each other. While this presents great marketing opportunities to companies, it also changes the way they communicate with their targets.
In addition to segmenting consumers based on demographics and psychographics, companies leveraging social media must consider the social habits of their target market. This becomes all the more difficult when consumers change adopt new social media habits as new applications enter the market place.
Let’s think of social media as a board game. Now, given the dynamism of social media and its types of users, we can rule out Monopoly and other games where players move around the board in a linear fashion. No, in the world of board games, social media would be more like Hasbro’s Chutes and Ladders.
Users climb the ladders by joining new social networking sites and creating and sharing content on them. Then some slide down the chutes when life gets busy and they don’t have time to post or when they simply lose interest in the sites. Below you’ll learn who’s climbing up ladders, who’s sliding down chutes and who’s in the winner’s circle. See how the game plays out!
Now that you’ve seen how the game is played, it’s time to learn a bit more about the players’ personalities. Are you an Absent Adam, a Novice Nancy, a Wallflower Wendell, a Social Sally, a Networking Nathan or an Influential Isabelle?
Absent Adams are most likely males who are 65 or older. They have not logged into a social media site in the past 30 days. In addition, Absent Adams don’t like to broadcast their activities or interests and they generally are not trusting of technology. They are learning to become aware because of influences in their life, but are not completely ready to dive in. In essence, Absent Adams are on the start square of the Chutes and Ladders board.
Novice Nancys use only one social network, which they have joined because they are afraid that they will be left behind. Their biggest reason for using social media is to enhance their online relationships with friends and family. Hence, they are located at the beginning of the second row up on the board, and have not climbed any ladders to get there.
These users could be on several social networks, but they rarely post on any of them. Instead, they use social media to observe and keep up with the lives of their friends, families and other people they know. They generally want to have total control over their information online, so they rarely share details about themselves. Wall-Flower Wendell can be found about a third of the way up on the board. He climbed a ladder higher (by joining multiple networks), but slid down a chute due to her limited posting.
Social Sallys are women and use just one networking site, generally Facebook or Twitter. However, they are very active on these sites: posting and sharing content like photos and status updates multiple times a day. They tend to have a small circle of friends and family, but they are influencers in these groups. Their level of engagement on the social media site that they use earns Social Sallys a spot about half way up on the board.
Networking Nathans are active on numerous social media sites. They tend to meet friends online, “check in” and have a great deal of influence in their networks. What’s more, they like to follow brands on these sites so they can get offers and keep up with any news from these companies. These two facts combined make Networking Nathans attractive to marketers. They’re located about 3/4s of the way up the board, and have climbed a few ladders to get there.
Influential Isabelles are the most attractive users to companies because they are the most active and engaged on social media sites. In addition to controlling online conversations and using social media for self expression, they frequently engage with brands on social media. In fact, they will become ambassadors for the brands they like most. Unfortunately, these are the least common type of users, making it that much more important for your brand to appeal to them. Essentially, in the Chutes and Ladders of social media, Influential Isabelles are the winners.
So what does this all mean for your social media strategy? First, this shows that you must be on a wide array of social networking sites, not just one! If you are only on Twitter, your messaging will miss those Wallflower Wendells and Social Sallys who are only on Facebook. What’s more, being on multiple sites will allow you to gain exposure with the desirable Networking Nathans and Influential Isabelles. Ultimately though, you must recognize that a strong social strategy is meant to support, not replace, your efforts in building a great brand and offering products that consumers believe in. If your company succeeds in this, then you can grab the attention of the Influential Isabelles who will gladly boast your brand!