Social Media Framing


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social-media-framing-hierarchyI’m a big fan of the people at Forrester Research and devoured the book, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, when it was published in 2008. I think they, well, wrote the book, when it came to defining a social media strategy.

The one thing that’s changed over the course of four years and, in the wake of Google’s Panda update, is that website owners must now all be “Creators.” At the time, this profile ranked the second lowest for U.S. adults online at 18%. Most of us still prefer to remain “Spectators.”

Chris Jones @SourcePOV brought the complexity of social media measurement and strategy into sharp relief in outlining the 5 Stages of Social Media Maturity. The key concept in social media engagement is how, when, why and where to energize your customers or constituents. And each target audience requires a unique approach and possibly a different technology platform.


The idea of compiling a number of strategic marketing documents can seem daunting. The Twitter community that Chris engages with attempted to simplify the process for us. Interestingly, the eight capabilities they outlined haven’t changed since Forrester began its research back in 2007.

  1. LEARN – Gain insight via shared content.
  2. SHARE – Exchange of ideas, news, pictures.
  3. PROMOTE – Establish awareness of new ideas, concepts, brands, products; in traditional media; in Web 1.0 this was a “broadcast” strategy.
  4. NETWORK – Engaging, connecting beyond local borders, creating multiple, diverse connections which results in resilience, and creates a foundation for collaboration.
  5. SUPPORT – Helping others, answering questions, providing input.
  6. EDUCATE – Using teacher paradigm to inform, influence, expand horizons, spread knowledge, get people thinking.
  7. INSPIRE – Motivate, lead, change, with broader societal or cultural aspirations than simply promote or educate.
  8. COLLABORATE – Serendipitous or planned connections with others, working in self-organizing teams to share insight, expand viewpoints, co-create, integrate, and ultimately, synthesize results into a useful form.

Anyone reading the above list can see why social media is referred to as “transformational.” Then, once social media became measurable, pundits labeled it a “disruptive” technology.

Social Media Compared to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

When I read the above list, I thought of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where “learning” is equivalent to getting your basic needs met and “collaborating” is equal to self-actualization. People are motivated by different things depending where they fall on the scale or hierarchy. The higher you are on the ladder or pyramid, the more complex the interaction. social-media-maturity

Maslow referred to this as “metamotivation,” which is why measuring social interactions is so challenging, yet fascinating. How do you measure the sentiment of a customer who strives for constant betterment? Does a measurement model exist for beingness?

But this is what we must strive toward as marketers and communicators. The Internet changed how products, goods and services are sold; social networking platforms and tools change the psychology of why we connect and care.

Attribution: Chris Jones @SourcePOV, extended by #SMCHAT Community Fall 2011

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Nicolette Beard
As a former publisher and editor, I'm passionate about the written word. I craft content to help drive the autonomous customer experience (CX) revolution. My goal is to show call center leaders how to reduce the increasing complexity of the customer journey.


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