Latest Research Insights for Social Media Marketers

Market Research Insights

Forrester’s 2010 Global Social Technographics® has tracked, changes in the behavior of U.S. social media users since 2007. It provides a more granular assessment of social media related activity than most marketers are used to thinking about. One thing clear form their most recent research is that 2010 marks an important inflection point for social media behavior in the U.S. It shows that three ways that things are changing big-time in the social media landscape. Here’s a snapshot of Forrester’s Social Technographics®:

Forrester’s Social Technographics®

3 Social media take-aways

For marketers incorporating social media into their mix targeted at the U.S., this research has three major take-aways, each of which has important implications for your 2011 plans.

  • Social media activity reached a tipping point. Most categories of Forrester’s U.S. social technolographics® have stopped increasing. This halted growth signals the end of the early adopter phase of social media and a relative maturing of U.S. social media activity. Since many of the prominent social media platforms originated in the U.S. and the potential user base is finite, this makes sense.
  • Creator behavior remains stable. Defined as developers and contributors of content in the form of blog posts, articles, web pages and audio/music, creators account for 23% of U.S. consumers or 41 million Americans. While this is still a sizable market, the lack of growth means marketers need to change how they treat this segment if additional user originated content is desired. This trend is echoed by eMarketer’s blogging  research, The Blogosphere: Colliding with Social and Mainstream Media. According to eMarketer, 12% of the online population actively contribute to blogs while over 50% of the online population read them. In part, eMarketer attributes the change to the introduction of other technology formats, namely Facebook and Twitter, that allow live streaming.
  • Joiners continue to grow modestly. Joiners, people who complete profiles on social networks, were the only U.S. segment still growing quickly. Although lower than other global locations, the 8 percentage point joiner increase, which was higher than the rate for other U.S. social media user categories, was close to the rate of growth for the Internet population. This indicates a more broad-based acceptance of social media platforms like Facebook. Understanding joiners’ social media behavior and motivations is critical to developing effective social media marketing programs. With an average of 150 connections, these consumers use social media networks to communicate with family and friends when compared to older formats such as phone and email. Social media allows for richer sharing using simpler technology to distribute this information more broadly. As a result, consumers increase their relationships with looser connections, such as college friends, former colleagues, more extended family members, friends of friends and acquaintances.

As a marketer, there are two implications to this research. The first is to modify your social media related marketing tactics to more directly tap into the power of the consumption and sharing habits of what has become an increasingly large and maturing social media user group. Secondly, with the maturing of the social media ecosphere, it’s important to start to incorporate social media across your company. This translates to having a social media manager and using social media across your organization.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

For further information regarding Forrester’s Global Social Technographics®, please read Jackie Rousseau’s post, The Latest Global Social Media Trends May Surprise You.

Photo credit: o5com via Flickr

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