Often one of the hardest challenge of engaging with Social Media is to find your voice.
It often involves trial and error as well as feedback from trusted friends.
This week I gave a presentation to the Future Leaders meeting in Sydney and as well as providing insight into what Social Media is, I talked through the process for getting engaged and identifying your niche.
Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the emergence of “Content Exchange networks”, as I predict significant changes in the value chain of content creation and distribution over the next few years.
Related to this is the changing impact to the news industry.
So it was with interest that I read Jeff Jarvis (of Buzzmachine)’s presentation that examines the changing business models for news publication and distribution in light of social collaboration. Jeff is planning to give the presentation to CUNYGraduate School of Journalismm, and has put a draft up on Slideshare for comment.
Gartner has released some new research which describes how various people engage in online communities.
Using the term “Generation V”, the research confirms that segments do not relate to age, gender, geographic location or social class, but instead are grouped by their interactions and behavioural usage preferences of digital media consumption.
The 4 levels of engagement in Gartner’s model are creators, contributors, opportunists, and lurkers.
The report suggests
Up to 3% will be creators, providing original content. They can be advocates that promote products and services.
Between 3% and 10% will be contributors who add to the conversation, but don’t initiate it. They can recommend products and services as customers move through a buying process, looking for purchasing advice.
Between 10% and 20% will be opportunists, who can further contributions regarding purchasing decisions. Opportunists can add value to a conversation that’s taking place while walking through a considered purchase.
Approximately 80% will be lurkers, essentially spectators, who reap the rewards of online community input but absorb only what is being communicated. They can still implicitly contribute and indirectly validate value from the rest of the community. All users start out as lurkers.
“Companies should plan to segment all four levels in the community – each has significant business value,” said Adam Sarner, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Differentiation exists between sectors and industries. Marketers with strong brands attract more creators. Certain industries, such as insurance, draw more lurkers.”
Successful communities support the needs of all four segments, and my research suggests that as communities grow, the percentage of each segment will remain relatively consistent.