Social Media Cycle
Lately, I have debated with myself whether I should close down my Facebook account. I am finding myself getting really annoyed with it. I’m not sure if it is the all the new ‘spammy’ things like Farmville, Mafia Wars and who friended who. I mean really who cares about who friended who and how your ‘Farm’ is doing…remember when it was just good old witty status updates and fun pictures!? During my time at Webtrends I got the opportunity to work with the fabulous Justin Kistner. As the Senior Social Media Manager at Webtrends, Justin definitely knows his stuff about social media and the web 2.0 world in general. I remember him talking about different stages people go through with how they use social media. This totally sparked my curiosity, so I thought I would do a little bit of research on the topic.
As it turns out there are 12 stages of how people use social media. From the blog 140 Characters I found just about every emotion, thought and action I’ve gone through from using social media. Currently, it looks like I’m stuck at #9 with Facebook. Yep, I am totally annoyed with Facebook! This is how the cycle works:
12 Stages of Social Media
- Inviting Everyone You Know
- Optional: Inviting the Wrong Person (skip to 9)
- Massive Use / Addiction
- Slight Abuse / Accidental Use
- Annoyance / Frustration
- Cutting Way Back
- “Going Dark” / “Taking a Break” / “Going Private”
- Acceptance / Renewed Curiosity
I’m not the only one who gets annoyed when people tweet about what song they’re listening to on Pandora or what they had for lunch…seriously, no one cares…they must be stuck at #7 or something! So, this made me wonder if companies have a cycle and where are majority of companies today in the social media cycle? It’s clear companies still worry about utilizing social media. Maybe they think they’ll lose control of their brand or simply that it will take too much time or they just have no idea where to start. Whatever it may be, companies know they need to get active in social media to engage their audience pronto. Clearly, there are companies that have embraced social media, like Comcast and Zappos. These two organizations are the poster children on how to use social media that works best for their audience and for the organizations values. Using the social media cycle above, I would say majority of companies, not all…not the innovators…are stuck anywhere between #1 and #4 in this social media cycle. Some companies are just curious wondering how to use social media, while other companies are building and running their social media strategy and programs. I’ve had many conversations with people who want to take their organization into the social media world, but just don’t know where to start and their main concern is that there are too many liabilities that come along with it.
To me it’s simple, do your research. Get to know your audience, where are they at…is it Twitter, Facebook, blogging or all? Get to know the tools and channels that will work best for you and become an expert in them. And last, know what makes your audience tick…keep it interesting, engage them and create a relationship with them. Social media is about a dialogue, not a monologue, the point is to interact with your audience…so do it! We’re all out there because we want to be heard and want interaction with others and especially our favorite brands.
Using the cycle above, where do you think majority of companies are at in using social media? What do you think is the biggest challenge for companies and how can they overcome their concerns? Do you think this cycle is a way for companies to predict behaviors?