Say social media to business executives and many think squeaky wheels wreaking havoc on their brands and companies by broadcasting their complaints to the listening public. Contrary to what managers may think, most people aren't actively contributing to the social media ecosphere. While it's true that companies must monitor the environment to understand how the public views their brands and products, most participants are lurkers who take a voyeuristic approach to social media rather than composing a video like Dave Carroll's United Breaks Guitars.
Social Media Participation Ratios
Social media interaction is relatively consistent across platforms.
According to Joe Cothrel, chief community officer at Lithium, a white label community provider, how the 1 percent of creators and 9 percent of contributors behave depends on the type of social media platform. Here are some specifics:
Jay Hallberg, vice president of marketing at SpiceWorks, a social business network for IT professionals, confirmed they see a similar trend. He advises that while 1 percent of your community may seem small, consider the actual number of creators.
Further, about 1 to 2 percent of inquiries require some form of company action. Often, this involves policing policy violations or answering questions. This rate is consistent with the findings of social media monitoring companies.
7 Ways to Encourage Participant Action
From a marketing perspective, here are seven suggestions to boost participation on social media platforms.
6 Metrics to Track the Impact of Social Media Participation
To measure the impact of social media participation on your business, here are six metrics to track.
While a few super users can give the illusion that most social media participants actively create content 24/7, the reality is that these creators account for 1 percent of visitors. From a marketing perspective, consider the 1 to 2 percent of interactions that require your company to take proactive action since these can be an early indicator that you have an issue. To this end, have strong brand and company social media monitoring in place to ensure that you're on top of any issues that may arise.
In terms of the number of participants and types of interactions, what has your firm's experience been? Please share your views in the comments section below.
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Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital, AccuWeather.com, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.
Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.
Heidi is also a popular speaker on current industry topics.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT