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New User Data for Your Social Media Marketing Plan

Posted by on January 19th, 2010
Posted in Blog, Nonprofit Fundraising, Social Media    Tags: , , , ,

Josh Bernoff’s article in Advertising Age, “Reaching Out to Conversationalists” points to important new changes in usage of Social Media. His article focuses on new user classifications from Forrester Research, which shows that the “old” ways of thinking about how people use social media need to be updated.

It used to be that we thought of social media users in terms of 6 main categories:

  • Creators – representing 24% of online users, creators publish blogs, publish Web pages, upload their own video and audio, and write and post their own articles and stories
  • Critics – (37%) Post ratings and reviews of products and services, comment on someone else’s blog, contribute to online forums and add to wikis
  • Collectors – (20%) Collect information using RSS feeds and add tags to Web pages and photos
  • Joiners – (59%) Maintain a profile on a social networking site
  • Spectators – (70%) Read blogs, listen to podcasts, watch video, read online forums and read tweets. They aren’t contributing themselves, but the do consume user-generated content
  • Inactives (17%) These folks do none of the above

*Note, users may be part of multiple categories, which is why this adds up to more than 100%.

Now Forrester Research has added a new classification: Conversationalists. Representing 33% of online users, these are people who update their status on social networking sites or post updates on Twitter at least once a week. They aren’t creating substantial new content like creators, but they’re doing more than just critiquing other content. They are part of a growing segment of the population that are participating in a larger online conversation with their networks of friends, peers, family and colleagues.

And as Bernoff points out, these aren’t just the kids. Seventy percent of conversationalists are over the age of 30. They’re 56% female, and they make more money than the average online consumer.

Why is this important to nonprofits? Because the people most in a position to support your organization are more and more also in a position to post tweets and updates about your organization. The new data show that 1 in 3 people online are participating in a global conversation. What if they were talking about your organization?

Now the idea of using social media to strengthen support for your organization isn’t new. What is new is the growing recognition that a sizable segment of online users are Conversationalists. It means that it’s time to take a fresh look at your social media marketing plan and ask yourself whether you are doing all that you can to engage people who could be tweeting and posting on your behalf.

It also means that if you don’t have a social media marketing plan, you’re late. It’s time to get started.

Keep the conversation going —
Does your organization have a social media marketing plan? How are you engaging Conversationalists?


Zach Hochstadt is a Mission Minded Founding Partner and runs Mission Minded’s Denver office, leading the company’s creative teams in the areas of message development, writing, graphic design, and web design and development.

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3 responses to “New User Data for Your Social Media Marketing Plan”

  1. i have tried social media marketing for getting our new products to be known on the market. it seems to work well specially if the audience is targeted .`

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