To help answer these questions Tomkin Consulting presents seven social media milestones. Used individually or together, these milestones can help businesses make sense of the available social media choices and improve their understanding of their audience’s engagement needs.
1. The identity milestone represents the extent to which people reveal who they are and how
much they care about what happens to their personal information online. In some cases, they will gladly share their real names and specific details about themselves. In others, they want to remain completely anonymous. Firms need to understand how members of their audience want to balance revealing their true identities and protecting their privacy, the wrong mix will put people off right away.
- The communications milestone is about how a firm and its followers communicate with each other. Some conversations are about staying connected maybe through short public status updates, others center around particular topics and create rich often lengthy discussions. Firms need to know how to curate these relationships in other words, when and where their users would like them to chime in to spark conversations, and when they should just sit back and listen.
- The sharing milestone addresses how users exchange, receive and distribute content. They could be sharing all sorts of things, such as videos, deals, funny post, pictures, links, and more! Firms need to know what their audience interest is and what they would want to see.
- The presence milestone covers the degree to which users can know if others are accessible. With GPS chips and mobile devices, this is increasingly easy and lots of people let others know where they are, what their status is, and if they’re ready to talk or meet. But firms should only ask for presence data if this is necessary. For social interactions on some platforms, location and availability matter. On other platforms, not so much.
- The relationships milestone focuses on how users are connected. Some social sites are about nurturing existing relationships, others about growing new ones. Building social relationships is very important online and offline; we live in a connected world where people feel most alone. Firms need to figure out how to support the relationship dynamics that are most important to their users.
- The online brand milestone focuses on how things such as brands products and people are viewed by others. In a social media setting, we often gauge our reputation by the number of followers, view counts, retweets and so on. When it comes to the quality measure of content, we tend to trust endorsements, suggestions from friends, and even anonymous reviews. People’s opinions matter. They drive a lot of traffic and engagement on social media sites. Firms need to think carefully about how they allow users to manage reputation. At times, we want to encourage other people’s opinion, while others we might want to turn that feature off.
Individually, these milestones are useful for understanding the engagement needs of social
media users, together they help explain how existing platforms add value by focusing on different
milestones. If you are ready to get serious about social media, Tomkin Consulting can help you
understand social media activities and develop a strategy for your community.