Apparently, It Was All About The Conversation

by Jason Falls |

Forrester Research’s Social Technographics Ladder has been the cornerstone of many social media marketing efforts constructed in the last few years. The inactives-to-creators rating of how people use social media essentially shows that most people are either inactive or watch the social web; a few join networks; some collect content; a few (about the same number who join) play critic, commenting on other’s works; and a small number actually create content.

In their latest report, Forrrester has revised the Technographics Ladder to add another type of participant — the Conversationalist — or someone who updates their status updates and participates in quick conversations on Twitter and Facebook. This development is interesting because for years social media evangelists have been preaching that, “it’s all about the conversation.” Guess they/we were right.

Forrester Research Inc.'s 2010 Social Technographics LadderThe report, written by Groundswell co-author Josh Bernoff, displays a new ladder that shows increases across the board in the percentage of people participating in each rung, except of course the “inactives” which dropped from 52 percent in 2006 to just 17 percent in the last quarter of 2009. Creators jumped from 13 to 24 percent in the same time frame; critics from 19 to 37 percent; collectors from 15 to 20; and joiners from 19 to an astonishing 59 percent.

If you had any doubts that social media would last, I think you can erase them now.

The new category of “Conversationalists” encompasses 33 percent of online participants. No so coincidentally, we talked about a marketing category of “Conversationalists” in Monday’s four methods of Twitter marketing post, along with one called, “Conversational Marketers.” The fact Forrester now recognizes this segment of online users is significant. It implies smart marketers should find ways to engage those consumers. Dare I say, “to participate in the conversation?”

Does this mean you have to market on Facebook or Twitter? No. But if 33 percent of the online audience is chatting it up, why not consider it? For more information about the Conversationalists, check out the report. Bernoff blogs about it on the Groundswell blog. I’ve said before think Forrester Reports are unbelievably useful, but a tad pricey. You can purchase it for $499 on the Forrester website. They do have a satisfaction guarantee.

What do you think this new designation means for marketers? How does it change your approach, if at all? Is this just a recognition of what we all knew already or is Forrester solidifying a notion we’ll all now take to market? The comments, as always, are yours.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).