The Engagement Pyramid
No, this isn’t some sort of marriage pyramid scheme 😉 . It’s a way to look at social media.
Charlene Li is a coauthor of the bestselling book Groundswell, one of the more popular social media books. She also founded the Altimeter Group, which I’ve used as a primary source over the last few posts along with Jeremiah Owyang, one of her colleagues.
One of the best ways I’ve seen of deciding how to utilize social media is the Engagement Pyramid.
The concept is to treat different customers differently, depending on how they use social media.
What you don’t do, for example, is start a facebook page if your target customers do not extensively use facebook. Pretty obvious in hindsight huh – but it looks like many retailers are jumping into facebook without first seeing if their customers are actually there.
Most of your potential customers almost certainly watch and read rather than actively engage in social media (blogs, facebook, twitter etc). Which is fine and worth keeping in mind when you feel like you’re shouting into the void (okay that was really a comment to myself ) .
Some of them will share
For example “liking” or retweeting. So make sure they can do so easily with plugins like ShareThis or the Facebook “like” (see the little icons at the bottom of this post).
Some will comment on your blog posts or forum discussions
You should keep your comments open not moderated IMHO to encourage this. You will be fine if you have spam plugins like Akismet and regularly check your email for notifications of comments.
Negative comments? Great. It helps you explain yourself better (and confirms you’re not shouting into the void).
You can choose to write helpful and insightful comments on another blog or forum (the jargon is “outposts“). This also shows your knowledge and piques potential customers’ interest. Note the links from your comments won’t help you with Google SEO (due to something called “nofollow“).
Some will produce their own blogs, and forum discussions
They are so involved in the topic they’ll even produce their own blogs – fools like me for example 😉 and the more talented folk like the wine bloggers I’ve been reviewing.
This will help you become recognized as the expert in (high margin) premium wines. But one who can take the next step and supply them. You can also reduce purchase risk (a major wine industry issue) by providing reviews and ratings, as well as insightful stories about the wine (your rep will help, I hope).
At the very top of the pyramid are what she calls “curators”
They pull together the best information and/or moderate forums and blogs. They may or may not publish blogs or fourm themselves.
Some of your best blog commenters could be recognized as key contributors and/or moderators. For example, try and pull together all the local Pinophiles etc in your local area and diplomatically prompt them to discuss your wine on your blog. Perhaps a tastings night with notepads and pens.
Social Media Technology
So what social media technology you use depends on the behavior of your customers. Which is actually Marketing 101 – but in this social media craze some commentators seem to be forgetting this.
Charlene calls this “Socialgraphics” which plays on marketing term “Pychographics“.
Demographics provides statistical data on a particular group of people. Pyschographics provides data on the psychology of particular groups of people buying brands. Socialgraphics is data on the social networks of particular groups of people.
This is how she puts it,
1) Where are your customers online?
Action: Don’t aimlessly approach social networks without knowing if they are there, if they are in Hyves (competing Dutch version of facebook), go there.
2) What are your customers’ social behaviors online?
Action: Which social features should we deploy?
Example: if they are commenters, allow them to comment.
3) What social information or people do your customers rely on?
Action: If they rely on their friends, facilitate a marketing program that encourages customers to share with friends.
4) What is your customers’ social influence? Who trusts them?
Action: If your customers are trusted by others, highlight your customers in front of their community.
Example: Intercontinental Hotel features the photos created by top guests.
5) How do your customers use social in regards to your brand?
Action: Understand how customers use these tools in researching new products, decision making, and support
So rather than decide that you’ll join myspace, first see if your customers hang out there (probably not).
This requires research
But lucky you, dear reader, that is what I’m doing and I’ll keep you posted.
I’m in the process of using monitoring tools and internet research techniques to describe who is doing what and where.
The wine blog research I’ve almost finished, with facebook next, then twitter, then I’ve got to come back to paid blogs, forum…hmmn this could take a while.
Here’s a few examples of what I think I’ll find (illustrative only)
- a quarter of the targeted wine drinkers visited a Facebook wine fan page at least weekly, and more than half visited at least monthly
- brand monitoring indicated that the most talked about topic when discussing wine was about wine tastings, food and California (that’s some early results but I don’t have enough data to post about this)
- wine drinkers are mainly watching and sharing, very few produce or comment
- but those that are producing are highly involved
- and this smaller group did influence those that are watchers
- yet those watchers, don’t share in that greater community, they share it with their immediate friends in Facebook
This is a bastardized version of what Altimeter found for Moms and snacks. It allowed the client to identify who the influencers were, how to reach them, and to spur on word of mouth to the “mom masses”.
So welcome to the ride. To jump on board sign up to the blog post updates in the sidebar on the right.
What’s your thoughts about the Engagement Pyramid and how you can use it to sell wine online?
Photo courtesy of LuMaxArt RSS Megaphone.