In determining your market niche, have you considered their level of participation in social-networking technology?
This type of measurement is called “social technographics,” and it is explored in diverse research products from Forrester Research. Forrester recommends to “start with your target audience and determine what kind of relationship you want to build with them, based on what they are ready for.”
Forrester has classified U.S. consumers into six segments based on how they use social technologies, as follows:
- Creators: create and publish social content (24% of consumers)
- Critics: respond to social content of others online (37%)
- Collectors: organize content for themselves and others, such as RSS feeds, tags and voting for websites (21%)
- Joiners: social networkers (51%)
- Spectators: consume social content, such as reading blogs and watching videos (73%)
- Inactives: none of the above (18%)
(Note that the percentages total more than 100% due to overlapping levels of participation. And by the way, the data are from 2009.)
If your marketing has any online component, the data can aid in business planning. For instance, note that only half of consumers belong to social networks. And while less than one-fifth of consumers are inactive, when this percentage is applied to the total population, the number of inactive individuals is substantial. And it may be huge in your niche.
If you offer products or services to businesses, there’s another interesting dimension to the issue: What percentage of your market uses social networking for work and what percentage uses it only in their personal lives?
I see that substantial numbers of people in sophisticated corporate jobs have meager (or no) profiles on LinkedIn, for instance. When someone who has worked in a large company for decades has only a handful of connections, I assume that they have spent very little time developing their profile, not that they don’t know anyone. Still, they may be engrossed in Facebook-ing with friends or blogging about their hobbies. Or they may avoid like sin personal computing of any type, checking and deleting email once every two weeks.
Forrester’s Consumer Profile Tool is fun to play with. Clicking on the links and segmentation choices may give you some clues about your market’s social technographics. However, casually interviewing your clients about their social technology habits may provide even more specific (though statistically doubtful) insights.
My new ebook Start Freelancing And Consulting: How to take control of your life and make great money quickly as a solopro