If you’ve been paying attention to the commentary about social networks lately, you’ve probably noticed a shift in the conversation. The dialogue—which previously was limited to growing Fans, Followers, and building a creative presence on social sites—has evolved into a conversation about driving real engagement and measurable business value.
To us, this shift is indicative of something larger—the second generation of social is here!
The first generation involved an important transformation in the way people interact. Suddenly people were connecting, building networks, and participating online in a way that they never had before. Brands felt the need to get in the social game, build a following, and participate in the conversations. But they really didn’t have much insight into the audience they had developed or how to engage with them in a meaningful way.
The second generation of Social is about truly understanding who these Fans, Followers, and Friends are—what do they care about, what influences their behavior, and what insights and value can they bring to companies and their fellow customers?
This observation is supported by market research The Incyte Group conducted for us to help guide our product roadmap and company vision. The research suggested that there is a gap between the way customers want to connect with companies they care about online and the way that brands are actually using social networks.
The implications of The Incyte Group findings are not a one size fits all solution for social engagement. Rather, the research provides insight into four consumer segments that can have a major impact on your social strategy if you understand what motivates them.