Aug 3, 2009 0
Just been reading through a presentation by Gartner on the future of media with respect to social networks. In this the article categorises users in terms of Creators, Critics, Collectors, Joiners, Spectators.
The presentation then focuses on various age groups. In this it highlights that the younger generation is more focused on creating content, whereas the older generation are far more passive and are either inactive or just browse information. I wondered what the reason for this is? Is it the natural habit of one generation to use social networks? Or is there an alternative driver which forces this behaviour?
One example would be that the younger groups are more switched on to social networking and it is more natural for them to promote themselves via social networks as this is how they would naturally communicate to their friends and family through Facebook, Bebo, MySpace etc…
Conversely, it may be that the older groups have spent many years developing their own personal social networks based on their experiences through their working life. They have less of a need to promote themselves through an electronic social network. Whereas younger people have not had time to develop their personal network and therefore rely on business focussed social networks such as Linkedin, Plaxo or Xing as a form of self promotion.
These are just guesses at the reasons for the skew in behaviour. I guess the question is, why does this distinction matter? Well, if I were considering my social networking strategy, I would seriously consider who my target market was, and that would help to determine the most effective use of social networking. For example, if I were running SAGA who’s target market is the over 50′s, according to this study you should consider pushing information out through blogs to engage with your market. However if your target market is more youth based, then you perhaps want to look at more informal social networks like facebook and consider techniques such as understanding sphere of influence to help drive your message.
So what is my point? Don’t just go head first into all aspects of social networking. Look at your target market, consider their online habits and then adopt a strategy that is aligned to those habits.
Oh and here is the link to the presentation, draw your own conclusions.