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What Social Media Tier are you on?

by Randall Craig on November 11, 2011

Filed in: Blog, Blogging, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Strategy

Tagged as: , , , ,

Every organization – and every individual – can find themselves somewhere on the three-tier Social Media Engagement Index.  Where are you?

Level I, Passive:  At best, passive users have a profile on a few sites, but do very little within Social Media except for responding to the occasional connection request.  Benefit: passive users will be found when someone is doing a search.  And they have more time for “real-world” activities.

Level II, Broadcast:  Broadcasters are not particularly interested in interaction, preferring to spend their time sharing their ideas with (and sometimes shouting to) the Social Media World.  Benefit:  This is an inexpensive way to repurpose content from newsletters; for individuals, this is a quieter, quicker, less formal way  to update status than email.

Level III, Engagement:  If you are here, the Social Networks are an important two-way communication medium, where you are engaging on others’ platforms, as much as they are doing so on yours.  Benefit:  A relationship can only be improved when there is dialogue – and this only happens when there is a genuine desire to engage.

An interesting metaphor for these tiers can be found with the telephone.  Passive users have a phone, and their names are in the phone book, but they are sitting on the sidelines waiting for a call.  Broadcasters mistakenly think that the telephone is really a radio broadcast, and not of the call-in variety: they don’t want (or expect) any feedback.  Engagement is very much like a telephone conversation; the call continues because it has value to all parties.

This week’s action plan:  No person – or organization – magically has traction in the Social Media world immediately – it happens one step at a time.  If your strategy is Passive, make sure that you are using appropriate keywords to improve the probability that you will be found.  Or, move to a Broadcast strategy.  If you are a Broadcaster, then invite feedback by ending your Social Media posts with a question or feedback request.  Or, move to an Engagement strategy.  And if you are Engaged, step back, and make sure that you are engaging with the right group, for the right reasons.  Developing relationships (and a reputation) in an area that doesn’t pay off is a waste of time.

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Randall Craig

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Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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