Three phases of social media network success for marketing

The social media landscape is complex.  Social media network analysis makes it easier to understand and navigate social media.

Using the NodeXL social media network analysis add-in for Excel from the Social Media Research Foundation, I have made a large collection of network visualizations and reports, many of which can be seen in the NodeXL Graph Gallery.

Now that I have seen many social media network maps I observe that marketers are often interested in building “broadcast” network patterns.  This is one of the six basic social media network patterns documented in the recent Pew Research Internet Project report about Mapping Twitter Topic Networks.

There are at least three phases of possible success for a social media marketing effort: phase 1, you get an audience of people who will retweet what you post.  Phase 2, some of your audience gets its own audience for the content they repost from you.  Phase 3, a dense web of relationships emerges, a community of relationships.  This is a desirable phase because it sustains the conversation event when new messages from the brand account are not created.

20141018-Three pahses of social media network success

Which social media network type is your topic? Which did you want it to be?

2014-NodeXL-SNA-Social Media Network Migration Paths
There are at least six different types of social media network structures present in systems like Twitter and other services in which people are able to reply to one another.

Each of the six patterns is generated by the behavior of the individuals in the population.

In many cases the pattern you are is not the pattern you want to be.

This table describes each of the six patterns in terms of the difference between that pattern and the other five patterns.

Go down the rows until you find the pattern that most closely matches the network you currently have.  Then work across the columns until you find the pattern that you want to become.

At the intersection is a color and a few ways to change and measure the transition from where you are to where you want to be.

A red square indicates an undesirable transition (who wants to become a divided discussion?).  A yellow square is a low probability and difficult transition (it is hard to go from divided to unified).  A blue square is a challenge but possible while a green square is a fairly easy transition to make.

Using this guide, you can plan a strategy for your social media engagement.

This slide is part of a larger slide deck about using social media network analysis to guide engagement.  Look for slide 71.