Creating Entry Points Using The Social Technographics Ladder

0 Comments 15 April 2015

Social Technographics Ladder Groundswell

Courtesy of Forrester Research

I had an “aha!” moment last week while I was re-reading Chapter 4 of the book Groundswell, The Social Technographics Profile chapter. I had been thinking about engagement along a sequential ladder of engagement all along.

I had been thinking sequentially. I forgot about the jump.

As a community organizer, I often thought of ladders of engagement as sequential and deepening investments. I would look for potential members, then invite members to step into leadership, and craft strategies to deepen core engagement with the cause. I thought of engagement as something that you create with stakeholders through a combination of time, commitment, and leadership opportunity.

We can’t forget about different entry points and jumpers. While some will move along a continuum towards increasing leadership responsibilities, others will contact you or begin to show leadership interest from the very beginning. Many first interactions with an organization are deep, others join up with a single free agent and are ready engage deeply. Some supporters may open their relationship with you right away as creators, contributors, and offline/online leaders.

The question for us must be: Has our organization built engagement entry points for every level of interest, wherever the entry point?

Thinking about this (while also revisiting Melinda K. Lewis’ thoughtful blog post on Levels of Campaign Engagement) I combined the Social Technographics Profile with engagement entry points, mocking up a draft concept.

Slide1 This modified Social Technographics does not look at engagement as a ladder. Instead, I created categories to represent groups of people who like to use technology and interact with organizations similarly. I added suggested entry point opportunities. In doing so, I considered how organizations might…

  • encourage stakeholders to enter the relationship online at each level
  • create opportunities for entry points by level of engagement
  • look at or want to work with free agents

In Chapter 4, The Social Technographics Profile, authors Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff group people based on the online “groundswell” activities in which they participate. (Fairly, they mention that many people fit into more than one group.) The authors note that the real power in the Social Technographics Profile is if you use it to understand how social technologies are being adopted by the group of people with whom your organization interfaces, and to develop a social strategy appropriate to them.

In the visual image above, I simplified and combined Social Technographics terms. Spectators are those who want to become involved and are ready to go beyond lurking. Joiners represent stakeholders who have shown more than a passing joining commitment; they are actively participating in your organization’s online actions and signing up to participate. Conversationalists represent a merge of critics, collectors, and conversationalists in this chart. These are supporters who go beyond regular participation and interest, electing a form of deep participation. Creators love to create, and it is important to find places within your organization where they can do what they love.

Spectators. Joiners. Conversationalists. Creators. They all engage. They all want to be welcomed.

It’s not as much about a ladder of engagement, as about entry points for different types of online engagers and engagement opportunities. The next step? Onboarding strategies for each level, no matter where someone jumps in…

I’d love to hear how your organization has built entry points for online participants and stakeholders in the comments.

Related blog posts:

Identifying and developing levels of online leadership

Learning from organizations that create ladders of engagement



Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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