The 2010 Social Media Marketing Ecosystem

Forrester Research analyst Sean Corcoran recently posted an insightful breakdown of some of the differences between owned media, paid media and earned media. Given the ongoing convergence I’m seeing between different communications disciplines which I’m seeing on a daily basis, this got me thinking.

Owned, paid and earned media breakdown

The thought process ultimately led me to sketch out my take on the social media marketing ecosystem in which corporations operate – shown below.

This is my take on the ecosystem within which the new wave of hybrid marketing agencies like ours need to operate as we enter 2010.

Social Media Marketing Ecosystem

Social Media Marketing Ecosystem Legend

(Update: yes, I know there are no ads on Flickr. It’s illustrative.)

This is pretty complex, so I’ve broken it down into different system elements below. Note though, that the different elements work best when we succeed in breaking out of communications silos and integrating our communications strategies.

A few notes up-front

  • As complex as this image is, it’s still a drastic over-simplification. There are many more linkages than are displayed; I’ve simplified to the graphic is still readable.
  • The importance of each social network will vary depending on the organizational context – target markets; objectives, etc.
  • The ecosystem is constantly changing. A few months down the line, the big four social networks may have changed.
  • There are many, many other social networks, forums and other sites not directly shown here. They’re grouped into “Other” but may in fact play a significant role in your activities, depending on your company.
  • This ecosystem is externally-focused. A similar system doubtless exists for corporations’ internal communications.
  • MSM stands for “mainstream media.”
  • Each of the different elements can both act as a focal point and/or support other tactics, depending on how they are used within an integrated strategy.
  • The following sections each filter certain elements from the overall ecosystem above, to provide a simpler view of the owned, paid and earned elements of the system.

Corporate Social Media Ecosystem (Owned Media)

Corporate Social Media Ecosystem

Key elements of the ideal corporate social media ecosystem:

  • Hub and spoke: Adopts a ‘hub and spoke’ system centred around a corporate social media hub, whose form will depend on the organization.
  • Tiered hub and spoke: Each social network may have its own hub and spoke system, if necessary. For example, you may have a primary corporate page on Facebook supported by several applications and product-specific pages.
  • Integrated: The hub is as integrated into the corporate website as possible.
  • Fewer Microsites: Todd Defren and Maggie Fox both make compelling cases for companies to stop and think before investing in microsites. I agree. They may have their place in this ecosystem, but shifting to a social network or building on top of your flexible social media hub may make more sense.
  • Mobile is ubiquitous: I considered including mobile as a separate component in the ecosystem, but decided against it. The web is becoming device-agnostic. Companies need to consider mobile content and applications as part of every aspect of their corporate web presence.
  • Inter-linking: The social media hub links to all external corporate social media properties and profiles.
  • SEO-powered: Search engine optimization (driven, in part, by social media activities) helps to drive traffic to the corporate website, social media hub and external social media properties and profiles. This goes for both the corporate site and separate properties. SEO could fall into any of these buckets, but for the sake of simplicity I’ve included it in this part of the breakdown.
  • Two-way flow: The information flow around social media elements is (depending on the organizational context, of course) two way.

Corporate Mainstream Media Ecosystem (Earned Media)

Mainstream Media Ecosystem

Key elements of the mainstream media portion of the ecosystem:

  • On and offline: Mainstream media exist both online and offline (many are both). Either way, they can drive significant traffic within the social media marketing ecosystem.
  • Two-way: Ideally, the information flow with mainstream media is two-way in two ways:
    • Earned media drives quality traffic to your properties; your properties can generate stories within the mainstream media (both positive and negative)
    • One of your goals should be a constructive dialogue with mainstream media which enables you to achieve your goals while making the journalists’ lives easier.
  • Multi-destination: Earned media coverage will primarily drive traffic to your corporate site in the short term. However, earned media coverage can raise broader awareness, thus driving traffic to your external properties and social media profiles (especially over time within a sustained media relations program).

Corporate Advertising Ecosystem (Paid Media)

Corporate Advertising System

Features of the corporate advertising ecosystem:

  • Social and non-social: Advertising takes place both within social media sites, but also within other online properties (search engines are a prominent example, as is CPM/CPC advertising on mainstream sites).
  • Interwoven: While paid online media stands alone within the social media marketing ecosystem (represented here by “SEM,” it is also interwoven throughout many other elements.
  • Multi-destination: Much of your advertising may drive traffic to your corporate website. However, advertising can also support your social media efforts by raising awareness and driving people to your social media profiles and properties.
  • Multi-faceted: “Ads” within many social networks can mean many things. Facebook, for example, your advertising activities might extend beyond regular Facebook ads and into “appvertisements.”

Make sense?

Together these different elements combine to form the more complex (yet still simplified) ecosystem displayed at the top of this post.

This is clearly far from complete. I’m curious as to your thoughts – let me know what you think in the comments and let’s refine this together.

67 comments
juniper credit card
juniper credit card

Agree with Dave. Social media has a wide range of topics and I guess it should be specified.

Samuel Parent
Samuel Parent

Wow, this is rather complete, or clearly opens the door to all those other alleys we know this leads to. It is a lot to comprehend at once. It requires several reads to grasp completely. You must have spent a great deal of time on this and I appreciate it greatly.

Samuel Parent
Samuel Parent

Wow, this is rather complete, or clearly opens the door to all those other alleys we know this leads to. It is a lot to comprehend at once. It requires several reads to grasp completely. You must have spent a great deal of time on this and I appreciate it greatly.

Jen
Jen

Hi Dave, Great post. This a dynamic representation of an issue our group started wrestling with last summer. We're a small group working to 'reframe' 21st century civic engagement. Our network is made up of non-profits and 20-, 30-somethings. Take a look at the online communications strategy if you have some time; I'm curious to know what you think: http://sites.google.com/a/timeraiser.ca/tims-repository/online-communications-strategy

Jen
Jen

Hi Dave,
Great post. This a dynamic representation of an issue our group started wrestling with last summer. We're a small group working to 'reframe' 21st century civic engagement. Our network is made up of non-profits and 20-, 30-somethings. Take a look at the online communications strategy if you have some time; I'm curious to know what you think:
http://sites.google.com/a/timeraiser.ca/tims-repository/online-communications-strategy

Gerald
Gerald

Ads on Flickr? Can your agency hook me up with that?

I only ask because I've been using Flickr since before it got sucked into Yahoo, and I've never seen an ad on Flickr.

But hey, that's hardly the biggest thing that's wrong with your little chart.

Gerald
Gerald

Ads on Flickr? Can your agency hook me up with that? I only ask because I've been using Flickr since before it got sucked into Yahoo, and I've never seen an ad on Flickr. But hey, that's hardly the biggest thing that's wrong with your little chart.

Eduardo Toledano
Eduardo Toledano

Great job, Dave, and thanks a lot for this analysis. You've just translated into graphics what we've been working for a while now. I work for Ogilvy in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and this issue - how to advertise on social networks and other services - has been extensively discussed and practiced. We still deal with clients who have an already dated vision of what to do online, driven only to campaigns restricted to beautiful hotsites and some paid media. Brands who became media understood that online advertising is all about two-way relationship on every possible channel (Youtube, Facebook, Blogs, Flickr, Buzz, etc.) Thats a double challenge for online creatives. They have to work on content as much as on tools. Advertising online demands a lot of design.

Eduardo Toledano
Eduardo Toledano

Great job, Dave, and thanks a lot for this analysis.

You've just translated into graphics what we've been working for a while now. I work for Ogilvy in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and this issue - how to advertise on social networks and other services - has been extensively discussed and practiced.

We still deal with clients who have an already dated vision of what to do online, driven only to campaigns restricted to beautiful hotsites and some paid media.

Brands who became media understood that online advertising is all about two-way relationship on every possible channel (Youtube, Facebook, Blogs, Flickr, Buzz, etc.)

Thats a double challenge for online creatives. They have to work on content as much as on tools. Advertising online demands a lot of design.

Mark Latimer
Mark Latimer

I'd like to read more about social media, keep it coming! Thanks for the post. @marklatimer

Mark Latimer
Mark Latimer

I'd like to read more about social media, keep it coming! Thanks for the post. @marklatimer

Henrik Schmidt
Henrik Schmidt

Great post, thanks, already digested and posted.

Henrik Schmidt
Henrik Schmidt

Great post, thanks, already digested and posted.

Facebook User
Facebook User

Thanks for this breakdown. It is lot to break down and digest and I am grateful for any visuals as I am trying to digest this!

Facebook User
Facebook User

Thanks for this breakdown. It is lot to break down and digest and I am grateful for any visuals as I am trying to digest this!

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Dave, Maggie: Thanks for the thoughts. Perhaps an information designer might have made these a little simpler (you should have seen my first drafts :)). I like the idea of coming-up with a simpler version for businesses that might not need to deal with all the nuances of a large organization... I'll add that to my 'to-do' list.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Dave, Maggie: Thanks for the thoughts. Perhaps an information designer might have made these a little simpler (you should have seen my first drafts :)). I like the idea of coming-up with a simpler version for businesses that might not need to deal with all the nuances of a large organization... I'll add that to my 'to-do' list.

Tony Obregon
Tony Obregon

I've done something similar to this but using RSS feeds and active links to show how one can connect all of these properties together and how folks can be guided from one touchpoint to another. However, I really like how you've segmented this out by the different media types (paid, earned and owned). Nice graphs and good thinking here.

Tony Obregon
Tony Obregon

I've done something similar to this but using RSS feeds and active links to show how one can connect all of these properties together and how folks can be guided from one touchpoint to another. However, I really like how you've segmented this out by the different media types (paid, earned and owned). Nice graphs and good thinking here.

Alan
Alan

Very interesting post. The NewAppIdea.com Team NewAppIdea | App Idea Development

Alan
Alan

Very interesting post.

The NewAppIdea.com Team
NewAppIdea | App Idea Development

Facebook User
Facebook User

Excellent post and attempt at capturing the social media marketing ecosystem. The three basic models offer a very simple (that's good) understanding of the connectivity within these ecosystems. In our view, the tough part is what are the capabilities needed to succeed in this new world of marketing. Key for us is the ability to consistently create and push out content that gets attention...in many forms. Most companies and digital agencies are not set up to do that right now. The terrific thing about these diagrams for me is that the scream the need for great content!

Facebook User
Facebook User

Excellent post and attempt at capturing the social media marketing ecosystem. The three basic models offer a very simple (that's good) understanding of the connectivity within these ecosystems. In our view, the tough part is what are the capabilities needed to succeed in this new world of marketing. Key for us is the ability to consistently create and push out content that gets attention...in many forms. Most companies and digital agencies are not set up to do that right now. The terrific thing about these diagrams for me is that the scream the need for great content!

Trevor Campbell
Trevor Campbell

Wow! This is one of the most interesting posts I've seen anywhere in a while. You're not joking that it's complex. Which is indicative of the shift in communications. I think part of the challenge is that many agencies and client-side marketers see owned, paid and earned media in competition with each other. It's still advertising vs PR vs WOM vs digital vs any communications that's not owned by a particular agency. I suspect clients are eliminating silos due to leaner marketing teams. If so, the advantage goes to the agency that can help clients make the social media marketing ecosystem work for them. Dave, this type of insightful and useful sharing is what makes social media social. Thanks.

Trevor Campbell
Trevor Campbell

Wow! This is one of the most interesting posts I've seen anywhere in a while. You're not joking that it's complex. Which is indicative of the shift in communications. I think part of the challenge is that many agencies and client-side marketers see owned, paid and earned media in competition with each other. It's still advertising vs PR vs WOM vs digital vs any communications that's not owned by a particular agency. I suspect clients are eliminating silos due to leaner marketing teams. If so, the advantage goes to the agency that can help clients make the social media marketing ecosystem work for them.

Dave, this type of insightful and useful sharing is what makes social media social. Thanks.

maggiefox | Social Media Group
maggiefox | Social Media Group

Hey Dave - thanks for the link, and very interesting post. I agree that your diagrams are complex, and this seems to be a trend when those of us in this space try to explain the interconnectedness of it all; I'm not sure what that says about the industry (we're still figuring it out? We need an information designer on staff?) but contributions like this get us closer to the simplicity required to explain it to the rest of the world. Happy New Year!

maggiefox | Social Media Group
maggiefox | Social Media Group

Hey Dave - thanks for the link, and very interesting post. I agree that your diagrams are complex, and this seems to be a trend when those of us in this space try to explain the interconnectedness of it all; I'm not sure what that says about the industry (we're still figuring it out? We need an information designer on staff?) but contributions like this get us closer to the simplicity required to explain it to the rest of the world.

Happy New Year!

Amy
Amy

This is super, thanks for pulling this together this model and sharing. I often refer to this 'eco-system' and here you have perfectly illustrated it. Many thanks.

Amy
Amy

This is super, thanks for pulling this together this model and sharing. I often refer to this 'eco-system' and here you have perfectly illustrated it. Many thanks.

Facebook User
Facebook User

I've seen other models, but nearly as complete. Nice job Dave!

Facebook User
Facebook User

I've seen other models, but nearly as complete. Nice job Dave!

Synbad
Synbad

WOW ! This is going to take a couple of day to digest but I do appreciate the time you took to provide this information.

Synbad
Synbad

WOW ! This is going to take a couple of day to digest but I do appreciate the time you took to provide this information.

michael nurse
michael nurse

Interesting... I would add a few channels to this: email sms call centre (both inbound and outbound) Brands / companies use all three of these to manage relationships with customers and prospects and even though they've received much less attention over the past 12 to 18 months with the emergence of social media, they still make up a good chunk of many brands' marketing and customer service budgets. Also, email still has the highest measurable conversion rate amongst all channels according to e-marketer. Will social channels displace these eventually? maybe - and for a lot of good reasons. but, even if they go the way of the dinosaur, there's a lot that marketers can learn from these channels that will help make social more effective within their organizations. and for now - and in the future presuming these channels don't go away altogether - they need to be included in context within which social media is considered.

michael nurse
michael nurse

Interesting... I would add a few channels to this:

email
sms
call centre (both inbound and outbound)

Brands / companies use all three of these to manage relationships with customers and prospects and even though they've received much less attention over the past 12 to 18 months with the emergence of social media, they still make up a good chunk of many brands' marketing and customer service budgets. Also, email still has the highest measurable conversion rate amongst all channels according to e-marketer.

Will social channels displace these eventually? maybe - and for a lot of good reasons.

but, even if they go the way of the dinosaur, there's a lot that marketers can learn from these channels that will help make social more effective within their organizations.

and for now - and in the future presuming these channels don't go away altogether - they need to be included in context within which social media is considered.

Christian Renard
Christian Renard

This is an interesting article. However, it seems to me some additional dynamics should be included : - Marketing is turning "inbound" - Products are evolving into Services - Consumer dialogue and co-creation are becoming the keys to Relevance and Brand value. - Local should be key for a step by step Culture shift. - Digital Energy will be "liquid", as opposed to "budgeted",which necessitates a new type of metrics and expertise This is a massive change of paradigm , and it is probably interesting to draw an additional consumer-centered chart focusing on Brand Response and conversion process to act as a GPS in this unfamiliar environment.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

You're right, Gerald - Flickr isn't exactly ad central. It was meant to be more of an illustration of broader potential within social media sites. Perhaps it wasn't the best example.

I'd love to hear your other thoughts. It sounds like you have some other concerns and I'd appreciate the opportunity to improve the chart.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

You're right, Gerald - Flickr isn't exactly ad central. It was meant to be more of an illustration of broader potential within social media sites. Perhaps it wasn't the best example. I'd love to hear your other thoughts. It sounds like you have some other concerns and I'd appreciate the opportunity to improve the chart.

Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler

I think the thing which can also be detrimental to some marketing campaigns is getting the order the wrong way round. People now assume social web interaction is more important then great content on their websites, they forget people will find their website content after clicking on a URL at a social profile.

Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler

I think the thing which can also be detrimental to some marketing campaigns is getting the order the wrong way round. People now assume social web interaction is more important then great content on their websites, they forget people will find their website content after clicking on a URL at a social profile.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Thanks for these, Christian - these got me thinking. Can you define what you mean by "liquid" versus "budgeted," so we're clear?

Christian Renard
Christian Renard

Dave, As marketing is turning inbound and real-time,new entrants will challenge established brands.To keep their Customer base, brands will have to maximize the use of Customer/Prospects touchpoints to build value, and this is where -Zappos style- a new type of marketing budget should be available -on demand- for upgrades, discounts,services,etc... I use the word "liquid" because, like water, it should flow naturally (although based on pre-defined rules) when needed.to leverage the inbound "energy". To operate this, you need to integrate CRM and accounting systems directly and build the right "pipe" system. This concept of "liquid budgeting" will sound familiar to DMers and commission -based businesses. I am finalizing a paper on this.

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  8. [...] clarifying the roles for brands who undertake the responsibility of embracing a new media role. Dave Fleet, a thought leader in new media and public relations, also visualized Corcoran’s thoughts [...]

  9. [...] clarifying the roles for brands who undertake the responsibility of embracing a new media role. Dave Fleet, a thought leader in new media and public relations, also visualized Corcoran’s thoughts through [...]

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  16. [...] thought leader in new media and public relations, also visualized Corcoran’s thoughts through a series of graphics that represent the social media [...]

  17. [...] if your Facebook Page falls into “owned media” in our social media ecosystem, Community Pages would fit more into “earned [...]

  18. [...] if your Facebook Page falls into “owned media” in our social media ecosystem, Community Pages would fit more into “earned [...]

  19. [...] if your Facebook Page falls into “owned media” in our social media ecosystem, Community Pages would fit more into “earned [...]

  20. [...] of the people who often drive the social media bus in corporations. If you think back to our social media marketing ecosystem and Forrester’s breakdown of media types, marketers are often most used to paid media – [...]

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  24. [...] used social media. After reading recent posts by Dave Fleet and Social Media Explorer regarding the social media marketing ecosystem and measurement respectively, I wanted to expand upon my thoughts about how to take social [...]

  25. [...] The 2010 Corporate Social Media Marketing Ecosystem Image by davefleet To find out more about the ecosystem, see here: davefleet.com/2010/01/2010-social-media-marketing-ecosystem/ [...]

  26. [...] The 2010 Corporate Social Media Marketing Ecosystem Image by davefleet To find out more about the ecosystem, see here: davefleet.com/2010/01/2010-social-media-marketing-ecosystem/ [...]

  27. [...] Media Marketing Ecosystem Image by davefleet To find out more about the ecosystem, see here: davefleet.com/2010/01/2010-social-media-marketing-ecosystem/ Social Media recruitment: fast and cost Nicolas Garcia, general director of Verztec Consulting [...]

  28. [...] Media Marketing Ecosystem Image by davefleet To find out more about the ecosystem, see here: davefleet.com/2010/01/2010-social-media-marketing-ecosystem/ FoundUB4 Social Media Consulting UK launch with phenomenal results With more companies of all [...]

  29. [...] The 2010 Corporate Social Media Marketing Ecosystem Image by davefleet To find out more about the ecosystem, see here: davefleet.com/2010/01/2010-social-media-marketing-ecosystem/ [...]

  30. [...] 05 Apr 2011 The 2010 Corporate Social Media Marketing Ecosystem Image by davefleet To find out more about the ecosystem, see here: davefleet.com/2010/01/2010-social-media-marketing-ecosystem/ [...]

  31. [...] social media, conducted over the long term and with actual business value, is derived from the integration and cooperation of agency partners. It doesn’t come from petty bickering and competition — from “my agency type is [...]

  32. [...] find out more about the ecosystem, see here: davefleet.com/2010/01/2010-social-media-marketing-ecosystem/ [...]

  33. [...] find out more about the ecosystem, see here: davefleet.com/2010/01/2010-social-media-marketing-ecosystem/ [...]

  34. [...] The 2010 Corporate Social Media Marketing Ecosystem To find out more about the ecosystem, see here: davefleet.com/2010/01/2010-social-media-marketing-ecosystem/ [...]

  35. [...] Analyze the data to see where traffic is coming from – Finding out the what, where, and how of a specific call to action is not only critical it’s required. Many brands are still stuck on getting the like count up but don’t translate it into measurable sales or don’t measure if those likes generate more traffic / conversation. Likes don’t provide much insight into interaction around the brand where content clearly does. Knowing what is relevant to your audience is critical in driving more engagement. A brand needs to optimize all forms of media, thereby enabling the brand to create the deepest and most meaningful relationships with consumers while also understanding their media consumption. [Dave Fleet created a few slick visuals for interworking of PEOM.] [...]

  36. [...] locate out more about the ecosystem, see here: davefleet.com/2010/01/2010-social-media-marketing-ecosystem/ This entry was posted in Social Media Advertising and tagged Cool, Marketing, Media, photos, [...]

  37. [...] earned and owned media can each be modeled as types of ecosystems. If you missed it, please go read his post and come back here to discuss — you’ll need to see what he’s working at here to [...]

  38. [...] which was created by http://davefleet.com/2010/01/2010-social-media-marketing-ecosystem/ [...]

  39. [...] leader in new media and public relations, also visualized Corcoran’s thoughts through a series of graphics that represent the social media [...]