There is an increasing trend towards using social media monitoring tools that allow marketers to search, track, and analyze conversation on the web about their brand or about topics of interest. This can be useful in PR management and campaign tracking, allowing the user to measure return on investment, competitor-auditing, and general public engagement. Tools range from free, basic applications to subscription-based, more in-depth tools.
The Honeycomb Framework
The Honeycomb Framework defines how social media services focus on some or all of seven functional building blocks. These building blocks help explain the engagement needs of the social media audience.
Many companies build their own social containers that attempt to link the seven functional building blocks around their brands. These are private communities that engage people around a more narrow theme, as in around a particular brand, vocation or hobby, rather than social media containers such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.
For instance, LinkedIn users are thought to care mostly about identity, reputation, and relationships, whereas YouTube’s primary features are sharing, conversations, groups, and reputation.
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The Seven Functional Building Blocks
This block represents the extent to which users reveal their identities in a social media setting. This can include disclosing information such as name, age, gender, profession, location, and also information that portrays users in certain ways.
This block represents the extent to which users communicate with other users in a social media setting. Many social media sites are designed primarily to facilitate conversations among individuals and groups. These conversations happen for all sorts of reasons. People tweet, blog, et cetera to meet new like-minded people, to ﬁnd true love, to build their self-esteem, or to be on the cutting edge of new ideas or trending topics. Yet others see social media as a way of making their message heard and positively impacting humanitarian causes, environmental problems, economic issues, or political debates.
This block represents the extent to which users exchange, distribute, and receive content. The term ‘social’ often implies that exchanges between people are crucial. In many cases, however, sociality is about the objects that mediate these ties between people—the reasons why they meet online and associate with each other.
This block represents the extent to which users can know if other users are accessible. It includes knowing where others are, in the virtual world and/or in the real world, and whether they are available.
This block represents the extent to which users can be related to other users. Two or more users have some form of association that leads them to converse, share objects of sociality, meet up, or simply just list each other as a friend or fan.
This block represents the extent to which users can identify the standing of others, including themselves, in a social media setting. Reputation can have different meanings on social media platforms. In most cases, reputation is a matter of trust, but because information technologies are not yet good at determining such highly qualitative criteria, social media sites rely on ‘mechanical Turks’: tools that automatically aggregate user-generated information to determine trustworthiness. Reputation management is another aspect and use of social media.
This block represents the extent to which users can form communities and sub communities. The more ‘social’ a network becomes, the bigger the group of friends, followers, and contacts.