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Getting the balance right in social media

Would you like to increase the value of the contributions that your users make online about your brands and services? If so, then a good place to start is to understand more about their general online behaviours.

Our Director of Engagement, Dr Nicola Stanley, presented our research into this area at the Annual Social Media in Social Research Conference earlier this year.

Some of your users might be constrained in adding their opinions because of concerns about their online privacy, others might have a cavalier attitude to what they write on social media and may need to be carefully moderated to ensure that they don't alienate the rest of your online community.

What can you do to increase everyone's participation and to maximise the value of all of their contributions?

Nicola spoke about the spectrum of social media user types that Silver Dialogue has found ranging from 'Apprehensive Passives' to 'Confident Cavaliers' to 'Controlled Cautionaries' and finally to 'Savvy Opinionators'. She also spoke about ways in which each group could be moved to the next stage of the model to encourage broader and deeper participation on social media pages, groups and other online platforms. Our model is shown below, if you'd like to find out more and even consider segmenting your own social media communities please do contact us at

Our segmentation model of social media engagement

Reasons why we undertook this research

Over the last few years Silver Dialogue has been recruiting and researching people for market research and social research purposes using mixed-methods including through the use of social media.

More recently we have noticed a change in the way people are interacting with us through social media. People are starting to post quite personal and sometimes sensitive information about themselves on Silver Dialogue's public Facebook wall. We were surprised to see this change in behaviour. What was going on and how could we manage this increased disclosure of personal information? Should we be alarmed by this - particularly taking into account the recent launch of Fair Data principles by the MRS ?

We decided to explore this phenomenon further and undertook a quantitative research study with online users in the UK study. We looked at their attitudes to privacy and their reported privacy behaviours.

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