Saturday, 30 April 2011

Understanding the social media ecology: The honeycomb framework

Social media are defined as "those interactive web platforms via which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content" Kietzmann et al. (2011, p. 241).




This video animate is based on the social media honeycomb framework presented in this posting:


Friendster, Hi5, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Technorati, Reddit, Digg, Delicious, Twitter: there is a rich, diverse and ever growing ecology of social media sites, offering various functionalities and capabilities. This ecology has shifted the power from those in marketing and public relations to individuals and communities that create, share, and consume blogs, tweets, Facebook entries, YouTube clips, and so forth. For instance, as BBC Business Editor Tim Weber explains: ‘‘These days, one witty tweet, one clever blog post, one devastating video –forwarded to hundreds of friends at the click of a mouse– can snowball and kill a product or damage a company’s share price.’’

But how should managers monitor, engage with and exploit the activities and content generated by the different sites that make up this social media ecology? It depends!!

I addressed this question in a recent paper, written with colleagues Jan Kietzmann, Kristopher Hermkens and Bruno Silvestre.  We present a honeycomb framework of seven social media building blocks -identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups (see Figure 1). Each block of the framework allows you to unpack and examine a specific facet of social media user experience, and its implications for firms (see Figure 2). Utilized individually and together, these blocks can help managers to make sense of the social media ecology, and understand their audience and their engagement needs.







We explain how a firm can recognize and understand its social media landscape, using the honeycomb framework; develop strategies that are congruent with, or suited to, different social media functionalities and the goals of the firm; develop curating strategies for their own social media interactions and content; and finally use the honeycomb structure as a tool to evaluate the constantly changing social media activity. For example, consider how the activities and content of LinkedIn, Foursquare, YouTube, and Facebook all vary -the darker the color of a block, the greater this social media functionality is within the site (see Figure 3).


Firms interested in getting serious about social media can use the honeycomb framework to monitor and understand how social media activities vary in terms of function and impact, and to develop a congruent social media strategy based on the appropriate balance of building blocks for their community.

For a more detailed description of each honeycomb framework, see the full article:


You can view a great Prezi presentation of the honeycomb framework here:


For more information about me and my work, follow me on:

15 comments:

  1. Good Framework. Would surely like to see a case study on it.

    Ganesh.

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  2. Awesome! This framework rocks!

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    1. I hope that you will update more articles…More power.. Thank you for the great site … full of useful information

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  3. This is a beautiful way of describing a social network and how different organizations fit into the landscape, positioning them based on their centricities. Thanks!

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  4. Enjoyed reading this post and the paper. Presenting social media as an ecosystem also helps people 'unpack' some recurrent prejudices and assumptions about the various media (social media is free, new PR and marketing, complicated, easy to use, a waste of time, can be left in the hands of a 20 year-old, the revolution that doesn't need to be televised...)

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  5. What do you think the honeycomb would look like for Twitter?

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    1. I like this blog. Very helpful and very inspirational. Thanks a ton. It’ll help me a lot.
      i just ema

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  6. strategy based on the appropriate balance of building blocks for their community.

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  7. WOW Cathy, It's awesome diagram. I really impressive. "One single picture can able to speak thousands words", seriously this is the first thought on my mind while seeing these pictures. Very Nice.

    Well Done.

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  8. I would like to use this framework to study about the social media using behavior in students but I don't have enough ideas to do a questionare TT_TT because some function can not use to some social media (I didn't separate platforms,I combined it all) such as if I would like to use for instagram . It' s very hard for me.

    However ,thanks so much for your framework.

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    1. I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you!

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  9. You described Social media very deeply,did a good job, i got too much knowledge about social media,thank you for sharing.

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  10. I like the video better than the images you have used. Nice video Mc.

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  11. It is really a great and useful piece of information.

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