Social Media? Get Serious! Understanding the Functional Building Blocks of Social Media

11 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2014

See all articles by Jan Kietzmann

Jan Kietzmann

Segal Graduate School of Business

Kristopher Hermkens

Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Ian P. McCarthy

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business

Bruno Silvestre

University of Winnipeg

Date Written: April 1, 2011

Abstract

Traditionally, consumers used the Internet to simply expend content: they read it, they watched it, and they used it to buy products and services. Increasingly, however, consumers are utilizing platforms – such as content sharing sites, blogs, social networking, and wikis – to create, modify, share, and discuss Internet content. This represents the social media phenomenon, which can now significantly impact a firm’s reputation, sales, and even survival. Yet, many executives eschew or ignore this form of media because they don’t understand what it is, the various forms it can take, and how to engage with it and learn. In response, we present a framework that defines social media by using seven functional building blocks: identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups. As different social media activities are defined by the extent to which they focus on some or all of these blocks, we explain the implications that each block can have for how firms should engage with social media. To conclude, we present a number of recommendations regarding how firms should develop strategies for monitoring, understanding, and responding to different social media activities.

Keywords: Social media, Social networks, Web 2.0, User-generated content, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube

JEL Classification: m00, m10

Suggested Citation

Kietzmann, Jan and Hermkens, Kristopher and McCarthy, Ian P. and Silvestre, Bruno, Social Media? Get Serious! Understanding the Functional Building Blocks of Social Media (April 1, 2011). Business Horizons, Vol. 54, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2514472

Jan Kietzmann

Segal Graduate School of Business ( email )

500 Granville Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 1W6
Canada
7787825187 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://beedie.sfu.ca/profiles/JanKietzmann

Kristopher Hermkens

Simon Fraser University (SFU) ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Ian P. McCarthy (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Bruno Silvestre

University of Winnipeg ( email )

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2E9
United States

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