Trying to keep track of all the key players in social media is rather difficult. New players jump in every week while others become almost obsolete. Understand what service does what and where to put your marketing dollars can seem like an overwhelming task. Although we could provide you with a great list of who’s who is social media, we think a visual representation of the social web as a whole might be the best way to understand the overall conversation between each player. And more importantly, where your brand fits in.


In 2008, and again in 2013,  Brian Solis and his team created The Conversation Prism, an infographic representation of the social web and its various divisions such as social networks, social marketplaces, influence, quantified self, and service networking. The Conversation Prism was designed to help brands by providing a clear roadmap of the current state of social media.


How to read the new Conversation Prism


Conversation Prism



Halo One: YOU, the Brand

Obviously, social media is not a cookie-cutter marketing solution. You should not engage in every social opportunity. Your brand should pick the networks and tools that are in line with your audience and your marketing goals, otherwise you will dilute your influence and maybe not even make a mark.


Halo 2: Vision. Purpose. Value. Commitment. Transparency.

Once you have decided to bring your brand into the digital era, you first need to make a social media plan. Consider the pillars where you should concentrate your efforts. Ask yourself these questions. What is your brand vision for social media? What is the purpose of your social activity and how will you justify your investment? What is the added value you intend to deliver to your audience and how will you communicate this value? Are you committed to social media or is this simply a trial? Are you comfortable with transparency and showing the human side of your brand? Don’t jump in before you make your plan.


Halo 3: Brand, Lines of Business, and Corporate Functions

Social is bigger than marketing, it is a way of business. Once you join the social revolution and make a commitment to your fans, you need to keep the conversation lines open. Social media will affect every aspect of your business from your dealings with suppliers, partners, customers and even competitors. It will also affect all the processes and systems that exist between all the players.


Halo 4: Always Be Improving (ABI) – Listen. Learn. Adapt.

In communication, it is often said that the best listeners are the best conversationalists. It’s even more true when it comes to social media. Whether you want to learn what not to do on Twitter or how to reach an online influencer, make sure to keep the conversation real.


Listen to what your customers, employees and competition are saying, learn from the conversations you engage in and adapt to new environments. Social media is moving fast, so be prepared for the ride of a lifetime.


Solis, who is also author of popular books such as  EngageThe End of Business As Usual, and What’s the Future of Business?, says:

The social landscape is evolving with increasing acceleration. As you can see throughout every iteration of the Prism, the number of networks that vanish and emerge is staggering. But more importantly, the nature and focus of how networks are used is also dramatic in its changes. In some cases, we see the move to smaller or more concentrated networks and at the same time the visual “social” web is becoming more pervasive.


Although it is clearly impossible to include every player in social media today, Solis and his team recreated an accurate representation of the state of social media in 2013. In every one of the four editions, the Conversation Prism has seen hundreds of services removed and hundreds more new ones added. What will the social media scene be like in two years? It will be interesting to see who is still leading the pack.

Roxanne Genier