Friday, March 30, 2007

Communities attract participants

In this new era of "conversational marketing", the measure for engagement in a community isn't the number of people logging on. Rather, it's how actively people participate in the community, according to research by Communispace.

The anaysis of participation behavior among 26,539 members of 66 private online communities, provides an initial look at member participation in communities.
The study evaluated communities along three participation metrics:

  • Frequency - how often members contribute
  • Volume - the number of contributions made by each member
  • Bystander or "lurker" rate - what percentage of members are simply observing versus actively participating.
It seem that in a typical online forum (e.g., wiki, community, message board or blog), one percent of site visitors contribute and the other 99 percent lurk. (Source: McConnell & Huba, 2007. Citizen Marketers: When People are the Message. Chicago: Kaplan Publishing). This disparity suggests that the more intimate the setting, the more people will participate and get involved in the community.

"Big public communities may attract more eyeballs, but they may not be the answer for practitioners who are looking for deep engagement with customers" says Julie Wittes-Schlack, Communispace vice president of innovation and research.

I can believe this. A social space refelecting a the social values of an organisation and its constituency will attract like minds and participants.