Last week at the Society for New Communications Research, Corante President Francois Goissieaux presented the recent findings of a major study on online, business community formation sponsored by SNCR, Deloitte and Beeline Labs. The presentation is here, and while I encourage you to view the entire report if you are looking at social media strategies for your company or clients, these were my major "take-aways."
- Forget page views: the primary ways to measure the success of communities are numbers of visitors (lurkers) and numbers of active users. Also look at comments and other forms of member activity.
- Communities of primarily older members are more likely to succeed where there is a prior or ongoing "off-line" relationship among members, such as face-to-face activity, conferences, etc.
- Technology (chosen platform) is important, but social infrastructure, is MORE important. In other words, it's more about anthropology than technology.
The conclusions of the report are important: Communities can be built with predictable success and can be transformational. If done properly the benefits are not "level-setting," which I think means that they grow over time at a greater than even rate, and they are game-changing.