Brands finally starting to ‘get’ social engagement
ComBlu's third annual study of online community performance, member engagement and social media integration of top US brands shows some progress in social engagement, but there is still an alarming lack of adoption of key practices
The "State of Online Branded Communities" found that the number of brands that implement a cohesive approach to social engagement continued to climb over the past year. In 2011, 41 percent of brands surveyed are using a cohesive approach, versus 33 percent in 2010 and 20 percent in 2009. What's more, brands are utilising multiple pillars of engagement within the same community.
- Providing a meaningful experience for members
- Integrating brand strategies and aggregating content across multiple communities, engagement pillars and social media
- Applying best practices to strengthen customer engagement
- Creating and amplifying content along the decision journey
- Little mobile integration. Although mobile apps are not yet included among the best practices scored, 16 percent of the communities reviewed offered an app. This will be an area to watch in the future.
- Lack of recommendation engines. Many communities would greatly benefit from the incorporation of a recommendation engine into the member's experience. Leveraging information on the consumer's buying habits, product reviews and the purchasing patterns of similar consumers will help curate the member experience and surface pertinent content at each part of the journey.
- Low adoption of rewards and recognition programs. Some brands have begun the integration of gamification cross properties with the adoption of a rewards and recognition system, increasing from 39 to 43 percent in 2011.
- Dabbling in community continues. Social experimentation continues to be the most common type of community marketing category and grew from 45 percent last year to 50 percent in 2011.