There are 483,797 groups on LinkedIn. More than 1.6 million active Pages on Facebook. Average Facebook user becomes a fan of 2 pages each month. Aveage Facebook user is a member of 12 groups.
The numbers are significant. But what do they represent? How can we determine if the group or page is successful and what does success mean?
I was trying to find more groups “usage” type of data for each of the most popular social networks – like number of active discussions per day, average number of users postings, commenting, etc.. but I just could not find any statistical data!
Some of the businesses can potentially look at the bottom line in sales if they can track those back to discussion group or fan page, number of clicks, etc.. But I suspect only hand full of group leaders can state whether their group/fan page is successful and why.
I reject the total number of group members and fans as a solo indicator of a group success factor. I am a member of zillions online groups and I fan too many Facebook pages. I rarely visit them; forget about contributing any type of content. I suspect that most of the people are like me – they are signing up either to return a favor, or they are truly interested in the subject but forget or just do not have time to visit and contribute.
And now the fundamental question – online groups/fan pages and communities – are they the same? Will you have the same community manager that manages your company’s community/wiki/etc from your company’s web site [internal and external] manage other online communities? Will you have the same content posted?
My take is that these roles are more similar than not and if your company is anticipating a significant level of activity in online groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc then you better off hiring online communities managers for these sites in addition to the ones that run corporation-hosted communities. However, the 2 largest SAP Community groups on LinkedIn are not run by SAP community managers. But SAP is very committed to building and running successful communities – from their own environment. Is this a common trend: do it right in one place and try to guide all the targeted audience to one communication platform of choice? Have just “listen” function deployed in social space, get involved when needed, but focus on one?
Your thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated!