In a content marketing / lead generation white paper, Passenger provides some statistics and case studies to strongly argue for the benefit of private communities (vs. social media channels like Facebook). Given its purpose, I think it is important to be critical of their presentation. I’m curious if anyone sees any significant flaws in their paper?Communities_Are_Your_Best_Social_Strategy.pdf (1.3 MB)
The whole paper seems pretty flawed to me. They’re comparing ‘marketing’ and community as if they are the same thing with the same end goal.
Brands are six times more likely to market on Facebook than to build a private community.
Of course they are! There’s next to no work involved to market on Facebook.
Branded online communities aren’t simply marketing tools
I would argue that in many (perhaps most?) cases they aren’t marketing tools at all!
I’m sure I’ll get some blowback from saying this, but (like any paper release by vendors) this paper is pretty much gibberish.
- No comparisons of the ROI between online communities or social media.
- The summary points aren’t supported by the report (nor even via the next paragraph). Especially when it says private brand communities perform better.
- It cherry picks case studies that even then don’t include any metrics.
Most social media efforts are a waste of time. Most online community efforts are a waste of time too.
Both can be used very effectively though by the right organisation at the right time.
Very interesting! Yea, there are some definite holes in the release - a bit of an artificial comparison between how tasty apples are vs. oranges.
However, I checked out the engagement levels of some social media posts, and it does seem to be around the 2-3% level. Adweek has a blog post on FB page reach with similar information: http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/locowise-march-2015/619104
Perhaps this is old news here, but to me, it was a shocker to realize that the organic reach of these huge pages is in the single digit percentage level. If an online community has 10,000 registered members but only 200 active contributors, promoting the 10k number is just a vanity metric.
I think showing that private communities have better ROI from a marketing standpoint, plus other benefits, is an interesting line of argument, even if it needs more data and rigor than this paper offers.
Correct. That’s become fairly widely recognised these days, luckily. I love how community-analytics.com summarise the pros and cons of each metric:
I agree in that they are more relevant leads because those members know who you are and what you do or sell, but if you want to market to a wider audience then social media is more powerful.
I think this would compare not to differently from most hosted online communities.
As for number of participants, I don’t find it a very useful metric. Number of active participants in the past month is really interesting though.