Customers are drawn to branded customer communities by their content and that content’s relevance to them, per July 2012 survey results [download page] from Incyte, sponsored by Get Satisfaction. The most popular activities respondents indicated they would likely engage in include reading content (27.3%) and following posts (18.8%), while the top reasons for participating in a community are to get more information quickly (32.3%) and more answers from consumers like themselves (21.3%).
Other activities that consumers would be interested in engaging in on branded customer communities include sharing with their social networks (18.2%), liking the content (8.9%), posting replies and answers (8.3%), chatting (5.9%), and collaborating (5.4%).
These statistics imply that branded customer communities that focus upon providing social content are of the most interest to consumers.
Participants Are Enthusiastic Brand Advocates
An impressive 82.6% of branded community participants would be willing to become advocates for the products and services of companies whose communities they joined. 40.5% would do so with some incentive, but 42.1% would do so willingly and without incentive. Just 17.4% reported they would not act as advocates.
Facebook is their most likely platform for advocacy. When asked how they share content, comments and other information with friends and networks, 35.1% of consumers reported using their Facebook walls, and 21.3% Facebook likes. Tweets were a distant third at 4.3%, followed by LinkedIn updates (2.4%) and blogging (1.5%).
Most Are Attracted To Communities By Friends
Consumers prefer to join branded customer communities that they have discovered through a friend’s post on Facebook (58%) or that they have found themselves through an internet search (51.4%). 38.2% join communities through a company website link, with other sources including Facebook social ads (20.4%) and traditional ads (15%). This suggests that growth in branded community participation growth is earned, rather than won through hard marketing.
Still, some consumers are skeptical of branded online communities, found Capgemini in a survey of more than 16,000 shoppers from 16 countries released in July. These shoppers seem skeptical of reviews and communities hosted by retailers, with just 45% saying they trust the peer reviews hosted in those channels. Similarly, only about one-third find the ability to read others’ reviews extremely important, and sharing comments was only indicated to be of extreme importance by 28%. Participating in online communities provided by the retailers was rated extremely important by only 24% overall, but peaked at 70% in India, China, Mexico and Brazil. Finally, just 20% of shoppers were interested in creating public profiles visible to other shoppers.
About The Data: Incyte’s research team surveyed thousands of US consumers to identify demographic information, their understanding and use of internet technology, and their use of open social networks. In addition, the survey included conjoint analytic techniques to understand their preferences around branded customer communities (e.g., the value propositions that would attract them; how they preferred to learn about these communities; the role of the sponsoring brand, etc.). The results focused on responses from 1,897 qualified consumers who actively use the internet and represent adults from all age, socio-economic, and geographic groups in the US.