Company-sponsored Social Networks Slow to Take Off
Shortly after people started flocking to Facebook and MySpace, companies tried to get in on that action by starting their own social networks to connect with customers and employees. The hope was that, by starting a conversation with these communities, the companies' brand names would spread, people would discover new products and the companies would get feedback from real people.
Well, according to survey findings released yesterday by Deloitte, these online communities haven't quite taken off. Most of the social networks have fewer than 500 active members, the survey found. Half of the respondents said getting people engaged with the communities has been the biggest hurdle.
Still, some corporations see it as a worthwhile venture. Thirty-five percent of the companies surveyed said the online communities helped them boost word-of-mouth promotion of their brands, and 28 percent said they've seen their overall brand awareness increase. About 24 percent of respondents said online communities are helping increase customer loyalty and bring outside ideas into the organization.
Other companies are still not investing enough time into the communities to make them effective. Nearly half of the respondents said the biggest challenge is devoting a sufficient amount of time to manage the social network.
The rise of these commercial social networks means more work for today's marketing departments. They're charged with running online communities to drive sales and improve customer service.
Is all this working, in your opinion? Personally, none of these communities has caught my eye or even compelled me to sign up. Are there some thriving communities out there I don't know about?
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