Facebook’s Community Value is 5% of 5% or 0.25% < A Failure to Communicate

Facebook’s Community Value is 5% of 5% or 0.25% < A Failure to Communicate

If 95% of the 5% of the people that actually engage with a business online are ignored, that leaves MOST (what’s 5% of 5%?) facebook users IGNORED! How’s that grab you for the successful use of social media for business?

facebook's participation rate is about 0.25

In continuing this thought from a previous facebook fails post, I want to explore what activities we still participate in online that have community value. Maybe facebook is a community, but it’s more like a scrapbook you share with “friends” and “not-so-much-friends.”

In a training session yesterday with about 35 young men and women we talked a lot about facebook and “engagement” and “driving the conversation.” I guess if facebook were a thriving community, the participation rate would be a bit higher.

Once again, let me set the context with a few FACTS about facebook participation today:

  • 90% of time spent on social networks is on facebook, world-wide.*
  • Only 1 out of 10 people ever LIKES something on facebook.* (the other 90% do not participate, they lurk)
  • 50% of people’s time on facebook is spent in social gaming* (farmville, etc)

Of the 5% of people who are showing a pulse on facebook and not merely gaming or browsing, very very few ever comment or post on facebook themselves.

And it’s not just the individuals that are missing the connection: a recent statistic says that 95% of questions on company facebook pages go unanswered.*

All right, so that’s a pretty alarming statistic, isn’t it? For all the time companies spend getting FANS and promoting themselves, don’t you think they would answer when the 0.25% people post a question on their wall? But they don’t. What are they doing with their facebook “community?”

This summer, after Pfizer’s facebook page was hacked, I asked a question that was aimed at the same core concept. What value, what “conversation” is Pfizer capable of providing on facebook? Do people want to become FANS of Viagra? (Probably they do.) Or some anti-depressant drug of the month?

So if pharmaceutical companies are merely pushing promotional advertising as social media, what are other businesses doing?

In an example yesterday, a participant talked about a competitor’s facebook page. There was a direct sales question, as in “how can I pay you my money right now?” that had been asked on Dec. 7th. It had not been answered on Dec. 21st. And more than likely no one saw the question and no one will answer it. Is that social media?

What do we do online that builds community?

Talk about a product we are passionate about, or a software program we are using, or a cause we strongly believe in.

Examples: product: apple; software app: photoshop; cause: livestrong.org.

I can guarantee you someone is always answering questions on the livestrong site, facebook page, twitter account, and their own community pages. And you already know that their brand (name) awareness is huge. But is it about Lance Armstrong? Some of it. Some of the “community” is passionate about biking. Is it about cancer? Some of it. Much of livestong’s mission is to provide social “community” support for people and families of people fighting against cancer. Is it a health & wellness site? Some of it. You can find apps to help you lose wait, control your salt intake, and stop smoking. Is it a sales and marketing site? Yep, that too. You can by several hundred products on livestrong’s site.

The core tenets of community are:

Support: conversations, questions, answers, exchanging information from person to person (rather than company to person), “I’m having problems with this product of yours, how can I fix it?”.

Passionate branding: love the products, love what they stand for (even if you don’t have cancer in your life), love the spokesmen and spokeswomen, love the message they broadcast.

Fun: gaming, challenging, encouraging, competing, measuring yourself against the masses.

Sharing: her’s my picture, here’s where I am now, here’s what I am doing, what are you doing? do you want to get together? did you like that movie?

NOTE TO BUSINESS ON FACEBOOK: Community is not about advertising or promotional coupons, and it’s not about sales or ROI. Those things can be a part of the platform, but they alone do not provide any communal value.

Facebook as a platform, does a great job at FUN. Social gaming makes up about 50% of people’s time on facebook. And facebook does a pretty good job at SHARING. (pictures, updates, checkins)

On the other two BRANDING and SUPPORT, facebook has a long way to go. If only 5% of wall questions ever get answered, you can be sure that a lot of companies with facebook pages are simply NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO FACEBOOK.

How have you seen facebook be successful in your work life, or in your business? I’d like to hear about it.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

This Post Has 9 Comments

    1. That’s fantastic. It’s when the companies spend money on facebook and then ignore them that drives me crazy. Keep being a good fb citizen.

  1. Hi,

    You quoted some statistics, and put an asterisk after them, but I’m not seeing the footnote that shows where the stats came from. Am I missing it?

    I agree with you about most folks missing the boat when it comes to social media in general, and Facebook in particular. I wonder if most people are on Facebook just because they’re inclined to follow, and it appears everyone is going to FB. They aren’t,but it looks that way.

    Small point: In case it matters, they would be “core tenets” rather than “core tennants.” A tenant is someone who rents, and a tenet is a belief or principle.

    1. Nice. You are correct, I did not cite my sources. You can google them. I got lazy, not something that happens very often in this day of single shot coffee makers. Let me know if you REALLY want my sources, I’ll go get them for you. (grin) – jmac

  2. Advertisers are facebook’s customers, not the users. No?

    1. That’s a good point, Mysti. Facebook is being paid by advertisers. But the performance is so poor, only the big brands can actually do it for very long.

  3. jMac, since you mention this twice, what is the workshop you participated in where you had these discussions? Who was the speaker/presenter?

    1. Hey Simon, I was leading the workshop for a local client.

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