A recent report by ComBlu studied more than 200 online communities managed by 92 brands, revealing that advocacy is a goal for social efforts, but some content marketers are failing to adopt best practices that win follower loyalty. Although the realm of social marketing and online branded communities is growing and changing, the report showed that some businesses are neglecting to use custom content to engage particular cohorts.
ComBlu defined advocacy as marketing around a product or service to deepen relationships, win support and spread an idea among partners. Eighty-four percent of brands have an advocacy focus, as opposed to emphasis on customer support and feedback.
According to the report, many brands have not leveraged their community managers to engage customers. These managers often fail to respond to user questions in forums or on discussion threads. In 2011, 42 percent of brands had cohesive strategies for social engagement, but now only 27 percent have developed strategies. Consequently, nearly one in 10 online communities are “ghost towns” that lack meaningful engagement.
Content marketers looking to develop brands through social channels should consider how to best engage the communities they’re trying to reach. Brafton reported that 97 percent of content marketers are invested in audience targeting, believing that reaching the right group of people is essential to finding success on the web.