How Communities Work Part II

February 24, 2010

Another interesting post from Francois Gossieaux over at Emergence Marketing – Active lurkers – the hidden asset in online communities

I’d like to add a couple of point based on our work here at MotiveQuest.

1. The degree of lurking (read to post ratio is one easy way to look at it) has a very wide range depending on the community type. It can range from 100:1 (automotive communities) all the way up to 1,000:1 (financial services) depending on the type of community.

2. We have done segmentation of data by community participation roles (Mavens, Participants, Advocates, & Newbies). Each of these roles has very different participation motivations, issues, motivations, drivers and questions. Understanding the details of each segment is critical if you want to engage with the community in a positive way.

3. Many (or even most) vibrant communities are not company or brand owned, but rather owned by their own mavens. See for cellphones or for cars. Brands can support and participate in these communities, but they are well advised to understand the community motivations first.

In general the results of the MIT study are interesting and useful, but I would want to understand the particulars of a given community before engaging, because individual community dynamics, motivations and characteristics vary widely.



Peet’s Evanston Made My Day

February 19, 2010

As I was walking to work today in a daze I made my usual right turn on Chicago and Davis to head over to Peet’s coffee. (Just walking in the door at Peet’s and inhaling is usually enough to wake me up – no coffee shop smells so much like great coffee!) I wandered up to the counter and placed my usual order

Me: “large coffee please” (no latte’s or frappe’s for me).

Peet’s: “That’ll be $2.15” (I reach into my pockets – no money, left wallet at home)

Me: “sorry, I don’t have any money – so nevermind”

Peet’s: “doesn’t matter, you need your coffee and you can pay us tomorrow”

Me: “no, no I couldn’t”

Peet’s: “take the coffee, you need it”

Me: “OK, thanks a lot”

I know that free coffee doesn’t cost them much, but this gesture still makes me feel really good. I am a huge Peet’s fan and advocate, but now I will recommend them even more. That’s good word of mouth!



The Problem in Social Media Marketing

February 9, 2010

Have you seen the 2010 edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer? I have – and frankly, it has me worried. Specifically the precipitous drop in trust among friends/peers is a concern. I think this drop in trust has three root causes.

In the AdAge article about this, Richard Edelman attributes this drop in trust to a “sign of the times” and I agree that’s a contributing factor, but there is much more to this plunge. I think it’s a direct result of social media marketing. Yes, the mere fact of abusing SM channels (which are p to p conversational channels) with marketing messages causes everyone participating to trust less. Finally, the definition of what a “friend” is has been bastardized by Twitter, FB, etc.

I am a hardliner on “pay-per-post” and “crowds-for-hire” to go out and review things – I just think it is wrong. The term “Sponsored Conversation” is an oxymoron.

I think commercial endorsements (especially outside of their specific field of expertise) are bad for big bloggers, even if it does get them paid. It makes me (and everyone else) think less of them. I don’t think much of “influencer marketing” schemes.

Our business (MotiveQuest) depends on people having real, organic, honest conversations with each other on the web. We collect and analyze these conversations to understand why people do what they do. Our clients pay for these ideas, insights and recommendations to help grow their business. This only works if we don’t WRECK social media by using it to try to sell stuff to people.

Tom O’Brien