During the past five years while working at Communispace, I’ve had the pleasure to learn and relearn a simple lesson – “community” works because it builds on a collective fundamental human desire that we all share; to be heard and to connect in an honest and authentic way for a common purpose. And for those brands and companies willing to listen and engage in online communities and to invest in sustaining a common purpose, the benefits can be startling to say the least.
I also believe that this “human desire” transcends geography, culture, gender, age, and all of the elements that make us different yet part of the global village (sorry I’ve loved that phrase ever since Hillary Clinton used it) and Communispace has recently completed some research that, guess what, shows that I’m right!
In a recently released paper Building Engagement in Online Communities: BRIC by BRIC Communispace evaluated online engagement patterns of over 6000 members across 16 online communities (facilitated in English) who reside in 84 countries. What we found was really no different than what I observe daily in the “global village” of London where often times English is not the native language of my colleagues, clients and friends who live here – and most find my “American accent” to be somewhat foreign. Yet we are able to find a way to connect and work productively together when we share a common purpose.
A few highlights from this research:
- It is more challenging, but not impossible, to engage members from BRIC countries in English-language online communities
- Factoid #1: Our findings demonstrate that no single nationality is definitively unengageable online
- People engage differently in different countries, but nationality is only part of the story…
- Factoid #2: Regardless of country, our research shows that community members contributed 2-3 times per week when they were actively engaged
- The question shifts from not if we can engage individuals from different countries in English language facilitated online communities, BUT HOW
- Factoid #3: Interacting online with community members in a manner that creates an opportunity for expression in a variety of ways that transcends language and rationality paves the way for engagement and deeper insights
- Community, more than country, drives the content of member-generated conversations (these are the conversations that members start rather than the brand’s questions to the members and brings consumers voices undiluted to the brand)
- Factoid #4: Lifestyle subjects represent a fundamental common ground for member engagement when combining many nationalities in one on-line setting and the on-line environment creates a dynamic of open sharing and interest
Would you like to learn more? Register here for our latest webinar this Thursday at 12pm GMT where the authors of the paper, Manila Austin and Katrina Lerman, will be walking through the findings in more depth. You may also download the paper below or better yet, drop me a line and let’s engage in a conversation – I’m interested to hear your thoughts!