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Disproving the 90-9-1 Rule in Community Management

Posted on 5.18.2016

Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter do contribute to the success of today's businesses (just how much is up for debate as it varies for every initiative).

What many of the most successful companies concentrate on, however, is the development of their own communities and the value these assets can provide to their brand's bottom line. Developing and managing a community isn't easy of course, requiring an immense amount of financial and personnel resources. As a result, the expectations are often quite low about what such initiatives can offer a business. That belief, however, may be completely off the mark. 

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Among the key findings of a recent report (The State of Community Management 2016) from The Community Roundtable, respondents disproved the “90-9-1 rule” of social media engagement, which claims just 1% of users are active content creators, while 9% contribute to content and 90% lurk on the sidelines.

For the third consecutive year, communities reported numbers closer to 65-15-20, with more than a third of members actively creating and contributing to content. Set aside inactive members who never log in, and the percentage of actively engaged members in communities rises to between 40% and 50% - in both employee and customer communities.

“Online communities have moved from afterthought to strategic asset in the minds of many executives,” said Rachel Happe, co-founder and Principal of The Community Roundtable (TheCR), “but as the data show, too few communities can clearly define their value or provide the success metrics that will ensure sustained executive attention.”


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