Forum One Networks, a strategy and research group specializing in online communities, has found in a recent study, Online Community Marketing, Growth and Engagement, that companies who have employed influencer programs are at a competitive advantage to build longer term loyalty from their community members.
Most companies are focused on short term, tactical metrics such as; time spent on site, activity on the site, frequency on site and other standard metrics. A smaller set of research participants reported developing influencer programs with an eye toward building long term engagement. One respondent noted that their community building efforts “ … are not campaign-based for short term ROI, but long term for building brand advocates and evangelists. Expected payback is subtle, over years, not weeks, but clearly evident within weeks.”
As online community practitioners work to develop better metrics, ROI and best practices, building effective influencer programs will likely become more standard practice. According to Bill Johnston, chief community officer for Forum One Networks, “Influencer programs are becoming important elements of a mature community strategy. Companies are beginning to see the long term value of finding, thanking and engaging the key influencers in their community.”
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