Is a social group engaged?

When we talk about business or enterprise social networks, we expect to get value out of them from the level and quality of knowledge exchange and interaction.

In other words: is there a significant share of the Community posting on the network? Is the content posted interesting enough to engage post readers in replies, comments, discussions? At the end, this is one of the main goals when we establish this kind of software in our company, or when we engage in a public community.

I tried to analyse some groups on Linkedin, surely a big professional social network. The Group is an area where people can find each other based on some aggregation key, like a specific topic of interest, or a professional status, or alumni, etc.  People participating in a Group doesn’t know each other, so the level of interaction among people reflects the interest raised in people. To be more precise:

  • the number of Group’s members reflects the interest for the Group topic,
  • the number of Group’s posts and comments reflects the engagement level.

Now, some examples:

An Industry Association Group

Statistics about Information Technology - Community Assinform - Associazione Ita_2014-03-14_18-29-41

This is quite a large Group, with a relevant share of top level professionals. It’s growth rate has been constant over time, but not terrific.

Members are mainly located in Italy (single Country).

Statistics about Information Technology - Community Assinform - Associazione Ita_2014-03-14_18-32-31

Observing the activity graph above, we can see that the activity is low (one post each few days), and that the ratio of comments/post is low.

Looking at the Group activity, we see a large share of events announcements, and also that the number of frequent contributors is limited; one of them is the Industry Association itself.

The synthesis? This is a a Group that attract people, it’s a communication channel for the owner, but it’s worth looking at it not more than once a week.

A “topic centered” Group

This is an interesting example.

Statistics about Strategie competitive e modelli di business _ LinkedIn_2014-03-14_18-43-43

The number of Group’s members is huge, largely in the entry/middle professional levels. The growth rate was impressing, with an average of 2% week on week.

Statistics about Strategie competitive e modelli di business _ LinkedIn_2014-03-14_18-46-59

The above graph shows an impressive ratio of comments/post that is frequently above 100.  The frequency of posts is not high, an average of one per day.

To me, this appear as a successful initiative of the Group’s owner. Some people push forward the discussion, and the topics posted are clearly interesting. We can expect that many members are ready to post their comments because they are happy to show their professional attitude (and this is not bad), but their comments are meaningful, because a lot of other people engage in the discussion.

Looking at the posts sequence, we can see that, although there are some top contributors, there is a great number of different people that post to the group. It is really a Group, rather than a showcase.

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