Influencer Programs Hold the Key to Building Increased Long Term Engagement in Online Communities

by Jennifer McClure

Most organizations are focused on member activity over the short term, however, building and implementing influencer programs builds longer term loyalty and engagement according to Forum One Networks, a strategy and research group specializing in online communities. This is one of the findings of a recent study, Online Community Marketing, Growth and Engagement; companies who have employed influencer programs are at a competitive advantage to build longer term loyalty from their community members.

According to Forum One, most companies are focused on short term, tactical metrics such as time spent on site, activity on the site, frequency on the 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.”

The Online Community Marketing, Growth and Engagement study was published by Forum One Networks’ Online Community Research Network. The study was created to gain insight into how people are measuring engagement in their online communities and to understand how many organizations were using an elite / influencer program, and how those programs were structured.

For more information about the Online Community Research Network, or to purchase a membership to view the full report, please go to: