The Case Against Facebook As A Community Platform
People get upset when you claim Facebook is a bad community platform.
But the case is compelling. Lets look at some figures.
Of Coca-Cola's 34 million fans, only 56,000 are active (0.2 percent of the total). Disney's engagement is .03 percent; Starbucks, often lauded as a social media leader, is 1.3 percent; and McDonald's doesn't register (only about 3,900 fans can be considered active). Compared to offline engagement, these numbers represent a relatively small percentage of active consumers.
Yet, this is misleading. Active is defined as having made a single action (e.g. clicked like on a post within the past month). The gap between clicking like and posting a comment is huge.
If we go through the figures, we see that the number of active fans to real contributions (making a post/comment) is in the region of 10% – 50%.
Does an active community member only post once per month? I doubt it.
An active fan usually makes several comments a month. If each active fan posts just 5 comments a month (a low figure by community standards), the number of truly active fans drops by 80% or more. The more they post, the lower the number of active members.
Even if this were not the case, 56,000 fans who make one contribution a month is hardly a sign of a healthy, engaged, community.
We either have a large number of people who have made 1 contribution or a tiny number of highly active fans. Possibly as low as a few hundred. Remember, this is from 34m.
A dedicated community builder using a community-based platform (Drupal, Joomla, VBulletin, PHPBB, Pluck, Ning, BuddyPress, Teligent, Lithium, Jive etc…) will easily top that figure. Better yet, they will do it on a platform developed specifically for communities, which they control and where they can contact all members.
Facebook isn't the best community platform, it's quite possibly the worst.