Over the past year, America's top brands have made improvements in how they use online branded communities to reach their customers, but some opportunities for engagement remain untapped, according to a new report by ComBlu.

More brands are taking a strategic approach to social media engagement in 2011. Among the 251 online branded communities studied, managed by 92 brands: 

  • 41% of brands now have a cohesive strategy for social engagement in which multiple activities roll into a single online experience, compared with 33% in 2010, and 20% in 2009. 
  • The social experimentation stage is most prevalent: 50% of brands are experimenting with social communities, lacking a long-term engagement approach, using instead a series of one-off experimental marketing campaigns. That level is up from 45% in 2010.
  • Community ghost towns (unpopulated communities) now make up 5% of communities, down from 15% in 2010.
  • Community overload (multiple communities fighting for attention from the same audience) afflicts 4% of online communities, down from 5% in 2009.

Below, additional findings from the third annual "State of Online Branded Communities" issued by ComBlu.

Community Engagement Strategies

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