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Real friendship is a little bit magical. Love this photo from my wonderful friend, Libby Williams.

A dear friend of mine recently moved to Greenville from Asheville. The other night we were talking about what it feels like to make new friends when you move to a new community.

He made a simple observation that got stuck in my heart:

90% of a having a friend is being a friend.

We have a lot of discussion around here about “engagement”. What does it mean and how do you really measure true engagement within a community? So many brands and organizations still feel numbers of Facebook fans or twitter followers is a sign of promising engagement.

They really do.

The other day John Moore stumbled on this study: Facebook Fans: A Fan for Life? He sent the team this quick summary:

The authors studied the ‘People Talking About This’ (PTAT) measurement from Facebook between Oct and Nov 2011 to determine how many fans, after the initial ‘like’, are engaging with the brand.

Their findings reveal less than 0.5% of Facebook fans engage with the brands they are fans of during any week.

Of the 200 brands they studied, only 1 brand had 2% of their fans engage with them during a seven-day period. (Included in these 200 brands are “passion” brands… Nike, Chanel, Harley-Davidson, Jack Daniels, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., etc.)

Just 20 brands reached the 1% level of engagement from fans on any given week.

The authors close by writing, “The real question is how cost effective is it for a brand to attempt to drive engagement if the most they can reasonably expect is that 1% of fans will engage?”

We are keeping a close track on the PTAT on FB stats. And our communities are fairing much better.

So it got me thinking. Wondering about the lessons we can learn.

Maybe… we have it all backwards.

Perhaps the thing we should be measuring is our own efforts to be a friend? Something the community management team takes very serious at Brains on Fire.

As brands and organizations are we making a 90% effort?

What do you think about that? Chime in.

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