While there are trends - Deloitte's study says that businesses are still some time away from leveraging the full power of social media and networking communities
As the study says:
Some of the biggest obstacles to creating a successful community are getting people to:
Join (24 percent)
Stay engaged (30 percent)
Keep returning (21 percent)
These can be easily remedied through partnering and new management practices. However, the study indicates that very few companies are taking the steps necessary to overcome these challenges.
While 58 percent of respondents evaluated partnering with existing communities, complementary vendors or end users when developing their community, 55 percent of the companies that evaluated a partnership did not actually partner.
The study also revealed significant gaps between community goals (such as generating word of mouth, customer loyalty and brand awareness) and how success is being measured.
The top two analytics for measuring success are:
Number of active users (34 percent)
How often people post/comment (32 percent)
These results indicate that participation is still considered to be the biggest measure of success. Potentially more useful analytics, however, such as increase in search engine rank and citations/links on other sites, are less often utilized, highlighting a mismatch between the desired outcome and how that outcome is measured.
Of the companies surveyed, a majority agreed that the following continue to be top business objectives of online communities:
Increase word-of-mouth (38 percent)
Increase customer loyalty (34 percent)
Increase brand awareness (30 percent)
Improve idea generation (29 percent)
Improve the quality of customer support (23 percent)
However, in the majority of companies surveyed, marketing continues to be the primary driver of online communities, resulting in a significant gap between community goals and the organizations’ capability to fully leverage these communities on an enterprise wide basis.
Of course, these findings are US centric but we are seeing Indian firms also starting out leveraging the social web.