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Panasonic’s user-run community outperforms Facebook as hub for peer-to-peer advice
Panasonic’s Lumix photography forum shows that user-run communities have advantages over brand-driven networks. Posts exchanging advice are at high volumes, suggesting unmoderated communities are effective at driving knowledgeable conversation about brand-related topics.
By providing a resource which meaningfully benefits owners, Panasonic differentiate themselves from other consumer electronics brands - with minimal effort compared to brands like Olympus who run their own Q&A sessions.
Panasonic describe their Lumix Lifestyle community as a place “to inspire others or be inspired”. The forum is hosted on Panasonic’s Lumix camera website, but is essentially consumer-run, with minimal intervention from the brand. The community members number more than 6,000 and discuss a wide range of issues related to the usage and upkeep of Lumix G cameras, as well as software, accessories and photography in general.
WaveMetrix analysis indicates that the user-run forum provides a hub for owners to share advice in a way which they rarely do on Panasonic’s Facebook page. This suggests user-run communities can work well at encouraging engagement around brand-related issues – and also at fostering an association with expertise based on user experiences. However, questions about specific products receive relatively few responses from the Lumix Lifestyle community, revealing an area where brand intervention may be beneficial.
Panasonic’s Lumix Lifestyle forum encourages advice sharing much more than Facebook:
- One third of comments on the Lumix Lifestyle forum are from consumers asking advice, compared to 9% on Facebook: Owners ask “how to get” their cameras to perform certain functions, query “which product is best” and seek suggestions on how to achieve specific photographic effects
- Even more consumers give advice in response to questions from peers: Half of comments on Lumix Lifestyle are from consumers offering advice, revealing an engaged community who provide numerous responses to others’ requests for help
- Many owners on the Lumix Lifestyle community respond to consumers who ask about choosing products and achieving results: They share recommendations around which products to buy and offer tips on how to produce photographic effects like “capturing wheels in motion”
- However, buzz from those giving advice on specific products is low in proportion to those asking for help: This ‘advice gap’ suggests product-specific help is an area where brands like Panasonic might benefit from engaging directly with consumers, via Facebook or elsewhere