Our expert: Chief Community Officer, Strategic Consultant, and Host of In Before The Lock, Brian Oblinger
"In my experience, the most important metrics to analyze are those related to business.
How is community impacting the top and bottom lines of the business? What stories are we telling about these successes internally?
Handling misalignments between business goals and community needs can be a challenging nut to crack. It all starts with building relationships with various stakeholders, understanding their needs, and educating them about what community can and cannot contribute to success.
You can often avoid misalignment by setting proper expectations early and telling stories along the way that help people understand the value of community.
In the past, we have relied too heavily on community metrics to prove the value of community inside of our organizations. These numbers are important drivers, but we have to do a better job of sharing insights that help contextualize, educate, and promote the “why?” of community building.
For community metrics specifically, I tend to look at the following as a way of understanding how we are performing.
- Unique Visitors (Acquisition)
- New Members (Conversion)
- Posts/Votes/Solutions/etc. (Engagement)
While growth is important, it’s not the only measure of success. Many people get sucked into an endless treadmill of trying to “hack” growth and lose sight of the importance of quality in lieu of quantity.
Focusing long-term on value created for members and the organization is more important. In some cases, the growth-at-all-costs mentality can hamper your ability to get the outcomes you actually seek."
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