Need to increase engagement in your online community? Three companies share ways they increase engagement with their online audience.
If you are struggling with engagement in your online community then you aren’t alone. Improving and maintaining online engagement is the number one challenge for community managers.
There is a lot of discussion around what ideal engagement looks like in communities and the most often cited engagement rule of thumb is the “90-9-1 Rule” originally purposed by the Neilson Norman Group in 2006.
There has been a significant amount of subsequent research that has both confirmed and debunked that ratio. In reality, there are many of factors that impact engagement rates, including:
- Community strategy
- Community age
- Management and moderation
- Size and membership requirements
- Member characteristics
- Infrastructure, integration, and functionality
The State of Community Management research has consistently shown communities can generate much higher rates on average, but these rates still fluctuate considerably based on the community’s use case and management. What is true? Every community program can determine its ideal engagement rates given its goals, knowing that more of one of engagement behavior is not always better than another. It is critical to align engagement rates with business and member objectives.
Below, three organizations share a look at how community programs have had strategic, operational, and tactical on their business.
SAS has a mature customer community that delivers significant value throughout the customer experience. While its roots are in customer support, the community also drives customer satisfaction, brand awareness, and increasingly, a leading source of information on new solutions and innovation.
The community has become the hub of SAS expertise online and complements other channels like GitHub and YouTube. The community’s search results, in turn, inform and prioritize marketing content, which brings even more people into the SAS ecosystem.
As a mature community with a lot of captured knowledge, its rate of successful searches is a remarkable 74%. When combined with a monthly search volume of 17,000 inside the community – and 9x that comes from Google – the SAS community creates a pull that is hard to replicate with more traditional marketing approaches. This performance results is an impressive ROI of 1,026% even without accounting for public search referrals. Learn more.
The Cloudera community has 1200 answers contributed monthly and the community sees hundreds of thousands of searches – 95% of which are successful. Because Cloudera has a complex product stack, which requires deep and broad business and technical skills, the average value of an answer is high – well above the industry average – making the value of the program impressive and compelling.
Now Cloudera’s community program has scaled beyond the support model and is also delivering on marketing-centric objectives; communications effectiveness, customer retention, and revenue growth. This is driving the need for business integration that often accompanies mature communities and suggests the community is a key enabler of the customer experience more holistically. Cloudera has achieved this maturity thanks to investments in both strategy and business management, which differentiates it from many of its peers. Learn more.
National Instruments’ community is designed to provide its customers with scaled peer-to-peer support – a well-understood and highly successful application of community approaches. Looking at its engagement profile, it fits the high lurker/listener to active member model of many support communities. And, when we break down the 1% that are actively engaging, we can see that the vast bulk of the 5,360 active members are asking and answering questions- and driving value for over 500,000 others, who can solve their issues without ever having to ask a question.
The maturity of the community and the continuing engagement of 1% of it results in a 93% click-through rate on searches. Given that the value of an answer is well over $100 – 50,000 searches a year results in millions of dollars in savings and opportunity for National Instruments – even if you assume only 5% of search results lead to a discovered answer. Learn more.
Want more details and tips on how to improve the strategic, operational, and tactical impact your community program has on online engagement?
This free ebook. Engaging to Unlock Retention, Trust, and Innovation, focuses on engagement, taking a deeper look at what drives engagement, the dynamics of engagement, its impact, and how engagement is being measured and reported in online communities today. Download now.