We are very lucky at The Community Roundtable to have Jillian Bejtlich on our team. She has a strong background in enterprise communities from her time with Autodesk and great knowledge on metrics and analytics. Her superpower however is helping people understand that metrics aren’t scary. She’s helping our TheCR Network members with their wish lists on what parts of their community they’d like to measure and we thought you would like in on some of the great conversation they are having:
If you get a group of community managers together and merely mention the word “metrics”, the first question that comes up is “What do I measure?”… and that is a fantastic question. With a huge variety of forum platforms, an even bigger pool of possible community objectives, and a never-ending list of user types – it might feel really impossible to come up with the perfect community dashboard.
Fortunately, nothing is ever impossible. The key to communities and metrics is clearly identifying all the pieces to your puzzle.
What metrics are available to me?
With all the various community platforms out there, you’d think that there would be a common point between all of them when it comes to metrics. Unfortunately there really isn’t. Every platform will provide something different, so it’s crucial to figure out what data you have available before trying to draft up a metric dashboard. Some platforms such as Lithium will have an extensive amount available, and others will offer just the absolute basics. Thoroughly research your options before promising to report on anything!
Who will see these metrics?
This is a critical piece of the puzzle. If metrics are for your eyes only versus publicly available or exclusively for executives – what you report on might be different. Take this into consideration as you think about what metrics you need to pull. Matters of confidentiality, proprietary information, or the message you’re hoping to convey all have an influence.
What is the purpose of my community?
Wondering why there isn’t a one dashboard fits all solution? Every community is 110% different, even if they’re for a similar product or exist on the same platform. The key difference is in your community’s purpose. In general, the objectives of your community will align with business goals. Let’s say your business objective is to provide consumers with a way to book components of their vacation (hotel, flights, etc.). Your community objective might be something like creating a thriving community full of helpful vacation tips that encourages people to book travel. The metrics surrounding that community will be altogether different than a community focused on providing complex technical support for an expensive software product.
What metrics are you interested in studying? What frustrations do you have surrounding metrics for your community?
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