Measuring Success in Online Communities

Today, SNCR Fellow Connie Bensen & Kellie Parker walked the NewComm Forum audience through a joint presentation on “Measurement & Metrics for a Successful Community“. Connie is the Community Strategist for Techrigy SM2, a social media monitoring tool while, Kellie Parker is Community Manager at Sega of America.

Benson and Parker covered two critical measurement topics for any company:

  • How are you measuring the interaction & growth of your community?
  • What metrics are important?

They outlined 5 easy steps used to measure the progress and health of a community:

  • Identify business objectives
  • Decide on priorities
  • Chose what to measure and measurement tools
    • Quantitative
    • Qualitative
  • Define benchmark
  • Identify trends & report it

Here are some examples of business objectives:

  • Generate more word of mouth
  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Bring outside ideas into organization
  • Increase product/brand awareness
  • Improve new product success rations
  • Improve PR effectiveness
  • Reduce Customer acquistion costs
  • Reduce customer support
  • Reduce market research costs
  • Reduce product development costs

Here’s a sentiment that was echoed by other speakers as well – “Identify your goals and work your way to metrics from your goals”.

Start with:

  • Target percentage of desired increase
    • Start with an estimate, if you don’t have available benchmarks
  • Use benchmarks to set goals
  • Translate that information to business needs

The presenters suggest prioritization of business objectives in order of importance. For Benson, increasing the product awareness & WOM (ROI as # of additional sales) was the key objective.

Here’s how to determine what’s important to measure:

– What keeps your boss up at night?
– What are competitive threats?

The presenters suggested choosing one measurement per business objective and here are some suggested metrics:  

– number of visitors & repeat visitors
– number of registered users vs. active
– frequency of posting & number of comments
– type of searches

– Increase in SEO ranking

– Number of subscriptions via email & RSS
– Usage of Features

Some suggested measurement tools:

Web analytics tools:
– Google analytics, stat counter, getclicky
– Proprietary to community

SM monitoring tools:
– google alers, search
Techrigy, radian6, trucast
Social search tools – deliver, who’s talking?, same point, social mention, seprh, one riot

– Survey tool used to measure sentiment about the brand

Qualitative results:

– Testimonials
– Marketing use
– Product development & use cases
– Identify brand advocates
– Appreciation for customer service

Quantitative results:
– Use to calculate progress (% increase)

Last but not the least, reporting your results:

Benson provided a sample template that she uses for monthly reporting:

– Ongoing definition of objectives
– Interaction
– Qualitative quotes
– Recommendations
–  Benchmarks based on previous report
– Web analytics (unless someone else is tracking them)
– Social web analytics

Here’s what included in the reports:

– Note & report customer requests needing immediate assistance
– Identify topics requiring FAQs or blog posts

– Marketing/pr
– Feedback on connection of messaging
– Identify sites for potential partnerships
– Report on time periods of high traffic
– Feedback on brand sentiment

– Overview of brand sentiment & competitive analysis
– Offer insight/ suggestions on future trends & key industry topics

The presenter mentioned overlap with other functions and to leverage what are other departments are already measuring. Collaboration with other departments will ensure that there’s no reinventing of the wheel.


4 responses to “Measuring Success in Online Communities

  1. Thanks for a posting a great overview of our presentation. I agree that it’s nice to see a focus on measurement. It’s time for that.
    I look forward to meeting you in the next few days.

    Community Strategist, Techrigy

    • Hi Connie,
      I couldn’t agree more. It’s definitely time for more focus on measurement and working for a large company, I am very cognizant of the need for it. Your presentation was very insightful so I am glad I got a chance to cover it.
      I regret that I missed the roundtable on social media monitoring but I got the key highlights from another attendees. Look forward to running into you at future events.

  2. Pingback: ImpactWatch » Blog Archive » Top Social Media Monitoring & Measurement Posts of the Week

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