When launching your community it can be easy to jump straight into thinking about what you want to measure and track on the community, before really planning a strategy and goals. For example, you might decide to keep track of your weekly visitors, but do you understand why you're doing this?
Setting an objective
While KPIs and analytics are a really important part of any community launch, we need to first decide on the objective and goals for your community. The key thing here is to make sure that the community objective aligns with your overall company strategy. This objective might be to fix a problem that your customers are having, or to sell more products, or to build brand recognition.
Here are some examples of objectives aligned with a company strategy;
- An events company might want to set up an online community for its attendees to increase networking time between face-to-face events.
- Or your company might have specialist knowledge, and so the goal of the community is to create a thought leadership hub and demonstrate your company expertise.
- Alternatively, you might sell a technology product and the goal of the community is to bring together your customers to help guide product development and improve product adoption.
Breaking down smaller goals
Once you've identified the main objective of the community, we need to break it down into bite-sized goals that you can track. These smaller goals should each demonstrate value for the business; the value doesn't need to be financial but there should be a clear link between tracking the goal and the benefit for the company.
Here are some examples with the indicated value in brackets.
- The event community goals could be; to drive registrations to future events (financial), guide content for the next event (strategic) and allow people to purchase old event recordings (financial).
- The knowledge hub goals could be; by demonstrating expertise to become the number one location online in a specific topic (brand value), sell sponsorship based on high traffic from target customers (financial), and create a networking space for experts (customer value).
- The product community goals could be; customer engagement around product development (strategic) and a help forum of customers answering each others questions (brand and strategic).
And finally, once you have these mini-goals laid out you can assign the KPIs to show how they'd be measured on the community.
I'm aware that this is a course about engagement and we haven't spoken much about that yet. However, engagement is the trackable activity that feeds into the goals above, rather than the objective itself.
So using an example from above;
In the next module we'll look at what engagement KPIs to select, when to track them, and what software you should use.