Online communities have become an increasingly important way for people to connect and engage with each other. These communities offer a powerful platform for driving community-led impact, as they allow people to collaborate, share ideas, and work together towards common goals. However, it’s easy to say things. When it comes to measuring impact, it becomes difficult to put down human emotions into numbers.
Some might argue that the ‘proof is in the pudding’; an engaged, value-driven community is all you need and everything else speaks for itself. But as communities continue to get heavily entangled with businesses, teams are looking for ways to pin down community-led impact. Now, it’s important to know which strategies led to what goals or which initiatives helped move the needle. But how do you get there?
In fact, the deeper you get into it, the more questions come up -
Most of the miscommunication or misunderstandings happen when you’re working in silos. ‘Assumption’ is where reciprocity goes to die. You don’t want that. Make sure all teams, executives, higher management, and everyone involved with the functioning of a company has clear access and updates to your community. The first step to communicating impact starts with keeping everyone on the same page.
You can consider having weekly meetings about what happened in your community this week. Don’t hide anything. Be it a negative trendline or dissatisfactory results, transparency means having a clear picture of everything that’s happening.
If you’re just starting out, impact takes a back seat and you’re completely submerged in figuring out a way to build a sustainable community. At this phase especially, it’s not easy to tie company goals to initiatives. However, the point is to build a habit early on to have a reason for doing what you’re doing.
The goal doesn’t always have to be boiled down into numbers, it can be the big picture stuff. But the process of tieing goals to outcomes is the stepping stone to measuring community-led impact. If you know what you’re doing at all times, it becomes easier to communicate the value to teams internally.
There’s no better measure of community-led impact than getting feedback from the community. Creating feedback loops will not just help gauge how your community is responding to your efforts but it’s also a great way to directly show the direct impact of it to executives within your organization.
And feedback loops are not just restricted to community initiatives. Community is an excellent platform for product improvements and upgrades. But at the same time, you need to also be careful of the noise; not every feedback is critical or a priority. A great way to approach this is to discuss it internally with your product or engineering teams and decide which features to narrow down on while getting feedback. By doing this you can 1) cut down noise significantly and 2) get top-quality feedback only from those community members who have actually/extensively used that feature.
Pinning down community impact into data points is difficult but necessary. As we discussed, surveys and feedback loops are great ways to go about data points. But there are more ways to draw insights from the community. Having a community management platform, for instance, can be a game-changer.
Threado being one such platform gives you actionable insights and reports that quantify efforts through data. You can leverage these reports to narrow down community-led impact into metrics i.e. how many people interacted with your messages, how many dormant users got activated, how many people replied to messages, and more of such critical community instances that can be decorated with data.
All of what we’ve discussed so far leads to this point eventually. Without internal communication, there is no community-led impact that gets acknowledged. Therefore, the most important factor that binds all your efforts together is the ability to articulate those efforts and what they accomplished. When everyone's aligned on the same things, it eventually becomes easier to not just understand the importance of community but also communicate it.
The first 30-days in any role are equal parts exciting, overwhelming, and confusing. It’s also really important as it’ll set the tone and direction of your role for years to come.
Acknowledging the top contributors and public shoutouts/appreciation for great work done within the community is a step further towards building trust and fostering a culture of supporting each other.