For an online community to thrive, it needs community members to become active users who create content and interact with one another frequently. By focusing on data-driven community management, you can create a platform which sparks these interactions, for example by publishing interesting content, sharing new events, or creating dedicated special interest groups, and then monitoring the effectiveness of these activities in your community. By using insights from your database to refine your engagement strategy, you can grow your community and engage them more effectively.
Many communities begin as groups on social media, but as your community grows over time it becomes more important not to lose vital information and data which cannot be controlled or tracked effectively using social media. By creating a private portal for your community, you can own the engagement data and convert more of your community to ‘official’ members by enabling them to create full online profiles and share extra info such as volunteering or mentoring experience.
Using a robust CRM and database, you can track and analyse the engagement of your community over time. You can filter for members using different engagement criteria, such as attending events, signing up to your newsletter and reading emails, downloading content, or volunteering as a mentor. By creating an engagement score matrix, you can weight each piece of activity to give you an overall measure of engagement that you can monitor for each individual. You can use these insights to determine your potential community influencers, who are active users that could help out in other ways, such as becoming a group admin.
One of the best ways to use data to inform your community engagement strategy is to experiment with different types of content and channels. If you’re starting out on a new platform, you can gather lots of valuable data around how your community prefers to engage with one another: whether they prefer to send private messages through a mobile app or participate in forum discussions; if they prefer to read articles or download content; which types of emails are most popular. As your community grows, continue to monitor and adjust your engagement activities to meet the needs of your new and existing members.
One of the most important tasks with managing online communities is to make new members feel welcome and encourage them to keep engaging. Members can quickly lose interest and not return if they don’t find the content relevant, or find the platform difficult to use. By using a community platform that makes it easy for end-users to grow their own networks, seek opportunities in your community and engage with others through forums, you can increase your chances of retaining new members. For best practice, you should check up monthly on new members by filtering on your database for anyone that signed up in the last 6 months, and seeing how many of them have filled out their online profile page, added new connections, or downloaded a resource, and give them a nudge to keep their engagement journey going!
To become a data-driven community manager, you need the right tools for the job. With an all-in-one community portal, database, CRM and email / events management system, ToucanTech supports community engagement and tracking. To find out more, speak to a member of the ToucanTech team.
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