Taking The Pulse Of Your Community

Posted by Vanilla Staff on Nov 3, 2011, 5:09:06 PM

4 minute read

Live-Blogging Blogworld LA 2011: "Taking the pulse of your community" by Lauren Vargas.

Reviewing the 5 steps of the marketing buying process as foundation for looking at metrics of pulse.

Understand how your customers are getting the information catalyst that made them seek out your solutions. What's their root need? What makes them tick? Understand the customer sales cycle? Is it spur of the moment? Or part of a longer decision cycle?

Information Search: before they are looking for Product X or Brand X they need to figure out what they need to fulfill their desire. Figure out how they go about doing the search.

Evaluation: how do they filter the data they receive from searching. Who are what do they look to in order to perform that filtering process. Where are the connections?

Purchase/Decision: Are you there at the right step, providing the answers to any last-minute questions. Are you making it easy for your customers to move through this stage, to make the buy. Are you making them feel good about this decision? What happens after this decision to continue the dialogue forwards. This is really the beginning of the relationship.

Cognitive Dissonance: the post-purchase regret that customers often feel after making the purchase decision. You want to make sure that this doesn't happen, rather the reasons for their decision are reinforced. Having an open dialogue, a transparent community helps to provide the bridge to accomplishing this.

Identify and Adapt: Community Managers can map the connections. What does it mean to be a valuable member of your community. Community Management has changed in terms of listening and engaging etiquette. Being a part of the conversation at every step of the process, not a johnny-come-lately, allows CM's to then engage when the time is right and to do with credibility.

Build Structure: Understand how an activity type maps to a type of person and what they are thinking at that time and how that maps to your organization. What's the background? What's the understanding? What does that mean to the organization? Knowing this allows us to understand the raw data of activities in the community. Community Managers need to map the activities and feedback types to the rest of the organization so that the organization knows how to respond in different situations. The structure needs to be alive and able to adapt.
You need to have a Community Health Index. Knowing how your community aligns with your organization helps you decide what metrics should be measured.

4 General Areas of Community Management

Brand Engagement
Industry Engagement
Internal Engagement
Content Creation and Curation

Brand Engagement
This is standard stuff like brand mentions in tweets, blog posts etc.

Industry Engagement
The conversations happening outside your brand. The conversations about the type of problem that your product would be a solution for. How can you build your presence in those areas of discussion? Where are these conversation happening? This is happening offline as well as offline. How do we engage offline?

Content Curation/Creation
Where do your resources need to be as you create content? The information you glean could be helpful to marketing to know what trends they need to address. Produce the content that you have anticipated your customer will need and then provide it. This shows that you are listening to your customers / prospective customers / people interested in your industry.

Internal Engagement
Often overlooked. Are you looking at issue resolution time, or other metrics of how internally the organization is engaged with the community? How are insights from the community shared with the organization? How is that being followed up on so that org shows responsiveness to the community.

Strike A Balance

Each of the 4 Pillars should have 3-5 metrics each. These should be matched to the specific goals of the organization. Each of these metrics should be given a weighting. Some metrics will be clearly more important to the organization than others, therefore should be given a greater weighted metric. Averaged together they given each pillar a weighted average score. Similarly each pillar then is given a weighting. By taking the weighted average score of the pillars combined gives the Community Health Score.

This should be tracked over time to understand how the community is trending over the long-term, and how certain events or strategies effect change in the Community Health Score.

This forms the foundation for a stable process for planning action and evaluating results. It also helps prevent knee-jerk reactions to one-time event or one-time negative feedback on one content item.

It helps us to look at any given time as only a snapshot, but rather part of a bigger picture or trend.

***At different stages, you typically have different response times required so you need to evaluate accordingly in terms of are the right resources assigned. This has an effect on the internal engagement. Lead Gen, sales, customer services should agree on how these changes are made over the time. Understanding the red flag decision, and deeper business analysis can help make big business decision.

This decision-making process on what's important should be re-evaluated on a quarterly basis as the needs change. Metric should be matched on what activity you are hoping to happen to help further your business goals. Integrating the social data layer into your organization.

Two Community Health Indexes: 1 for your internal community and 1 for your external ecosystem (Twitter, Facebook etc.). Can be topic-specific too. What's the community health around that specific topic? It's a resources question. Where do you put your time, your resources, that address that particular stage.

***This was a response to a 3-part question. 1. Do you provide different weightings or indexes based on the different stages of the buying cycle? 2. What is the decision-making process you go through to choose the metrics and their weighting? 3. How do you weight internal community activity (org community) vs external community ecosystem (FB, Twitter etc.)?

Topics: Community, Marketing

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