Defining the success of a community can be really challenging because different people come to communities for so many different reasons: support, connection, innovation, feedback, validation, learning, helping, and so much more. But it doesn’t have to be complicated for a community manager to know if they are helping: just ask.
Success Rate is one of the most important metrics that almost nobody talks about in Communities. At Khoros, we believe that it is so important that every Khoros community has the ability to customize and deploy Community Experience Surveys to determine their success rate as frequently as possible. We also have benchmarks from hundreds of other communities to help you know if you are on the right track.
One of the best parts about Success Rate is that it can be really easy to improve quickly. Here are a few of the best practices we have seen over the last few years.
The easiest way to help people is to make sure that the content they are looking for exists. Monitor and analyze the most popular discussions to understand what people are looking for - and importantly what they are finding - and turn it into knowledgebase articles to improve findability, and relevancy.
Search analytics also provide great insight into what people are looking for, but possibly one of the most underutilized approaches is to simply ask the community what they need. Such qualitative feedback can inform brainstorming with your team, your super users, or other SMEs at your company to get the content created.
This can be as easy as changing results using a Promoted Search tool, featuring content on threads or community landing pages, or making sure solutions to discussions are being marked as Accepted.
There are also more subtle tools, such as how and where you place the featured content, the top right of the page is often the most impactful, as one of our customers who’s big on design discovered recently after we performed a deep dive, but be sure to understand what works for your audience, and measure and monitor the impact of any changes.
Sometimes old content gets a lot of backlinks and begins to accumulate search ranking - resulting in significant SEO. The problem these days is that like seafood, people expect a certain level of freshness in content. The best way to handle this is with the archival of old content and replacing it with updated, fresh material on the same topic. This way you don’t lose the great traffic, and you don’t deliver disappointing experiences to the searcher.
Search is the number one activity in every community. And probably on every site everywhere. You probably can’t spend too much time improving your search.
One important, yet misunderstood, fact about search is that it uses architecture (headers, page titles, meta-text, etc.) to help clearly define results. In Khoros Communities, Search Places is a recent feature that highlights areas of the community - like threads, boards, or groups - that closely match keywords in your search. If you are searching your mobile provider’s site for “iPhone 10 issue” for example, a Place search result will not only show specific threads for your issue but also an entire category of posts about the iPhone 10 where you can find the most popular discussions related to that device.
Beyond places, promoted search, and archival, one of the best ways to impact search is with Synonym Search. One of the most frustrating things for a new visitor to a site is trying to use the right terms to describe a problem. Especially in high tech products and software, it can be easy to miss some jargon or acronym that would help you immediately find your problem. This is why it is important to understand the connection between new visitors and expert content through the use of synonyms. For instance, an electrical “fault” is somewhat different to a normal fault, and a novice might struggle to name why their power turned off suddenly. So a savvy community manager could use synonyms to make sure that any search for an “outage” would also pull results for expert posts about “faults.”
We’ve seen customers talk about using SEO/SEM tools to identify broader keyword trends. The same post suggested looking at Accepted Solutions Views to Overall Topics view to understand and add content to topics to help them reach the Accepted Status.
Other key strategies involve personalizing featured content, making recommendations for content in emails after people fill out surveys or sign up for groups.
Are you monitoring your success rate? Do you have any projects underway targeted at improving this key metric?
If you are interested in an expert consultation or professional services to improve your success rate, reach out to your Success Manager or Account Manager today!
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