This webinar was an hour that was absolutely packed with great information, frameworks, and anecdotes to understand and implement better engagement strategies.
What is Engagement?
Engagement is the set of actions that people take to solve problems. Specifically, in an online community, engagement is the set of actions that create value for members. It’s hard to directly measure problems solved and customer happiness, so engagement is the key proxy metric that we all use to measure the value of our communities.
That can mean a lot of things, so Rachel and the Community Roundtable team created a framework to help organize the subject.
Engagement is also empowering! People engage when they feel safe and confident. When they put themselves out there, receive positive feedback, and connect with peers they are more likely to help engage with and empower others - creating a virtuous cycle of positive value.
Engagement is Contextual
“If you brought alcohol to work that would be frowned upon, and if you discussed spreadsheets at a dinner party, that would also make you the party pooper. ” - Rachel Happe
Determining what kinds of engagement you want to increase and measure really depends on what kind of community you want to build. If you are driving for customer support like Cloudera, then you are probably looking for Ask and Validate activities. If you are building an advocacy program, then you definitely want Share and Explore activities.
What is the impact?
This is the bulk of the webinar, so I can’t really do it justice in this blog post. Suffice it to say that Engagement usually has a pretty definable ROI in terms of cost avoidance or value created. For example, every support question answered corresponds to some level of case/ticket/call deflection - which has direct monetary costs for a business. Other types of engagement like new ideas, peer connections, and other posts also have value. I heard another community manager once talk about how they assigned value for blogs posted in a community by comparing it to how much they would pay a freelance writer to create a blog on their website (between $100 and $500).
How to Measure
This was my favorite section, but I am a bit of a numbers geek (it’s the Minor in Math I got in college). Claire and the team at Cloudera are data-driven, and they have one of the most sophisticated and intelligent reporting programs out there. However, the details she gives about response times and engagement across the segments of her community (prospects, customers, partners, and employees) are a gold mine for anyone looking to deliver reports to their executive stakeholders that will earn them a promotion and grow their community support.