Did you know that your online community is your members’ favorite organization-based benefit? Members love to come together virtually to network and socialize. According to the Community Brands 2022 Association Trends Study, the first reason members join associations is to network, and the sixth is to socialize.
Your online community can also be a valuable resource to staff, offering rich insights and metrics, and helping your association reach its mission and goals. In one survey, 88% of organization professionals acknowledged that online community platforms played a crucial role in achieving their mission and goals. Another 64% of professionals acknowledged that online community platforms helped to improve business decisions.
We’re here to help you discover how to harness the power of your online community by setting relevant goals and metrics to track progress. Read our blog for more tips.
How to set goals for your online community
Before you can find insights from your online community, you’ll first need to determine your association’s goals when establishing your member community platform. Consider making them S.M.A.R.T. Goals, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound, to see actionable results for your organization.
To gain measurable insights about your online community, try using the S.M.A.R.T. Goals format:
- Grow your online community. To grow your virtual community platform, try setting a S.M.A.R.T. Goal like this: By Q4, our online community will grow by 20%, with 100 active member logins a week, and 20 non-member logins a week.
- Improve member engagement. To improve member engagement, try setting a S.M.A.R.T. Goal like this: By Q4, our online community aims to offer three new networking groups for members to connect around similar interests; reward active members for participation by displaying a badge on their profiles; and streamline member participation through a customized mobile app.
- Improve member value. To improve member value, consider setting a S.M.A.R.T. Goal like this: By Q4, our online community will track the most active member groups, the most popular member discussion, and the most frequently viewed pages to get crucial insights into the online member experience.
TECH TIP: With the Nimble AMS online platform, Nimble Communities, you can set up dashboards to give you insights into how members use the community platform. Dashboards streamline the metrics reporting process for staff, making it easy for your association to track valuable member insights.
Eight metrics to track in your online community
After you’ve set your goals, you can move into defining success metrics to determine if your organization is on track to reach your goals, or if you’ll need to make a change. Consider tracking the following metrics to help you reach your online community goals:
- How many members have joined your online community? Having an accurate number of members in your online community can help you accurately track growth and see the active numbers in your virtual platform.
- How many members use your online community? When you look at metrics about active members using your online community, you’ll see measurable insights if the numbers start to drop, prompting you to make a change.
- How often do members log in? Consider asking how frequently members log in to your online community so you can track trends and observe changes.
- How many non-member logins occur? Do non-members also participate in your online community? If so, be sure to track how frequently non-members log in to your platform to gather insights about this important group.
- What is the current number of forums or member subscriptions in your online community? Keeping track of the member subgroups and channels will offer measurable metrics and help you build loyalty and engagement efforts at your association.
- What is the average digest open rate? When the open rate is high, staff should pay attention. Metrics with high page views or high digest open rates indicate increased member engagement.
- What is the average number of new discussion posts over time? Consider setting metrics for the number of new discussion posts in your online community. When a member starts a new discussion post it can offer great insight into member engagement.
- What is the average number of replies to a discussion post? You’ll also want to track metrics for the responses to a discussion post as it can provide helpful insight into member engagement.
TECH TIP: Nimble Communities allows you to set up automatic notifications to ensure your members stay involved with your online community. Staff can also leverage gamification capabilities in Nimble Communities to automatically recognize your most active members with custom profile badges.
Learn more tips to boost member connection at your association
Discover more tips to create innovative member engagement with Nimble AMS’ online community platform, Nimble Communities, when you download our Online Community Toolkit!