It seems like just yesterday you sat down at your desk with a strategic community plan for 2015 in front of you – and here we are, almost halfway through the year.
Heading into summer is a good time to take a pulse check of your community. What’s working? What’s not? And if things aren’t working, how can you get at the root issues and solve the problems?
The mid-point of the year is a good time to look at some key metrics and talk to members and stakeholders. You can use these best practices to make the most of your mid-year assessment:
Step 1: Review your engagement profile
What does your community look like in terms of inactives, lurkers, contributors, creators and collaborators? Are you getting broad-based engagement, or a corps of very active members working closely together? How has the engagement changed since the beginning of the year? More importantly, check that your numbers fit with the type of community you are trying to create.
Step 2: Conduct a high-level content audit
Look at the content you’ve been creating for your community and compare it to the things members have been searching for. Are you producing items that help address key questions? What are the holes to close in the coming months? What content attracts the most engagement? If you haven’t already, start building out your own content calendar.
Step 3: Review your programming
Have you done enough? Which programs and events garnered the most attendees or feedback? Are there events that members have requested? Don’t just look at attendance – look at whether the programming sparked conversations or created connections among members.
Step 4: Check in with your community advocates
Carve out time to connect with community managers, advocates and key stakeholders to get their sense of the community. Do their senses match yours? Do they need more information?
Step 5: And of course, look at your data
Not just broad numbers – look at numbers that help you see how well the behaviors you want in the community are being adopted. Reevaluate the metrics you are collecting to make sure they are ones that get to the answers. Is an apparent drop in pages per visit a result of people getting answers faster or getting frustrated and giving up? Other metrics, such as questions asked/answered, may get you under the hood of your community a little more.
The mid-year review shouldn’t be a time to panic and make radical shifts – especially because summer can be an unusual time for many communities. Listen, observe and evaluate – both to make adjustments now and to start making strategic plans for the future.
In the Community Manager Handbook, there are a number of case profiles that might give you ideas for your mid-year review, on metrics, community benchmarking and more. And remember, the mid-year review has two valuable purposes – it’s an opportunity to reflect on how you are doing relative to your current year goals, and it’s also an opportunity to start planning and strategizing for next year, too. Because as scary as it sounds, 2016 is not that far off.