Accepting Targets For Your Community (Beware The Trendline)
An acquaintance recently accepted a community job with the target of increasing engagement by 20% within a year.
If the trendline had been increasing by 15% year on year, this is a reasonable target to hit. Sadly, this isn’t the case. The trendline has shown a decline in engagement by 10% over the past two years (2% the first year, and 8% in the past year).
This means he needs to reverse an accelerating long-term trend and then increase engagement. This isn’t a 20% increase in engagement, it’s a 30 to 40% increase in engagement. Unless he can drive 40% of people to visit the community or get existing members to participate 40% more, he’s almost certainly going to fail.
Worse yet, he accepted the target without any idea of how he was going to do it.
A few things are important here:
1) Don’t accept a target without first knowing the trendline. You can easily find yourself trying to hit impossible goals.
2) Find out why the trendline is heading in that direction. Find the ultimate cause of the problem. This is the only way to identify possible solutions that might work. This is also where you check if the reasons behind a decline are reasonably within your control.
3) Get approval to take risks before accepting the target. You can’t copy what the past community manager was doing and expect the results to be much different. To reverse a trendline you’re going to need to take risks and do something radically different. Get approval on this before accepting the targets.