Even the universe isn’t infinite.
If every single living person in the world is spending every waking second in your community, what would your goal be then?
Probably not more growth or engagement.
Now peel it back a little. What if every person in your topic was visiting your community as frequently as they needed to, then what would your goal be?
Communities have natural plateaus both in membership and engagement. At some point you’ve reached everyone you’re likely to and the audience is as engaged as they need to be. If you’re measured by either metric (membership/engagement) you’re setting yourself up for failure.
At this point your goals might reflect things like:
- What resources or shared artefacts are the community co-creating?
- How well is the community supporting members through each stage of their journey within the topic (surveys, interviews etc…)?
- What value is the community providing to each area of the organisation? How integrated is the community in the processes of the organisation?
- How satisfied/happy are members with the community and the community experience (beware of the natural plateau here too)?
- Are the costs incurred by the community efficient and proportional to the value gained by the organisation?
The sooner you shift to more meaningful metrics than the number of members and level of engagement, the better.