Visiting a client 3 years ago, the community manager complained about a lack of support. The numbers had been moving in the right direction for months, but still the support was lukewarm.
We spoke to her manager. He was surprised to learn the monthly numbers were up. He received the monthly reports (along with monthly reports from several other departments on the same day) but rarely glanced at them. When he did, he couldn’t recall the figures a few hours later.
Multiple spreadsheets of numbers will do that to a person.
If your metrics aren’t going well, sending metrics in a monthly spreadsheet on a Friday afternoon with the email subject “Monthly Community Metrics” is a smart (short-term) career move.
But if your community numbers are moving in the right direction, the monthly report is the very worst place to show it. Don’t hide your success behind a raw spreadsheet of numbers.
1) Provide context. I don’t know if having 1500 community managers in our community is good or bad. But having every 1 of the top 4 community managers there sounds far better. I know that having 9 of out top 10 customers actively engaged is probably a good thing. I don’t know if 23,000 members is good or bad, but the population of a small town certainly sounds good. Don’t send through raw numbers, make those numbers mean something.
2) Show trends. If the trends are heading in your direction, never send through raw numbers. Create a graph that shows the trend line. Better yet, use the current trend to predict future trends “if we keep growing at this rate, we’ll reach…..”. Let the audience taste the future success.
3) Capture stories. Capture stories of positive sentiment and how it helped your business. Let people visualise specifically how the community helps the members and the organisation.
4) Highlight milestones. Even better, send through regular milestones. You can use milestones relatively loosely here. Your 100th member helped, your 10,000th question, reaching call deflection parity with customer service line (or half or one quarter of that).
I don’t know about you, but if my community is going well, I want to make sure everyone knows about it. Don’t bury the metrics in monthly reports. Make it really easy for your boss to understand it’s going well. Provide context, showcase trends, capture stories, and highlight milestones. Every message they receive about the community should scream its success.
However your boss says they want to see reports, go beyond it when things are going well. Your community is counting on you.