Questions Community Managers Have…And Potential Actions They Would Take If They Had Answers

Online Community Managers typically wrestle with the problem of how to encourage more participation in online community platforms.   The secret is to figure out what the community members value and deliver more of that good stuff to them.

As a long time Community Manager, I have always been a proponent of more dashboard tools designed to help the Community Manager solve this problem.   Sophisticated analytical tools can help managers understand their membership demographics and behavior as well as help managers do a better job of delivering content and activities that the community members will respond to. 

Community Managers who focus on delivering content and activities that members value will see increased participation on the community platform.

Below I provide a list of questions a typical Community Manager might have about the community they lead along with a description of the types of actions the Community Manager might take if they had the answers to those questions.

Question 1) What are the other communities that my members belong to?

Potential Actions: 

  • Partner up with other community leaders on community activities (e.g. conference calls, brainstorming exercises, etc.)
  • If there’s a great number of members in one community, it might make sense to merge communities.

Question 2)  Who from my community is also a member of the xyz community?

Potential Actions:

  • Partner up with other community leaders on community activities (e.g. conference calls, brainstorming exercises, etc.)

Question 3) Who has not signed into the community in the last 6 months? Last 12 months?

Potential Actions:

  • Send them a personal email inviting them back into the community space and asking them what could be done to make the community more valuable to them.
  • Post a message on their Profile board.
  • For very inactive users, let them know how to leave the community.

Question 4)  Who has never posted anything to the community?

Potential Actions:

  • See actions for question 3. 

Question 5) Who has posted something to the community more than 5 times?

Potential Actions:

  • These are active community members. I’d like to contact these people and get their feedback, suggestions, etc. on what they want out of the community in the future.
  • I may want to invite a few of these people to help me manage the community.

Question 6)  Who were the top ten most active community members in 2011? so far in 2012?

Potential Actions:

  • I’d like to send these people a Thank you card. 
  • Invite them to a special conference call where I can get feedback and suggestion from them on community activities planned for the future.

Question 7)  As a community manager, it would be helpful to know the percentage of people who have posted more than 10 times, between 5-9 times, between 1-4 times, once, and never. And it would be interesting to compare my community’s stats against all communities

Potential Actions:

  • Benchmarking my community against others can help me understand how I am doing as a community manager in the area of getting my community members to engage and participate. I might want to contact other community managers who have higher rates of engagement / posting than I do to get some ideas on how to improve participation rates.

Question 8)  Who from Asia/Pacific (or any specific region or country) is the most active in my community over the last 6 months?

Potential Actions:

  • I might want to reach out to a specific geographic region and tailor specific community activities to that region. If I know who in the community is most active, I can contact them and ask them for advice or help in planning out the activities.

Question 9)  Who from _______  (insert organization or department name) has participated in a discussion forum the past year?

Potential Actions:

  • I might want to tailor community conference calls or other community activities to a specific organization or department.  
  • I know who from that organization is most active, I can reach out to them and ask them for advice on how to tailor activities and content.

Question 10)  What types of job roles do my community members have?   Consultants? Sales Reps? Technical Sales? Managers? Lawyers? Marketing Professionals? etc.

Potential Actions:

  • I might want to tailor community conference calls or other community activities to a specific job role. If I know what members is in a specific job role, I can contact them and ask them for advice

Question 11)  How does my community compare to other active communities?

  • Number of Bookmarks?
  • Number of Blog Posts
  • Number of Comments on Blog Posts?
  • Number of Recommended Blog Posts
  • Number of Discussion Forums
  • Number of Replies to Discussion Forums
  • Number of Hits

Potential Actions:

As a community manager, I’d like to benchmark my community against other active communities.  Where does  my community rank?  I’d like to see the above stats computed as a percentage of total members and I’d like to see a graph of the above stats viewed as a 30,60,90, 120 day trend line.

  • Knowing this information helps me understand how well I am doing to engage my community members.  And it will help me understand where I can improve.
  • This exercise would also identify the top performing communities…and allow us all to learn from those community managers that are doing a great job.