What’s healthy for community engagement?
I had a meeting with my CMO about our External Network (Community) hosted on Yammer for our customers, and these questions were definitely part of my preparation.
And I wouldn’t have any good answers if I didn’t have the analytics to back me up.
Thank goodness for tyGraph to help me show, not just tell, the value of my network.
Before We Get Started…
One thing to keep in mind is you have to set your own benchmarks against yourself.
You can have industry benchmarks too, but even if you’re not in a niche organization, you’ll risk doing yourself and your reporting a massive disservice if you don’t take into consideration your own customer base and their needs, and your business model and your needs.
What I do: Start with a goal, measure it throughout whatever period I designate (month, quarter, year), and analyze, analyze, analyze the results.
Here’s How tyGraph Helps Me Analyze My Community
First, You Gotta Focus
I focus on our External Network and what drives participation, namely:
- If there are spikes in activity, what’s behind them? Can we repeat that?
- If things are stagnating, what’s going on outside Yammer walls—and what can we do about it?
And of course: Is this good?
Short answer to “Is this good?”: Getting even 1% of engagement is Holy Grailesque.
Slightly longer answer: My adherence to 1% comes from the other half of my day job, which is managing all the external social media for my company.
1% engagement is one industry benchmark I’ll use because it’s turned out to be true across my networks and platforms, until I get enough data to warrant raising it (always per network/platform).
See how it all keeps coming back to data? It’s like exercising, you can’t get away from it.
Don’t Forget That Life Happens
It can seem that if you don’t see it on Facebook (or a social media platform of your choice), it didn’t happen, but when you’re doing this for (or as) a business, that adage doesn’t actually help you at all.
So I also tie things to the cyclical nature of our business. It’s easy because these are already proven, year after year.
The same expectations we have for our customers outside of Yammer—mailings being opened, links clicked on emails, classes signed up for, website traffic—can be used to predict effects inside Yammer.
For example, in early July 2015, we had a big conference held in New Orleans. Our website was gloriously flooded…and a glorious spike in Yammer conversations reflected that.
Yet by late summer the crickets were chirping, because our top market is educators. Not a lot of people were paying attention to their mail or email, and Yammer conversations were on the down-slide.
Skipping ahead to January 2016, we expected everyone to take some aspirin from their end-of-year festivities and start talking again, because now’s the time for training renewals and resource grabs and all sorts of good things.
And Yammer conversations started increasing and have skyrocketed since then.
How can I say this so definitively? tyGraph. I said this when I first started using it and I say it even more now.
Prove It With These Analytics Goodies
tyGraph uses PowerBI. That’s super cool in itself.
They also have a super-cool chart called the MAE Score: Measure of Active Engagement which, along with the high-level view pictured here, drills down into not one, not two, but SEVEN (and soon to be more!) criteria that help community managers see exactly how people are using their community.
There’s also an awesome Response Rate Over Time, which you want to see go up & up, because that shows the delicious quantity of people talking to other people, which you kind of fall all over yourself in glee to see happening when you manage a community.
…unless you’re running a network for Hermits United: X-Treme Introversion.
(I jest. On some days I’m INFJ, on others INTJ, and on still others I don’t care because darned if I’m going to let four letters define me. But I digress.)
Other cool stuff:
- I can see top conversations: What’s impacting my users the most? What topics are they drawn to?
- I can see “likes” versus “contributions”–and whether the messages were public or private.
- I can track specific topics. How many people REALLY paid attention to my live Q&A about pie?
And then there’s my own Holy Grail: The Responded Not @Mentioned %.
Responded Not @Mentioned means that somebody started a conversation, and a whole bunch of other somebodies saw that and jumped in to continue that conversation—even if they weren’t specifically mentioned!
You can’t get that on email.
Think of all the expertise just waiting to be shared, but nobody even knowing there was an opportunity to share it, because email is a closed loop (even though 500 reply alls might seem otherwise).
Whereas Yammer cracks the conversation wide open, and then tyGraph comes along and gives me this undeniable snapshot that people in my network want to be in my network. (And in case there was any doubt, that percentage up there is an excellent percentage.)
That’s pretty priceless stuff for a community manager, especially on days where it seems that nobody is giving a like about it.
The Big Picture (Really)
So after using tyGraph analytics since January 2016 (and you’ll have noticed that they definitely get all that juicy backdata to help out with predictive modeling), I can sit down and pull up my PowerBI dashboard to see all these details at a glance.
Plus once I tie in the nature of my business, I can answer the eternal question of “Why?”
- Why did this work and that didn’t work?
Which leads to:
- What was going on in our customers’ real lives that impacted their online presence?
- What can we do better?
I can get high-level with percentages, and granular with individual conversations.
I still take averages to present a baseline engagement figure as well as “this is nice to see” and “this is spectacular, and X and Y are what drove it, so if you want to see this continue, how about some budget?” (Which I assure you I saw in a more businesslike way.)
But again, it comes down to this: These analytics are how I show, not just tell, value.
How are you showing value in your online community?
The Just In Case Disclaimer:
I don’t work for tyGraph, I work for the Crisis Prevention Institute. But: You can blame the same CMO I mention above for my unholy love of data and analytics. He started it!