What Brands & Organizations should be thinking about in developing Community Strategy for 2020.
We spent some time catching up with Danielle Maveal, currently the Senior Manager of Driver Advocacy at Lyft and Freelance Community Consultant, to explore how brands and organizations should approach community this year.
2020 is going to be an incredible year for community, and we’re excited to share how to focus on your people first and foremost.
1. Of course brand objectives need to be measurable. So, what KPIs should community managers be paying attention to?
Danielle Maveal: Often, the more you put into a community, the more you get out of it. Hopefully, your community members have a similar experience. Measuring high-level engagement (visits, responses to any/all Calls To Action) will only get you so far, you really want your community to meaningfully participate, and you want that participation to add value to the brand and others in the community. So participation KPIs can be quite useful; as long as you’re not encouraging members to game the system and participate in a way that does not add value to the rest of the community.
You can also look at how quickly (or slowly) your community members are going through their lifecycle. Do they join and then start participating right away? What are the stages in the member lifecycle and how can you support them through those stages? And then how can you measure how quickly and successfully they are moving through your lifecycle?
2. As Brands begin to execute their 2020 Community plans, is there a specific learning about building community from last year that really stands out?
DM: I’d say supporting diversity and inclusion in your community is more important than ever. I just joined a new community and the default avatar was a white guy. Not cool! You want your digital experiences, especially onboarding, to support diversity. This goes back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Only when people feel safe and included, will they really open up and participate.
3. What kind of outcomes should brands and community managers be looking at in 2020? How can they qualitatively gauge success?
DM: An experienced community manager can and should help leadership understand the business value of community work.
What they also need to do is help leadership understand how the community can help users (and team members) embody values. Strong community programs can inspire teams to do their most innovative and transformative work and can help your team and community members make strides towards a lofty mission. I want to come back to bringing value to your community. Dive into why your community is valuable to your users. How can you measure this? How can you make sure your community is becoming more valuable over time. What goals are your community members trying to reach? Are they reaching them?
4. How will Brand Affinity (loyalty) and Community Strategy be tied together in the years ahead?
Will 2020 be a benchmark year for branded communities?
DM: Brand affinity is a huge benefit of a powerful community program and can be influential in aligning on the strategy for community efforts. I think the more sophisticated our community tools get, and the more integrated they are with user data, the more we’ll be able to measure. The better we can collect and analyze data, the better our decision making will be.
Last year I taught myself SQL, but I feel like we’re so close to data being at any team member’s fingertips!
5. If you’re building a community from scratch in 2020, where are you going to start?
DM: I’d challenge community managers to start by listening and observing before developing a strict community strategy. Don’t push your new members into flows or lifecycles. Don’t measure their CTA conversions. Give them some flexible tools and ways to connect with each other (that don’t take a lot of time or resources to create) and see what sparks conversations and action.
Once you understand your user’s motivations, challenges, values, then you can start to build strategy, operations, tools, and resources.
What is a brand whose community you admire?
DM: Did you know Duolingo’s community creates the majority of the content for their language courses? I’m so impressed with the way they’ve empowered their users to help build their courses. Sometimes all you have to do is ask your community to help, give them powerful tools and resources, and then step back. That takes a lot of trust!
Is there a community you’re apart of that is meaningful to you?
DM: I’m part of a community for people going through a specific health challenge. The level of vulnerability, support, and care for each other is unlike anything I’ve seen before.
As a follow up, why is it meaningful?
DM: When people are most vulnerable, they tend to be more open for connection. We have common challenges and that is also very helpful!
About Guest Author Danielle Maveal:
Danielle Maveal has been on the founding team of mission driven startups for the past 10 years. She’s successfully carved a space for herself and her values, and people-powered work within startups like Etsy, BarkBox, and Managed by Q. She’s now working to help others create better products and services by tapping into the power of community. Connect with Danielle On LinkedIn.
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