The December #MeasurePR chat featured host Shonali Burke, with guests Denise Chan, Jordan Feise, Corina Manea, and Erica Moss. Below are some key takeaways from the chat, which covered how to measure community—a fascinating challenge for most PR pros and communicators:
- After introductions, Shonali kicked off the discussion by asking what the guests felt the definition of “community” is, and whether building a community online is different than doing so offline. The responses were a good indicator of how and why community engagement has become so important.
- The general consensus was that a community is a group with shared interests or passions. Several chat participants reminded the audience that a community is made of humans.
- One perceptive participant noted that brands need to remember that a community is not the same thing as a target audience. I thought this was an interesting point to carve out, because it’s true that sometimes brands speak generally about marketing to their community—when what they really mean is marketing to their target audience. A community is something more, the engagement level and interests are higher and/or more focused.
- Establishing and nurturing relationships within a community was also noted as an objective.
- Guest Denise Chan posted a five-part response, which included the recognition that it can be “a lot more work” to monitor, track, and engage online communities versus offline, and noted that this is where monitoring tools can be very effective and helpful in optimizing conversations.
- While there are differences in online communities, several guests and chat participants noted that there are many similarities too. For example, the same rules apply and another noted that the “most successful communities are not defined by their venue,” the best forum depends on the context.
- Shonali asked for ideas on boosting engagement within a community. Some ideas were: asking them for content ideas, running contests, offering “free swag,” and sparking conversation that is meaningful and relevant to them.
- How to use community metrics to make better business decisions was the next question. One recommendation was to use feedback from the community to improve an overall customer experience, or to improve products and services.
- Paying attention to what they are most excited about, and, on the other hand, what pain points there are was another recommendation to improve overall product decisions.
- Shonali also asked about using the PESO model approach when building a community, and asked how that would be measured. Some answers on that included the always-popular Google Analytics, and using the social platform metrics that are provided.
It was a very interesting discussion on an important part of communications and PR that doesn’t often get a whole lot of measurement attention. For a preview of the first #MeasurePR chat 2017, taking place on Thursday, January 12, check out Shonali Burke’s blog Waxing Unlyrical.
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