Does Your Company or Brand Have an Online Community?
Whether you’ve been actively building an online community, or not, the most likely scenario is that you do have an online community if you are active online.
You might, however, not be aware of the strength of this community.
Do you know what your community is capable of?
In this article, we will look at ways to measure the strength of your online community to further your social media marketing goals.
What Defines Your Online Community?
Your online community is the sum of all your followers and connections across all social media sites.
This includes, but isn’t limited to
- Facebook fans
- Facebook Group members
- LinkedIn Connections
- LinkedIn Group members
- Pinterest followers
- Pinterest shared group board members
- Twitter followers
- Instagram followers
- YouTube subscribers
- Email list subscribers
- Blog followers
- Medium followers
When you add up the number of people you are connected with online, you might have a much larger online community than you’d originally thought and maybe a much more powerful community than you ever thought you had.
One caveat here: Don’t confuse size with strength!
As demonstrated, it is fairly easy to measure the size of your online community. How then can you measure the strength of your online community?
Set Your Online Community Goals
In order to measure strength, you will have to set goals.
It might be easier to split up your ‘online communities’ and set goals for each different community.
Communities can give you
- actions and brand awareness
- testimonials and reviews
It is important to know who is present in each community, what this group of people has in common, and what they can accomplish together to benefit your brand and marketing objectives.
Let us look at each of these goals.
Measure Strength of Online Community Through Leads
If you are focussed on (sales) leads, you first will need to know where leads are coming from.
In order to do that, you will want to qualify your leads into different categories.
- phone calls
- contact forms
- email list
If you have a landing page, pop up or contact form on your website, you can pretty easily sort out where these leads are coming in.
Next, you will want to know where they are coming from; you will need to log into your Google Analytics to find out what platforms these leads are coming from. Google analytics will tell you from what platform or search engines the leads come from.
Even though in Google analytics it might say ‘traffic from Facebook’ it’s not precise enough to measure the strength of your online communities. You will want to track your tweets, know how many people clicked a link in your Facebook group, or how many people found you through Pinterest.
To accurately measure leads from online communities you should implement UTM tracking codes. Knowledge is power!
What gets measured gets managed. ~Pete Drucker
Once you know what specific community on what platform is bringing in the most leads, you can use that information to (re)build other communities using that formula and/or focus your attention on the platforms where your community isn’t as established.
Measure Strength of Online Community Through Actions & Brand Awareness
Once you know where the leads are coming in from, and which online communities are most active in generating leads, you will want to look at what exact actions were taken and what copy was used to get people to
- click now
- share this
- like us
- learn more
- sign up
- read more
- buy here
- invite a friend
- RT this
It is important to differentiate the copy used on each platform as it should correspond with the audience of that platform.
Does your audience:
- answer questions?
- engage with your content?
- ask questions?
- do they react with reactions
- share content?
- watch your live videos?
- participate in surveys?
- invite friends to join?
If your online community is engaged and eager to talk with you, you have a strong online community.
If you ask questions and put out content and you hear… crickets, you have some real work cut out for you!
Measure Strength of Online Community Through Testimonials & Reviews
Lastly, pay attention to what your customers are saying about you online!
Read each and every testimonial, recommendation and online review and respond to them.
Keep a list of where they are coming in
and listen to the words used to describe you and your business. Use that same language to grow your community.
Another great way to measure strength is to see if your customers jump in when a negative review is posted online! If you have a strong online community, they will defend you and vouch for you all on their own.
Results Matter; Measure Growth and Cash In!
If you are getting results, community growth, one way or another, you are doing something right.
Online communities are the cornerstones to any social media marketing campaign. Create several strong, dependable and solid cornerstones to build your marketing campaigns upon.
Without an online audience and an engaged community, you will be spending a lot more money on paid advertising then you would if you had a strong online community.
Get Your Online Community to Know, Like and Trust You!
The strength lies of your online community lies in their commitment to you and your brand!
In order for you to have a strong, committed online community, your online audience to will need to know, like and trust you in order to be strong advocates of your brand.
Start this like, by showing behind the scenes videos and photographs, being transparent, real, authentic, and vulnerable.
Share more of yourself than you have to, to gain that trust.
Over-deliver each and every time someone buys from you.
That is how you build your online community and how you measure the strength.
- do they know me?
- do they like me?
- do they trust me?
Go out and build it!
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You’ll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.