The first thing I do is connect community usage with a corporate goal. For us it is “innovation”. To support that means we need to have collaboration and use the tool to spread (surface) ideas. I continually try to move people away from page views and to looking at the interactive elements, such as comments, replies, discussions, and ideas.
Need to think about and acknowledge any behavior shifts needed by the members. For example, if the sales folks only use email and will not find a hot spot to login, then all the information displayed on the community landing page will never be seen.
Realistically, every business is going to have slightly different definitions and goals. For us, we use our community primarily as a resolution tool so our ideal metrics for adoption are focused on getting our users to answer and resolve issues. Here are a few of the items we look at:
- Usage pyramid - Measures % of user base who login, view, search, interact (defined as posting, rating, liking) and finally contribute (helpful/correct answers) in that order. Envision a user needing to hit a certain usage threshold before moving to the next level. The goal is to have users actively interacting each month is some fashion and ideally contiributing value via having their posts marked as helpful/correct.
- % of questions answered by community members vs. staff - In our ideal world, the community would be largely self sustaining with peer to peer answers accounting for the large majority.
- Speed of answer - How quickly are questions being answered.
These are three of our primary areas of focus. We are seeing good numbers for peer-peer answers however many of the answers are coming from the same individuals so we are focusing on widening the group of users that provide answers each month.