Reporting the Data

There’s no standard way to track community interactions, and there’s a wide variety of data to collect across the eight community types we’ve seen, so you’re going to have to stitch together, clean up, and present community metrics yourself. There are paid tools that can help you collect and analyze community activity, which we’ll look at later in this chapter. First, however, let’s consider what you need to report.

What’s in a Community Report?

The first rule for reporting is to remember why you have a community initiative in the first place. If the goal is to increase brand awareness, you should be reporting on visibility and mentions. On the other hand, if it’s to reduce support call volumes, you need to track inbound calls and use of the online support forum.

Remember all the promises you made to your executive sponsor when you launched the community initiative? Tracking your progress toward the goals you agreed upon back then is critical. This is why you needed to know what the purpose of the community was: it’s the only way to know what to report. It’s easy to get bogged down in statistics and metrics about communities, but you need to distill all of that data down to the few nuggets of insight that help you inch toward your goal. Your executive sponsor won’t care how many friends you have—she’ll care how many of them told one another to buy something.

Table 14-1 lists some of the data you may want to include in a community report for your organization.

Table 14-1. Suggested ...

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