Why Engagement Metrics Matter In Community Building
Entertainment has been the number one way to keep human beings “engaged” for centuries. From throwing rocks in sand for games, to jesters performing jovially in royal courts, all these different forms of entertainment have contributed to an enrichment of the human experience.
However, until now, engagement has been more art than science. Thankfully, to the wonders of data analytics, we can now measure what used to be considered immeasurable. As a result, engagement metrics have become an important part of measuring the health of communities, whether they be online or offline.
In this article, we explore my journey with engagement metrics from explainer videos to live communities within coworking spaces.
1) Engagement Metrics in Explainer Videos
When I used to create explainer videos, I made myself stand out (at the time) by highlighting the importance of engagement over mere likes or views (see below).
For an entrepreneur or small business, you certainly want to see an investment into something like video “pay off.” By analysing engagement, you could tell whether a video was being effective versus just being popular.
Armed with this knowledge, you could then update the video to make it even stronger or more compelling to future customers over time. If you were only looking at likes, that would not tell you specifically what they liked – just that they liked it.
By seeing consistencies in engagement throughout a video, it shows that your video is keeping the viewer’s attention. By doing this, the likelihood of that person remembering your video or message increases. Once they reach the end of your video, you insert your well-timed call-to-action, and capture a growing community of fans or supporters.
2) Social Media Engagement Metrics (Facebook)
In the early days of Facebook, having lots of “likes” was what every marketer pushed for.
However, over time, I discovered that the most engaged communities were ones who had more comments (or engagement), as opposed to more likes (see below for an example of a Facebook page that does not get much engagement).
Since it’s not so difficult to give a thumbs up on a post, anyone who is able to generate serious conversations or comments on a post or within a page, well, that says something.
3) Engagement of Live Communities (e.g. Coworking Spaces)
Although my first two lessons came from the digital world, I saw this “engagement issue” as something that could be applied to my job as a Community Manager over at Hub Melbourne (a coworking space).
While incoming revenue is the metric of any sales efforts, engagement rates is the metric of community building efforts. And while sales focuses on attracting new customers, engagement is ultimately all about retention.
So why does engagement help with retention? Well, let’s look back at the previous examples:
Explainer video engagement tells us whether or not someone is staying around longer to engage with the video
Facebook engagement means community members are sticking around longer by putting in the effort to actually write posts or comments. The more involved they feel in the growth of the community, the more engaged you will see they generally are.
In my day job, a lack of community engagement results in members leaving and/or current members feeling indifferent around engaging in cultural activities. If a community ever gets to this point, it’s a cause for concern for any Community Manager!
So why does engagement matter?
It ultimately matters because:
You can gather invaluable information about your product or service. When you have a healthy, engaged community, trust will be present and information will flow more easily toward you.
Nobody likes stagnancy. There’s a different between being still for a brief moment in time, and being stagnant. When a business is stagnant, it is not growing. And if it is not growing, it feels like it is dying. If you cause to engage a community, you end up losing money in the long-term while trying to chase money in the short.
Engagement increase retention. In any membership-based business, the math shows that it makes far greater sense to increase the amount of time someone stays, versus trying to acquire new customers – and it’s a significant number. According to Globoforce, for employees, it can cost a company roughly $370b annually when their workers are actively disengaged.
In conclusion, if you increase your engagement efforts, energy flows. Forget about engagement, and your ability to retain fans, viewers or customers are seriously stunted. The more people you have engaged, the higher your retention. The higher your retention, the less you have to spend on sales or marketing efforts.
What engagement metrics do you follow and why?
*Feature image courtesy of U.S. Navy on Flickr. Creative commons rights reserved.