How to make the most of your community data

If you build it (using specific strategy, distributed leadership, empathy & useful DATA) they will come.

To say it straight, we’re invested in your community. We want to support you in building it, and then watch as you get to experience the ongoing joys, challenges, and rewards of building an authentic community. In order to get there, you must know how to make the most of your community data.

Aside from continuing to listen to you, and then provide the kind of informational resources you ask for (much like this nerdy data guide, and all of our other guides, strategy sessions, and academy lessons) one of the ways Mobilize makes staffing and building your community easier is DATA.

Not only does data help you make evidence-based decisions, but it also creates less work for you and your distributed leadership team in the long run. Through Mobilize, you can access customized data on things like: What are my most popular pieces of content? What types of content are most popular with my community? Who are my community influencers? Which members are less active (and how can I genuinely engage them)? And so on.

Data. It does the community good.

What kinds of community data can you access via the Mobilize app, and how do you make the most out of that data once you do have it?

Types of community data

I’m going to open this section with a longer quote from another article of ours, Big Data Giving Way to Real Humans. You can think of it as a kind of framework inside which this entire article lives. Because basically, data is important. But humans and real community are more important. They always have been, we just lost sight somewhere along the way.

“It is becoming clear that organizations can no longer “manage” customers and supporters like cogs in a machine. Offering some data-driven personalization is fine, but it must be in the context of inspiration and connection… In other words, a data-first approach was fine for commodities that required no thought, but people [want] interesting, human-led brands that [align] with their values for more thoughtful purchases (like Warby Parker, Everlane and Modcloth). That’s equally true for B2B organizations, associations, nonprofits, advocacy and social/political groups…connecting with people authentically will be the most powerful skill in this next era.”

PREACH! And now that this little nugget of gold is lodged in your mind, onto the types of data you can access via Mobilize (plus a tiny peek into the kinds of data you’ll be able to access very soon*!).

  • Views, appreciations, and comments

Views, appreciations, and comments may seem simple and commonplace at first glance, but they’re worth their weight in gold if you utilize them the right way. As Sprout Social points out, things like appreciations and likes “are a clear indicator that somebody is enjoying your… content. This is a metric that you should always work on increasing, as it shows that people have some basic connection to the content that you’re posting.”

In order to access your views, appreciations, and comments in Mobilize, all you need to do is hit up your “see all analytics button.” From there, you’ll be able to see who did and did not engage with content (and how they engaged with it if they did), and then follow up with individuals accordingly. Sidenote: connecting with individuals goes a long way in helping each and every member feel important, listened to, and like they are truly part of your community—which they are!

  • Member networking

Measure new connections and conversations happening behind the scenes. This data shows who and how people are connecting. Exciting!

  • Member growth and retention

This data shows you where and how your group is growing. It shows you trends in how your members are joining (or leaving), and how both affect your overall engagement.

*We’re always working on ways to improve and expand the kinds of data you access through Mobilize—stay tuned for the latest releases and remember, unlike other social platforms, with Mobilize you own your data. Gasp.

One more thing before we roll on. ALWAYS take an inventory of the types of content happening in your community—as we’ve noted before, content and content strategy are the queens of the community-growth show—as well as how many views/comments/appreciations each type of content receives. This lets you look critically at why a particular piece of content performs well, and then use that for future content.

Hint: content that’s relatable and related to the goals of your community, @ mentions to specific community members, and a really clear CTA all contribute to making great content.

How to look at your community data

One of the most useful things you can do with your community data is to put it into a pivot table. By definition, a pivot table is “a table of statistics that summarizes the data of a more extensive table (such as from a database, spreadsheet, or business intelligence program).”

Basically, the way this Hubspot article talks about pivot tables is spot on.

“…pivot tables extract meaning from that seemingly endless jumble of numbers on your screen. And more specifically, [they] let you group your data together in different ways so you can draw helpful conclusions more easily. The ‘pivot’ part of a pivot table stems from the fact that you can rotate (or pivot) the data in the table in order to view it from a different perspective. To be clear, you’re not adding to, subtracting from, or otherwise changing your data when you make a pivot. Instead, you’re simply reorganizing the data so you can reveal useful information from it.“

More on pivot tables & how to look at your data

Whether or not you’ve already watched episode 6 of Wes’ Wisdom (How to use Pivot Tables to Analyze Your Mobilize Data), what’s essential is that you understand how pivot tables can help you see what’s happening with your Mobilize data from a number of different angles.

Thanks to pivot tables, you can access data across specific groups (and determine which groups are more active or less active).

You can also get down to a pretty granular level to see who is doing what within your community and your groups. And then, of course, pivot tables are an excellent way to see how your distributed leadership model (😳 ) is working from a quantitative standpoint backed by data, as opposed to a solely anecdotal one.

Another gif? We can’t resist—mostly because we can’t get enough of Roland.

Another way you can look at your data is through visual representation. Using any one of the great data visualization tools out there, like Domo or Tableau or any other well-reviewed BI tool, you can take your Mobilize data, drop it into your software of choice, and create your very own graphical representation of your information and data.🤘🏽  

On a final note about how to look at your data, let’s briefly touch on healthy success metrics. In episode 7 of Wes’ Wisdom (yes, Wes is getting a lot of love today), Wes mentions the following ratio as a healthy metric for measuring success within your community:

4 activities by members to 1 activity by admin

So: always keep this metric in mind when looking at your data!

How to make the most of your most important community data

Whether you’re looking at data on your group admins, influencers, or another important set of individuals within your community, the thing to remember is that you can always use your data to do more than one thing:

  1. Make really good choices about who your influencers are.
  2. Determine whether your community is member-driven, admin-driven, or influencer-driven.
  3. Enable your team to automate tasks and keep the community thriving and growing.
  4. much more!

In other words, you can use data how you want to use it, including using your overall time in a much more targeted way.

Let’s take a look at how data provides quantitative insights (versus anecdotal) into the efficacy of your distributed leadership. Which, as we’ve noted over and over again, distributed leadership is essential for success. As is having metrics for measuring that success. The two are mutually beneficial in their relationship, and it sort of looks like this—

distributed leadership yields  → authentic growth & usable data useable (useful) data collection across success metrics delivers  → applicable insight applied insight yields → fine-tuned processes, efficiency, more growth + tangible success 

In the distributed leadership article we linked to earlier on, Alexis points out how: 

“Data shows us that communities with distributed leadership are significantly more successful than those without it.” 

Bottom line? Without distributed leadership AND data, there is no community and there is certainly no community growth.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this important PSA

Take a deep breath. Take this day by day. Know that eventually all of your hard work and strategy implementation and data extraction will snowball. You’ll put in the teamwork over a period of time (we will talk about what this growth timeline looks like in another post), and then seeds will turn into buds will turn into full-blown fruit trees. And you won’t have to do as much tending and pruning and monitoring as you did in the earlier months, and your community will start to thrive and grow much more organically.

A little outro about making the most of your community and its data (ie: what should you be measuring?)

What should you measure to ensure that you’re getting the most value from your Community? As Wes points out in episode 4 of his Wes’ Wisdom series,

“You need to realize that your Community can give you something you can’t get ANYWHERE else. That ‘something’ is important because it will improve your business by achieving a goal you could not achieve without a Community. What is that something?… Is what you’re measuring important?… Will it improve the bottom line of [your] business?”

That special something is different for everyone. Regardless of what it is, the important thing is that you know it. Once you know it, you can create a baseline to then reference a few months down the road. You can measure over time and see just how far you’ve come, and how.

And if what you’re currently measuring doesn’t pan out to be that important? Switch gears and find a measurement that will relate back to activities within your community—the kind that will move the needle.

Work with experts who build successful communities

Mobilize is made up of community experts who have launched communities for the likes of Dropbox, United Nations’ SDSN, Dermalogica, and more. We work with you to align your business goals with a tailored community strategy to ensure its success.

Whether you’re just getting started or are looking to improve outcomes with your existing community — we have strategies and industry-tailored programs to help you get things done. Schedule a demo for a personalized walk-through of our technology and learn about our expert-led strategy services.