The first step to set up your community strategy is to determine your (end) goals. Why are you starting this community? What should it deliver in the long run and why? When would you consider it a success?
Capture the answers to the questions above in the form of a goal. Your community might have more than one goal, but there always should be one that has the highest priority. You also need include the metrics you will use to measure these goals, and the values that these goals will contribute to in your organization. If the goal has no value, then your community will bring little value to your organization.
While choosing your goals, make sure they are as SMART as possible!
Setting goals helps you understand what a community adds to your organisation, and how you can measure the ROI. A community is often one of the tools used to achieve larger organisational goals. For example: a community can provide support within product companies by bringing customers and employees together for brainstorming.
When determining your goals, you to need to think about your audience as well. The goals you have should not differ from what your users find important. If you have an opportunity, get feedback early on from your potential users and ask what would bring value to them as well.
The goal of the community is the outcome and impact of member behavior, not the behavior itself. See the following example:
‘Weak’ community goal:
Facilitate customers asking and answering product questions amongst each other.
‘Strong’ community goal:
Reducing customer service costs
Your members should definitely be talking to each other in order to get answers to their questions, but your ultimate goal is to reduce the time you spend on customer service. You can even make it smarter by specifying which part you want to reduce;
- either #FTE in the callcenter, or
- the #hours your organisation spends on documenting every detail of the product.
And don’t forget to list the amount of costs you want to reduce! Think SMART!