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Redefining Engagement: 3 Ways to Measure Community Vibrancy

Redefining Engagement: 3 Ways to Measure Community Vibrancy

When you ask association members to describe a vibrant online community, they often use the first person. They talk about what "I" and "we" experience, using descriptions like these: 

It has a culture and vibe. People bring the community to life.

I have relationships with people and can meet new people there.

We advance our careers and our profession together.

I feel like I belong.

It's a place I want to be.

You might look at these examples and one word comes to mind: engagement. But we'd argue for a different word: vibrant. 

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of vibrancy is the state of being full of energy and life. That means people are at the center of community.

People create vibrancy in many ways, which allows your community to grow and flourish in unique ways that align with your association's purpose and your members' expectations. But this can also be frustrating because it makes vibrancy difficult to measure. 

How Vibrant is Your Community? 3 Quantitative Measures

Traditional engagement metrics can measure every activity, big or small. But common measurements of engagement often come with a pitfall: They treat all actions equally. Is opening an email really as good as attending a webinar? Probably not.

Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all metric to determine if your online community is vibrant. Every community is different in its purpose, values, and culture. That means you must consider which measures are relevant and meaningful to assess your community's vibrancy.

Here are three examples of common metrics you can use to link engagement and vibrancy:

  1. Monthly Active Users. One quantitative way to gauge the vibrancy of your online community is by looking at monthly active users (MAUs). Need a benchmark to guide your assessment of your community? About 20-30% of members who have joined the community should be active users. 
  2. Distribution of Activity. Looking at the distribution of activity in your community can help you assess how members are engaging. For example, how often do community members post, comment, RSVP for an event, or download a resource?
  3. Member-led Engagement. You can also assess your online community's vibrancy by looking at how much activity members initiate on their own. One way to evaluate this is by examining how much of your community activity is driven by admins (your staff) versus members. 

When it comes to measuring vibrancy, qualitative metrics can be just as insightful as quantitative metrics. Scan the activity occurring in your community and ask yourself questions like:

  • What types of engagement are member posts driving? Are the posts meaningful? 
  • Is the activity in your community moving the practice/profession forward? 
  • Are members learning from each other?

You'll uncover themes that may help you drive the right type of engagement to boost your community's vibrancy.

Ready to learn more about measuring community vibrancy? Click here to download our free e-book, Building Vibrant Communities: How to Break Free from the Traditional Definition of Engagement. You'll gain insights that will transform your online community into a modern, vibrant experience.

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