06.12.2014

Editor’s Note: Need help determining the business value of your community? Learn more about CMX’s 6-week online training program, bring us in for a workshop with your CMs or executives, or bring on our expert consultants to help you with the challenge.

As so many community managers know, proving the value of community in business can be a daunting task. Sometimes it can feel impossible.

In order to move forward, we must find a way to answer the question: how does community affect the bottom line in business?

At CMX Summit East, Lauren Perkins took the stage to answer this question. We watched as everyone leaned forward in their seats to soak up all the valuable information.

Lauren has a background in journalism and has been teaching community and consulting with companies for over eight years, so she knows a thing or two about proving the value of her work to the C-Suite.

She shared with us three steps to proving your value as a community manager, which align perfectly with our own foundational models.

1. Find out how the business is tracking its success overall.

  • To do this: Depending on the organization, you should sit down with the heads of the departments (or if you’re at a large company, people at your level). You’ll need to “manage up” a little to figure out how they determine their success. Set aside time with key stakeholders to move the conversation forward and then figure out how community can drive their business metrics.

2. Figure out what actions you need to take to build value around those metrics.

  • Think about concrete work you can do to move the community forward and drive value for the people. From there, people will drive revenue by sharing, connecting, and spreading awareness about your product or service. Lauren noted that the qualitative comes first and the quantitative comes next. Yes, you read that right.

3. Think about how to quantify your work.

  • There is a big difference between what is tangible and what is intangible. The intangible is going to weigh heavily for any community position, and one of the best ways to measure the intangible is through measuring goodwill. To do this, take a cue from how brands do their work. Goodwill is actually a line item in the balance sheet of larger companies. You can track goodwill via sentiment and social media listening analysis.

Watch the full talk from CMX Summit and get all of Lauren’s insights:

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Carrie Melissa Jones

Carrie Melissa Jones | @caremjo

Carrie is the COO and Founding Partner of CMX. She has built community at Chegg and Scribd and has consulted with community companies around the world. She lives in Seattle, WA with her pup, Bruce Wayne.