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Community Goal-Setting: A Strategic Approach

Goal setting is one of the most crucial operational processes for any venture, and online communities are no exception. There are many benefits and advantages in having a set of objectives to work toward. Goals can be the catalyst for new ideas and even assist in guiding the initial focus of your community. They allow momentum to be created, or sustained, while providing a clear way to measure your community’s progress.

The first step in setting community goals is to determine what exactly the community seeks to accomplish. Whether that’s enhancing awareness, collecting feedback, or simply providing a safe place for members to bounce ideas off one another, it’s important to identify your community’s purpose.

The merit in setting goals lies in the practice of quantifying them. Yes, we’re talking about metrics-based goals, or key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs should be specific, not vague. Meaningful and measurable goals are the foundation that will propel your community forward. For example, if your community objective is to enhance awareness, it’s imperative that you take into consideration the actionable steps that will allow you to achieve that goal. Therefore, “increase web traffic by 30%” could be an excellent target to set. It is specific, meaningful, and most importantly – measurable.

Keep in mind that goals for an existing community may look quite different than goals for a community that is just launching – and that’s okay! When setting goals for your community, it’s critical to stay in your lane and focus solely on the health of your community.

The reality is that goals change. Sometimes it’s the calendar that prompts a revisit, and other times it can be a lack of progress (or exceptional growth) that forces a reevaluation. How often should you review community goals? While that answer may vary from community-to-community, it is generally of best interest to assess goals at least annually. Whichever direction your goal progress may sway, it’s important to have a framework in place that allows you to keep tabs on where your goalposts need to move next.

Goal setting is a vital component of building a successful online community, but without a strategic approach, it can be easy to get lost in the process. Once you identify the purpose of your community, you can start to craft a goal-oriented community management strategy that will allow you to measure effectiveness and success of your community as a whole.

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