Why You Should Gather Community Data Before Members Sign UpWhy You Should Gather Community Data Before Members Sign Up

Why You Should Gather Community Data Before Members Sign Up

Today I want to talk about community data.

Before you switch off, I promise, I’m not a data guy. In fact, that stuff makes me head hurt.

However, I have started to see the tremendous power of understanding your members via properly organised community data.

Organising community data via member tags

Inside Learn.Community, I’ve started to build richer profiles for our members, using tags in our community platform Circle.

I’ve started to set up tags around the following areas:

  • Skills: things like video production, podcasting, course creation, operations etc…
  • Platforms: such as Circle, Shopify, Twitch, Discord etc…
  • Industry: such as creative, finance, education etc…
  • Stage of community: pre-launch or launched
  • Activity levels: have they been recently active in the community? (I’m working on how to set this one up)
Community data organised via member tags
Check out the little brain icon I use to represent a ‘skill’ tag 🙂

Leveraging community data to boost engagement and encourage member connections

The beauty of this approach is that it gives me the community data I need to connect members and encourage members to contribute.

Let’s say a member asks a question about how to produce better quality videos for her community onboarding sequence.

I can go to our member directory in Circle, and select the following tags:

  • Skills: Video
  • Activity: Recently active
An example of member tags applied

Then I can dm the members that show up in those results:

“Hey (member), (member name) just asked a great question about how to improve her video set up. I left my 2 cents but you’re way more of an expert than I am when it comes to video. If you were able to offer any feedback to help her, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks!”

This strategy has already proved super effective for me, as it lets me directly control and encourage healthy member interactions in our forums, rather than just sit around and hope that people engage.

However, let me tell you, this is a NIGHTMARE to try and do without the right member tags and community data in place. We’re at 168 members now and that’s just way too many people to remember individual skillsets, industries etc…

Now, I wish I could tell you I’d been a genius and had all this organised from day 1.

Alas not… This is a more recent effort, and subsequently, only some of our members have shared this data with me. As a result, the majority of our members are untagged, and I’m flying blind with how to connect some of them.

Collecting data at the point of application

Moving forward, this is my plan:

We’re working on a second stage form for applicants to our community.

Once we’ve confirmed that they look like a good fit, we’ll send a second follow up form, asking them to fill out questions that will directly correlate with their future member tags.

They’ll be asked to share their skillsets, industry, community stage, platforms and more.

This way, we can apply all of those tags from day 1, immediately after they join.

Right now I’ve been having to scramble around and sporadically ask members to give me that context, which feels disorganised and is a lot of extra work.

With this new approach, we have a standardised process for all new members, with every new member subsequently starting with a richer profile in our community. This will allow us to connect and encourage members in a smarter, more efficient way. It will also allow members to more easily find and connect with one another via our members directory – as well as being able to identify fellow members at similar stages to them, via the publicly viewable tags on posts/comments.

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