Originally published October 1, 2015

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I have written about enterprise social networks (ESNs) and metrics. This post combines the two to discuss which metrics are helpful in managing an ESN.

My colleague, Lee Romero, wrote a series of posts about Community of Practice Metrics and Membership in November, 2008. Here are more recent comments from him about how to report metrics for ESNs:

  1. Focus on reporting KPIs and not just raw counts. KPIs almost always are ratios or percentages, because just a raw number is pretty useless.
  2. As an example, Total members, New members, Posts, and Praise are raw measures. None of those tell me anything. Posts per member is more useful.
  3. Measure membership as a percentage of a given population. That is a useful insight.

Here are my views. The following analytics can be used to take action based on what the numbers indicate, track and communicate progress against goals, persuade others, answer typical questions, and refute baseless assertions.

1. Members: Number of members, percentage of population, rate of increase in membership — total and by organization, location, level, and other demographics (both raw numbers and percentages)

2. Participation: percentage of population which is a member of at least one group and has notifications turned on for that group

3. Posts: Number of posts, posters, frequency of posts, average time between posts, number/percentage of each type of post (share, query, praise), number/percentage of praisers

4. Replies: Average time to reply, average number of replies, number/percentage of answered and unanswered queries, number/percentage (of posts) of likes, number/percentage of likers

5. Views: Thread views of all kinds (web, mobile, email), number/percentage of each kind

6. Users: Individual dashboards and overall leader board: To help recognize and encourage participation, it’s helpful to prominently post leader boards. These should allow filtering people by attributes such as organization, location, and level, including those with the most:

  1. Thread views of all kinds (web, mobile, email), number/percentage of each kind
  2. Likes made to their posts
  3. Replies made to their posts by others
  4. Replies made to the posts of others and answers supplied to queries
  5. Praise received
  6. Praise given
  7. Number of successful examples shared to a wins group
  8. Number of followers
  9. Number of groups posted to
  10. Number of topics used

7. Groups: Individual dashboards and overall leader board

  1. Number of members and rate of increase in membership
  2. Number/percentage (of group membership) of posts, number/percentage of unique posters, posts per week, average time between posts
  3. Average time to reply, average number of replies to a single post
  4. Number/percentage (of total posts) of queries, number/percentage answered, number/percentage unanswered
  5. Thread views of all kinds (web, mobile, email), number/percentage of each kind
  6. Number/percentage of group members with at least one thread view of all kinds (web, mobile, email) and average number of thread views by each of these members
  7. Number/percentage of members with notifications turned on
  8. Number/percentage (of posts) of likes
  9. Number/percentage (of group membership) of people giving praise
  10. Number/percentage (of group membership) of successful examples shared to a wins group

8. Topics/tags: Individual dashboards and overall leader board for the network, each group, and each user

  1. List of all topics with number of times used, number of unique users, days since last use
  2. Trending topics
  3. Tag clouds
  4. Clusters of topics which are variations on the same topic
  5. Topics which appear to be typos
  6. Topics by group and average number per group
  7. Topics by user and average number per user
  8. Average number of topics per post
  9. Number/percentage of new topics and number/percentage of new topic application
  10. Number/percentage of existing topics and number/percentage of existing topic reuse

9. Wins: Number/percentage (of total posts) of success stories shared to a wins group, number/percentage (of total members) of unique sharers — includes testimonials by members on the value of ESN participation, stories about the usefulness of the ESN, and posts and replies thanking other members

10. Value: Correlate desired behaviors with desirable results, e.g., active users are more likely to be promoted, businesses with active groups have better financial results, leaders who participate regularly have lower employee turnover rates, etc.

Also see:

Which metrics have you found to be useful for an ESN? What actions do you take based on analytics?

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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