You know your community is valuable. You see the magic of it everyday - little learning moments, great connections made, knowledge shared between members - it really is something special. But how do you turn around and prove the value of your community to your company? There's no dollar value in 'little learning moments', there's no financial gain in 'great connections made'. When pitching the idea of a community effort to an organization that doesn’t already have one, there are two questions you have to answer:

What drives your community and what does your community drive?

What drives your community?

You know your community is invaluable and it is near impossible to put a price on it. That’s good! The power of a community doesn’t (and can’t really) have a price. Your community is there because of the space it creates for existing and potential customers to come, share, and learn about the brand. It is driven by a love for the brand, it builds loyalty, fortifies the trust, and reinforces the relationship between consumer and company. Your community provides your customers with a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and fellowship. You’ve brought like-minded people together to use their voices, and have provided a community in which those voices are heard.

What does the community drive?

Is it an extension of your customer service department, measured with a Net Promotor Score? Is it a place for continued learning, where members get together to share knowledge and best practices related to your specific product? Is it an opportunity to cultivate relationships with people who aren't necessarily your customers, but are members of your industry's community and looking for some thought leadership? Or is it a place for reviews, articles, and sales pitches that will revenue?

A brand community will effect business because the power of a community is undeniable. Every business is different, but there is no denying that a strong online or real life community has a powerful impact on business. So, once you know what your community's purpose is, you are one step closer to proving your point!

And remember: the impact of your community and its members is what drives the success of it. Proving ROI is what keeps it there.

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