One week ago, my colleague Marc posted an announcement asking NetSquared Community members around the world to take a comprehensive community survey for us to learn how to move the program forward. Having recently posted the Net2 Think Tank on Community Surveys, I was excited to use some of my own lessons learned from the community. As the curator on the team, I have spent the last week promoting, reading, and responding to surveys. In the interest of transparency and mutual learning, I’d like to share a few of my lessons-learned from conducting this comprehensive community survey.
About the Surveys
First, a few details for our General Community Survey:
Audience: aiming to survey every single person who has ever touched NetSquared - from first time blog readers, to event attendees, Challenge participants, long-time community superstars, and everyone in between.
Incentive: Changing the world through innovation... or baring that, being entered to win a Kindle Fire.
In the background, we’ve been conducting a second survey during this time. This one was designed to reach all of the 150+ NetSquared Local organizers around the world to ask questions specifically pertaining to the NetSquared Local program.
Both surveys are open through October 31.
We decided to use Fluidsurveys as our survey tool. I had not used it before, but it had been recommended to me as being more sophisticated than other survey tools. I’ve been impressed overall. It has great options for survey customization, allows for many types of questions and pages, and has a pretty awesome graphical display of information when it comes to response analysis. Obviously, we haven’t reached the data analysis phase yet, but already I’ve found a downside: The individual responses are buried and not very easy to read which has been a bit of a frustration. So far though, the pros have outweighed the cons and I would definitely consider using this tool again.
Promoting the Surveys
We wanted to reach as many people in the NetSquared network as possible for the general survey. For that reason, we publicized it widely. We blogged about it, spread the word via social media, emailed it to various distribution lists, and shared it with hand-picked individuals who we thought might be interested in participating. The intended result was that our message would be seen by lots of people.
But, there was an unintended consequence too. Many of our avid followers received the promotions several times. And, as one community member responded, “For many people duplicate messages can be a huge list churn issue.” The lesson learned is that we need to have better database list management to avoid sending duplicate messages to our community members in the future. So, if you got the message more than once, rest assured - we’re working on it!
Timing the Surveys
In the planning phases, we had a long survey. A very long survey. The kind of long survey that nobody would ever bother completing. Knowing this, we set ourselves a challenge to make it shorter and more manageable, and aimed for completion to take between 5-7 minutes.
We thought we achieved our goal, so we promoted that the survey is estimated to take 5-7 minutes to hopefully increase the number of people who decided to partake. But, this is an estimated time, and people who are more active with the community received more questions in the survey. For example, by answering “yes” to certain questions, additional follow-up questions were asked.
Our friend Tobias at Kabissa took the survey and it took him much longer than the time we had promoted. He called us out on it, and we’re thankful for the lesson learned. For those of you who’ve taken the survey: how long did it take you?
So far, everything is going smoothly with the surveys. We’re getting great insights and statistics that will teach us some important lessons and hopefully back up a few our hunches. Even so, there are always areas to improve upon, and we’re looking to you to help us identify them.
So, I leave it with you: Do you have something to say about NetSquared? We’d love to hear from you! Take the survey or leave a comment below. We promise not only to learn from your feedback, but to continue sharing our lessons learned with you along the way.