Cool, that context is helpful thanks.
The thing that I generally recommend is that you steer clear of chasing engagement metrics for the sake of it.
e.g. # of topics or posts is of little value if they don’t result in a direct ROI (i.e. reduced support load). I’d recommend identifying your main 1 or 2 goals – here is a resource for that – and then work out which associated metrics make sense.
If you share your goal I can give you relevant tactics.
Having some incidental health metrics also makes sense though. I’d go for DAU/MAU (daily active users/monthly active users). This gives you a measure of your community’s ‘stickiness’ (i.e.how frequently people revisit). The new dashboard that Jeff mentions above will graph this for you.
I’d also keep an eye on new signups. A sudden drop could indicate that something is broken in your signup or on-boarding processes. A slow slide could indicate that you need to work on marketing.
Then look at your conversion rate (% of new visitors to your site that sign up). Aim for 10%.
And % of new members that make a post speaks to the efficacy of your onboarding process.
These tend to fall into two categories in my experience. The ones that don’t care about the numbers and the ones that are very tightly managed. The former are successful because the product is a success and the community is the primary (or only) support channel, as it is with ours. Those ones don’t tend to employ specific tactics.
The latter will tie success tightly to call diversion and time to answer metrics.
Does that give you something to run with?