Community, Common Room
As 2021 comes to a close (crazy how fast time flies!), we’ve been talking with our customers about the health of their communities, reflections on the successes and learnings of the past year, and planning for 2022. We know from these discussions that every community team performs 5 essential functions (quarterback, nurture, amplify & educate, report, and support & triage). Further proof of these varied responsibilities can be seen in the 4 categories of insights our customers highlighted as most important to them, which they can access through Common Room today to inform their planning and strategy:
1. Overall community activity for an at-a-glance look at community engagement (report)
2. Key members to nurture, such as those newly active, most active, or with significant social reach (nurture)
3. Trending activity to monitor to help build enthusiasm across their org (amplify & educate, support & triage)
4. Important organizations to surface to your Success and Sales team (quarterback, nurture)
In this post, we'll walk through these 4 categories in more detail. We'll also share examples and ideas for presenting these metrics to exec teams and stakeholders. Sneak peak: we recommend brief, weekly insights reports so they can be aware of the most important takeaways from the community. And to help you get started, we’ve made a simple weekly report template 😉
At the outset, your goal is to give your stakeholders an at-a-glance look at community engagement—this is a basic indicator of general community health. We recommend using the total number of activities performed in your community in a week. This could be the number of Slack, Discord, Discourse, or Stack Overflow posts, starred GitHub repos, pull requests or issues, etc. It’s helpful to also include the week-over-week change as well as a brief explanation as to what drove the change (e.g., we saw a huge spike in activity because of our conference, the Thanksgiving holiday led to a decrease in activity, etc.) to understand what’s positively or negatively impacting your community’s activities. You can then use these signals to refine your community strategy and as evidence for further resources or investment. If you have more than one platform for your community, for example Slack, Twitter, and GitHub, you can highlight which one(s) were the most active and where you and your teammates should be focusing your time.
While the above summary figures should be sufficient to provide a sense of community engagement, if you want to share further detail, you can provide a breakdown of activity by platform source.
Your goal here is to highlight members that other teams would want to know more about. These key members might be "interesting" to different teams for different reasons, at different stages of your community. We've found a combination of the below to be useful:
One way that our customers build enthusiasm across their organizations is by sharing positive things said by the community. This could be product appreciation to help build a “wall of love,” excitement around an upcoming conference being organized by your company, or examples of how helpful the community has been in aiding members with their questions. You can tailor these examples to better align with metrics you’re tracking. We find putting specific quotes against individual members helps make the impact of the community more tangible.
This section is focused on showcasing organizations that joined your community. As a way to prioritize where you could make the most business impact, we find it valuable to filter for new organizations that have 1K+ employees, as well as looking at those with multiple new members joining. You can also see which of the organizations in your community are growing the fastest, or have added the most members. Now you have a shortlist of orgs and members to reach out to. Identify the Pioneer from that organization, or the first employee from that organization to join your community, and the most active member—these members are internal advocates that can help educate and share your product across their organizations quickly. As the community leader, reach out directly to the individuals, while also sharing org-level insights to your Success and Sales teams.
Now that you’ve got the key pieces for your insights report, it’s time to build it. This means choosing the report format and the frequency of delivery. In terms of format, find the one that most resonates with your executive teams—this could be a Google Doc, a Slack post, or a slide presentation. It’s important to convey the insights in a way that’s easily understood by your executive teams. (FWIW, to help facilitate screenshots / graphs and add more of a visual element, we create the reports in Google Docs and send out an email with a link to the report. Here’s our Google Docs template for some inspiration.)
While checking on these stats daily is easy in Common Room, we compile and share our reports weekly. If you're not ready to share a weekly wrap-up yet, every two weeks is still a great place to start. Understanding your community in real-time is worth it.
How do you report community insights? Let us know your methodologies on Twitter or share it with our Uncommon Slack community. If you want access to tools to make your own reports on community insights, try out Common Room for free today.