Connecting Community Efforts in Open Source to Business Success
April 27, 2023
This article was originally posted onHackernoon
As someone who's deeply involved in the open source community, I'm often asked how to measure the success of DevRel (Developer Relations) and community efforts. Many executives understand that community is vital for growth, but struggle to quantify its value in terms of ROI. This disconnect between community and business can be challenging. In this blog post, I'll discuss why this disconnect exists and how to bridge the gap between DevRel metrics and business success.
The Disconnect between Community and Business
The main reason for the disconnect between community and business is the different goals and expectations between the two sides. The community and DevRel teams often focus on:
- Active contributors
- Code contributors
- Number of Slack users
- GitHub stars
- Active forum members
On the other hand, the business side is more concerned with:
- Number of customers
- Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)
- Churn rate
- Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
- Aligning Goals and Expectations
To bridge this gap, it's essential to align the goals of the community and DevRel teams with those of the business. This can be achieved by understanding the business goals and regularly showcasing metrics that correlate with them. For instance, during weekly or monthly sync-ups, try to present data that demonstrates how community efforts are positively impacting business objectives.
Building Connections between Community and Business
To build a stronger connection between community and business, follow these steps:
- Communicate with the business side to understand their goals and ensure your goals are connected to theirs.
- Regularly present metrics that show how community efforts impact business goals.
- Focus on building external evangelists who can promote your products and services.
The Power of External Evangelists
External evangelists are users who are passionate about your product and are willing to share their experiences with others. They can be considered influencers in the space, providing immense value to both the community and the business.
When external evangelists promote your product, it's seen as a genuine endorsement, carrying more weight than promotions from paid employees. This organic marketing can have a significant impact on sales, making it essential to focus on building and nurturing these relationships.
Cultivating External Evangelists for Business Success
External evangelists play a pivotal role in promoting your product and fostering a passionate community. These individuals are not just regular users; they are highly engaged and committed to your product. To leverage their potential, you must cultivate and nurture these relationships. Here are some strategies to help you do just that:
Identify Potential Evangelists
Keep an eye on your community channels, such as Slack, forums, and social media. Look for users who are highly active, knowledgeable, and consistently positive about your product. These individuals are potential evangelists who can help drive organic growth for your business.
Provide Support and Recognition
Once you've identified potential evangelists, offer support and recognize their contributions to the community. This can include providing them with exclusive resources, highlighting their achievements on your platform, or even featuring them in blog posts or case studies. This recognition will motivate them to continue advocating for your product.
Encourage your external evangelists to collaborate with other community members and share their expertise. This can lead to the creation of valuable content, such as tutorials, blog posts, or even podcasts, which can further boost the reputation of your product and help attract new users.
Maintain Open Lines of Communication
Regular communication with your external evangelists is essential. Keep them informed about product updates, upcoming events, and any relevant news. By maintaining open lines of communication, you can foster a strong sense of belonging and ensure your evangelists remain engaged and committed to your product.
In summary, connecting community efforts in open source to business success involves aligning goals between the community and the business, consistently showcasing the impact of community efforts on business objectives, and tapping into the power of external evangelists. By fostering relationships with these passionate advocates, you can create a strong network of influencers that drive organic growth and contribute to the overall success of your business.
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