How Teams are Leveling Up Their Orbit Workspaces

Developer Relations
June 22, 2021
Ben Greenberg
Developer Advocate
How Teams are Leveling Up Their Orbit Workspaces
Welcome to The Observatory, the community newsletter from Orbit.

I'm Rosie, and I'll be your guide for this mission. Each week I'll go down rabbit holes so you don't have to. I'm here to share tactics, trends and valuable resources I've observed in the world of community building.

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A vibrant and active community is a key driver for long-term success. A product with an engaged community is one that is more likely to have users actively advocating for it. In today's environment, software is not sold, it is adopted, and community is the vital force behind that.

Orbit empowers you to build and grow your community by serving as your mission control. With Orbit you can see your community from the treetops and down all the way from the forest floor simultaneously. It empowers you to dive deep on a single member, while also going wide and gain valuable insights into emerging trends.

Utilizing the suite of built-in integrations Orbit offers, and the growing list of community integrations, you can craft a unified picture of your entire community in one place.

Community integrations are pieces of software that allow you to add more data sources into your Orbit workspace. Each integration has multiple pathways of entry depending on your preference and skill level.  

Here's how these companies and organizations are using the power of community integrations to level up their Orbit workspaces.

YearOne supports non-traditional developers succeed in their first year of engineering. Their candidates have landed at leading technology companies such as Etsy, Square, Google and Twitter. They use Orbit to help understand and be even more responsive to the needs of their community. YearOne discovered a way to extend the usefulness of their Orbit workspace even more by leveraging community integrations.

For Kristal Garcia, Chief Strategy Officer at YearOne, the Circle community integration gave her the opportunity to integrate the rich conversations happening in their Circle space with their other social platforms to present a unified picture of their overall community for deeper analysis.

The Circle community integration automatically incorporates all the conversations happening in each space of your Circle into Orbit. Those conversations are a vital part of overall engagement, and now can be tracked a lot simpler and painlessly.

"Being able to aggregate that data and see everyone really clearly is paramount to our developer community."

Lauren Lee, Director of Community at Puppet, understands that the activities of her community across all the platforms they engage in is weaving a story that communicates a tremendous amount about her company. The more data sources she can bring into that story the more meaningful it becomes.

"I first discovered the integrations made available out-of-the-box for users - GitHub, Twitter, and Slack for example. I realized very quickly how powerful a narrative I was able to tell with just those three integrations. I then learned that I could set up [community] integrations with DEV and Reddit. Not only was it incredibly easy to set up, but now I have a better holistic understanding of a community member."

It is not uncommon to experience a platform overload especially as members of our communities interact with us in numerous spaces. For the Developer Relations team at the Google Maps Platform, needing to keep an eye on all of those places is critical. Their users can be found on Stack Overflow, GitHub, YouTube, Discord and an internal issues tracker. Even for the most dedicated team that is a lot of platforms to be on top of. The Stack Overflow and YouTube community integrations made that work a bit less stressful and time consuming for them, as Chris Arriola a Developer Relations Engineer at Google Maps expressed:

"As a DevRel team, it's sometimes hard to get a pulse from all these sources and notice trends with what developers might be requesting. So, both the built-in integrations and custom integrations have been helpful as the Orbit dashboard (the 'Activities' tab) is now where I turn to see what's happening in the community."

Community integrations, though, are a bit different than the built-in integrations that you can set up directly within Orbit. How do you get started with them and begin to leverage the added sources of information in your Orbit workspace?

The Three-Pronged Integration Approach

Each community integration has three possible paths to take when integrating with it: You can install the package in your code, you can run it from your command line, or you can automate it with GitHub Actions. The last step requires no coding experience, and can be completed in a matter of minutes.

GitHub Actions is a free hosting environment for open-source projects to automate and run code. People use Actions for a wide variety of uses. In our case, we can schedule any community integration from Product Hunt to Reddit with just four steps.

  1. Create a GitHub Account
  2. Create a GitHub repository
  3. Copy the selected integration workflow into your repository
  4. Add your account credentials to your GitHub secrets settings

For Trey Botard, a Developer Advocate at Fluree, the GitHub Actions path helped make the setup process much quicker:

"Having a template for a GitHub Action is a great way to go about getting these integrations spun up. I have some experience building CI/CD pipelines so the process was very easy and straightforward. Having the npm packages and Ruby gems ready for pulling into the Actions makes the whole process seamless."

Whether you have previous experience working with GitHub Actions like Trey or not, each integration offers a step-by-step guide to remove the guesswork and get you up and running.

Community is a Force Multiplier

BAM, a Paris based company, helps their clients build mobile-first solutions, and in the past 5 years their products have reached more than 10 million users. As a fast-growing company they experienced a challenge that will sound familiar to many of us. How do you know if the content you produce has an impact? You can spend a lot of time developing and delivering written, video and audio content and never know if people read, listened or viewed it, and if they shared and talked about it with others.

The LinkedIn community integration enables BAM to understand their community even better by bringing in their LinkedIn interactions into their larger community picture for analytics and greater engagement.

Thomas Pucci, an Architect Developer at BAM, explained that they are "creating more and more Marketing/DevRel content", and that the LinkedIn integration increases the knowledge of their community in the ways it interacts with that content.

In the words of Patrick Woods, Orbit's CEO in a recent blog post, community "can become a force multiplier for the entire business".

"More non-employees willing to guest post on your blog leads to more thought leadership materials, which drives increased awareness. On social, current users talking to potential users leads to organic self-qualification and objection handling, thus impacting user acquisition. If your community has a forum where users of your product as well as potential users congregate, they’ll naturally share ideas and best practices, and experienced users will lend a hand to new users. In this case, successful users talking to struggling ones leads to community-led support discussions, which in turn leads to improved product adoption and retention."

You, too, can take advantage of community integrations like Google Maps, Puppet, Fluree, BAM, YearOne and many others to help you transform your community into a force multiplier for your business or organization. First, pick one of the community integrations from the list of possibilities on the Orbit website. Then, click on the integration and follow the instructions for the path you want from the three-pronged integration possibilities. As of this writing, you can choose any or all of the following:

Do you have a need for an integration not on the list? Add your integration suggestion to the Orbit Ideas Board for consideration. If you run into any issues or have any questions you can send us an email at devrel [at] orbit.love or join us on Discord.

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