Gitlab hero border pattern left svg Gitlab hero border pattern right svg

Community Advocacy

Finding the Community Advocates

Emergency contact

Community Advocate Resources


Role of Community Advocacy

Goal

The goal of community advocacy is to respond to all of the GitLab mentions and questions asked online in a timely manner.

Plan

  1. Have discount codes that are easily distributed by team members
  2. Send every major contributor a personalized gift
  3. Expand the coverage of all GitLab mentions.
  4. Improve responsiveness on high priority channels.
  5. Do the rest of the contributor journey

Vision

  1. GitLab has 1000's of active content contributors (e.g. for blogs, meetups, presentations, etc.)
  2. Being a core contributor is a very rewarding experience
  3. There are 10's of active GitLab/ConvDev meet-ups
  4. 100's of talks per year given at conferences and meetups
  5. Our most active content contributors come to our summits
  6. 100's of people contribute content about GitLab every month
  7. We use software that helps us to keep track of core contributors (can be forum, Highrise, software made for advocacy, or a custom Rails app)
  8. There is a core contributors page organized per region with the same information as the team page and what they contributed, where they work (if they have a LinkedIn profile), and a button to sent them an email via a form.
  9. We measure and optimize every step of the contributor journey

Respond to every community question about GitLab asked online

Respond to every question asked internally

Involve experts

As Community Advocates, we will often want to involve experts in a topic being discussed online. The Involving experts workflow section describes how we do it.

Can you please respond to this?

You got a link to this because we'd like you to respond to the mentioned community comment. We want to make sure we give the best answer possible by connecting the wider community with our experts and expose you to more community feedback.

Expert Response Guidelines

Expert Response Steps

Expert Response Strategies

If you or your team is unsure how to best collaborate on a community response, consider using one of these strategies:

Community response channels

The Community Advocates actively monitor and respond to the following set of channels.

In this overview:

CHANNEL SOURCE AUTOMATION DESTINATION ACTIVE?
@gitlab Twitter mentions Zendesk Zendesk
@movingtogitlab Twitter mentions Zendesk Tweetdeck
@gitlabstatus Twitter mentions Zendesk Zendesk
Facebook Facebook page messages Zapier Zendesk
Hacker News Hacker News mentions Zapier Zendesk and Slack: #hn-mentions
Hacker News front page stories Hacker News front page mentions Zapier Slack: #community-advocates
Education Program Education application form Marketo Salesforce and Zendesk
Open Source Program Open Source application form Marketo Salesforce and Zendesk
Startups Program Startup application form Marketo Salesforce and Zendesk
E-mail (merch@gitlab.com) Shop contact E-mail alias Zendesk
E-mail (community@gitlab.com) Handbook E-mail alias Zendesk
E-mail (movingtogitlab@gitlab.com) #movingtogitlab campaign (deprecated) E-mail alias Zendesk
E-mail (education@gitlab.com) Support contact E-mail alias Zendesk
E-mail (opensource@gitlab.com) Support contact E-mail alias Zendesk
E-mail (startups@gitlab.com) Support contact E-mail alias Zendesk
E-mail (personal inbox) E-mails to track as tickets E-mail alias Zendesk
Website: blog Disqus comments Zapier Zendesk, #mentions-of-gitlab
Website: DevOps Tools Disqus comments Zapier Zendesk and Slack: #devops-tools-comments
Speakers Find-a-speaker form Zapier Zendesk
Reddit Reddit mentions Zapier Zendesk and Slack: #reddit
Documentation Disqus comments Zapier Slack: #docs-comments ✓ (Docs Team)
Stack Overflow Stack Exchange mentions Zapier Zendesk
GitLab forum forum.gitlab.com Zapier Zendesk and Slack: #gitlab-forum
Lobste.rs lobste.rs mentions Zapier Slack: #mentions-of-gitlab
IRC IRC support N/A N/A
Gitter Gitter support N/A N/A
YouTube YouTube comments N/A N/A
Mailing list GitLabHq Google Group (deprecated) N/A N/A
Quora GitLab Quora topic N/A N/A
Wider community content Blog post comments N/A N/A

How we work

Coverage for important and/or urgent mentions

At this time, the Community Advocates team spans across two main timezones: CET (Central European Time, UTC +1) and CDT (Central Daylight Time, UTC -5). Our typical coverage based on these time zones is Monday - Friday from 8:00UTC to 22:00UTC, plus occasional weekend coverage for release days.

While this gives us the capacity to address most mentions during the working day, often important and/or urgent mentions happen outside our current coverage times. An example is HackerNews mentions happening towards the end of business hours or later in the Pacific Timezone (UTC-8).

With the full team online

This is the ideal case where there is coverage from the full team and we follow the regular workflows for each one of our monitored channels.

Community Advocates Coverage Handoff: before ending your day, please review ongoing conversations and mentions in our channels to assess whether there is any one of them that could potentially become important and/or urgent. If that is the case,

With a team member offline

Community Advocates: if a member of the Community Advocates team is offline during their regular working hours (e.g. due to Paid Time Off, illness or unforeseen events) for a day or more, and that leaves their timezone uncovered, please activate the Advocate for a day process with at least two additional advocates.

If the time offline extends more than a few days, it is advisable to find additional advocates and rotate their roles.

After hours

In general, if you notice an online mention that needs to be addressed, please ping @advocates on the #community-advocates Slack channel. All Community Advocates have notifications enabled for this group handle and this channel –notifications are also sent if the handle is mentioned on any GitLab Slack channel.

You can also [contact any of the Community Advocates] directly via Slack or text message.

If required, please consider using the Marketing Rapid Response Process as well.

Deliverable scheduling

Release day advocate duty

Every 22nd of the month we release a new version of GitLab. More often than not we get a spike in community mentions. To help deal with this we have dedicated release advocates that own the effort of responding to community mentions on/after a release.

Every month a different advocate has release advocate duty. It rotates on a monthly basis. If the release day takes place on a weekend, one of the advocates is assigned to monitor the traffic and to process mentions. We keep track of the assignments on the Community Advocates GitLab team calendar.

The two channels that we see the biggest increases in are:

Release day tasks

Additional responsibilities

Support for Education, Open Source and Startup Programs

Community Advocates support the Education, Open Source and Startups Programs, and their Program Managers.

Their role is to process and manage program applications as per the application management workflow.

Contributor recognition

Initiatives

Learn more about recognizing contributors

Merchandise

Community Advocates manage merchandise requests, inventory and the merchandise tech stack.

Learn more about how Community Advocates manage merchandise

#movingtogitlab

During news cycles such as the Microsoft acquisition of GitHub, there may be an increase in new GitLab users. The movingtogitlab specific Twitter account highlights all the users who tweeted about switching to GitLab.

Advocates should always look for new users moving to GitLab and make sure to thank them and ask what the benefits of using our products are. When doing so, please follow the #movingtogitlab workflow.

Advocate for a Day

When community advocates aren't available, or we expect high traffic on social media (because of some major outage, or some significant announcement), we should try to recruit more GitLab team-members who would help us cover our social networks. Our Advocate for a Day page is meant to help assist anyone who has been asked to perform this duty.

Expertises

Every Community Advocate owns one or more of the team's processes. These are called expertises.

Expertise rotation

From time to time we run expertise rotation rounds to ensure all Advocates are trained in all expertises.

Tech stack

Customers portal

The Customers Portal is the in-house platform to manage customer subscriptions. We use it mostly in the context of the Education, OSS and startup programs for:

Learn more about the Customers Portal.

Discourse

Discourse is the platform on which the GitLab forum is run.

Learn more about how we use Discourse.

Disqus

Disqus is the commenting platform we use to enable our wider community to comment on the GitLab website, the DevOps Tools pages, and documentation comments.

Learn more about how we use Disqus

License App

The License app is the in-house platform to generate licenses. Access to the LicenseApp requires a dev account. In the context of the Education, OSS and startup programs, the License App:

Printfection

Printfection is the swag management platform. Community Advocates use it to manage the inventory and orders for most swag items.

Learn more about how Community Advocates manage merchandise.

Salesforce

Salesforce is the CRM platform we use to support the Education, Open Source and Startup Programs.

Shopify

Shopify is the GitLab store frontend platform. Community Advocates use it to publish merchandise items for sale, for reports and inventory tracking.

Learn more about how Community Advocates manage merchandise.

Stickermule

Stickermule is the swag platform used to print and order custom stickers.

Learn more about how Community Advocates manage merchandise.

TanukiDesk

TanukiDesk is an in-house open source project. Its goal is to provide bidirectional communication between Zendesk and Disqus/HackerNews.

We're currently utilizing this app to work on Disqus mentions via TanukiDesk Disqus Channel app.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck is used in special cases to post and manage Twitter responses. Otherwise, Twitter responses are tracked and most generally posted directly from Zendesk.

Learn more about how we use Tweetdeck.

Zapier

Zapier is an automation tool used to identify mentions across our response channels and to route them into Zendesk as tickets

Learn more about how we use Zapier.

Zendesk

Zendesk is the central place for Community Advocates to track wider community mentions across our response channels and to effectively respond to them. It also used to measure our KPIs.

Learn more about how we use Zendesk

Advocate and Social Team Shadow Program

Purpose: The purpose of this shadow program is to build effective collaboration and community building strategies between the Community Advocates and the Social Media team.

Outcomes:

  1. The Advocates will gain an increased understanding of the Social Marketing Handbook and learn new strategies for engaging with community members on social channels to promote GitLab brand awareness.
  2. The Social Team will gain an increased understanding of the Community advocate workflows and how the Advocates reroute or respond to different types of GitLab mentions.
  3. Following the shadow sessions, the Advocates will build guidelines in the handbook to better define paths of action for response for various types of GitLab mentions.

The planning of this process can be followed on this GitLab issue.

KPIs

Community Channel Response Time KPI Definition

Community Channel Response Time is the time between an inbound message and the first-reply time. The current goal is to be under 7 hours for all channels and under 5 hours for high-priority channels. This response time is currently tracked in Zendesk.

Metrics Update Process

Each month the marketing team hosts a Key Monthly Marketing Metics meeting. The advocates team is responsible for updating relevant data in the presentation slides.

Adding Metrics to Slides

Quarterly OKR Epic Creation Process

Each quarter we define and have the opportunity to share our OKRs publicly. An advocate is responsible for creating an epic from the content in the quarter's OKR page by following the steps listed below.

Translating our OKRs into an epic each quarter is in line with our transparency value, and it helps us collaborate better as a team when it comes to our objectives and key results.

Steps to Create a New Epic for Community Advocates Quarterly OKRs