Today, almost all software companies have developer communities. Developer communities are a great way to drive the adoption of your products in the long term. They help you understand user behavior and build more valuable products with positive customer feedback. They also create brand awareness, increase product usage, and reduce support costs. However, not all developer communities are created equal. Many end up as ghost towns or niche groups with little engagement from their members. There’s a reason why some developer communities struggle to grow. In contrast, others thrive – it comes down to the small details that make all the difference: effective leadership, transparent communication practices, and inclusive member experiences (beyond just developers).
What is a Community Manager?
A community manager is the glue that keeps a community together by growing members and improving member engagement. A community manager is a product champion in the community, focused on connecting with members and supporting their needs. A community manager is not the company’s business owner or product manager but an external community representative. Community managers are trained to understand users’ needs, wants, and expectations. They can shape the community to make these needs and expectations a reality. The community manager will interact with your community members by moderating discussions, coaching moderators, solving problems, and guiding the community towards the desired direction.
Better User Feedback
Hearing from users directly, rather than through support tickets, is far more effective. In your developer community, you can do this through targeted surveys and polls. Targeted Surveys – If a survey is too broad, you won’t get valuable feedback. If a survey is too narrow, you’ll get too few responses. Create targeted surveys that help you get the feedback you need. For example, use surveys to ask questions like: “What content would you like to see next?” or “What are the biggest challenges you face in your development projects?” Narrowly-focused polls – Quickly identify how your members feel about specific topics or issues within the community. Avoid getting too broad or open-ended with polls. For example, use polls to ask questions like: “What is the most challenging part of building an application?” or “What is the first thing you look for when hiring a development company?”
More Product Usage
To truly understand your users, you need to know how they use your product. The best way to do this is to ask for user-generated content. Product reviews – Use a tool like Product Hunt to add reviews of your products within your developer community. This will encourage your members to try out your products. It will also help you discover what your members like or dislike about your products. Tutorials and How-Tos – Create content showing your members how to use your products to solve their challenges. Create content that is easy to follow, as well as content that is challenging enough to stretch your members. Be careful not to release anything you would consider confidential information.
Reduced Support Costs
Most support issues can be prevented through proactive education. If a developer has a question, they shouldn’t have to wait for you to reply. Instead, they should be able to find the answers they need within your developer community. Documentation and FAQs – Create detailed documentation for your products and share it within your developer community. Also, share Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to solve common issues your members may have. Your documentation and FAQs shouldn’t just exist online. Make them available in-app too.
Open-ended discussions – Encourage (but don’t force) open-ended talks that go beyond your products and into the challenges your members face while using your product. If your developer community is actively discussing your product, they are also actively discussing your brand. Growing your developer community with the proper focus can help you reach a wider audience and increase brand awareness. For example, let’s say your developer community is focused on BigCommerce. You can encourage members to discuss their challenges with building their applications and websites on BigCommerce!
Do you want to hear more from a Community Manager? Tune into the Podcast with Heather Barr from BigCommerce
Retention is the ability to keep your users engaged, satisfied, and returning to your product. A happy, engaged developer community will help you retain your users. Retention-focused discussions – Create discussions that focus on helping your members create better applications. Create conversations around best practices and challenges your members face. Avoid creating challenges that your members can’t solve.
When it comes to developer communities, the devil is in the details. Having an effective leadership team, creating engaging discussions, and providing helpful resources can make or break your community. These small details are often overlooked in the early stages of community growth. To ensure your developer community is thriving, choose a community manager who can shape your community and drive engagement amongst your members. A community manager will help you drive adoption, better understand user behavior, and build more valuable products with positive customer feedback.
You can learn more about Community Management from Heather Barr – Click below.
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