Picking the right tool to build your developer community to be a space where people want to spend time is hard. Getting users engaged and actively contributing is a whole new level of challenge. Below are three proven keys to marketing your developer community, encouraging users to make your space their digital home for Questions & Answers, articles related to your business objectives, and ideas to build your product roadmap.
1. Embrace Gamification Within Your Community
Your developer community will grow both organically and through designed methods, one of these being gamification. According to Gartner, gamification is “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.” Most developer community software includes the use of reputation points; however, not many of these systems are designed around actions specific to your business goals. What is important to your business? Each business unit? The individuals within those units? Design the points system to reward users for taking actions you deem positive and unique to your business.
When your users earn this reputation, let them show it off in a leaderboard, with custom badges, and by awarding them public “Expert Status” that everyone else on the site can see. By allowing your users to show off their reputation, you build motivation into the system to encourage others to contribute in meaningful ways.
Embracing gamification internally markets your community and increases engagement from users who are already there. At the same time, you’re giving new users a look at what they can achieve in the future if they stick around.
2. Earn Top Level Buy-In From Management
There’s a correct and an incorrect way to get managers to buy into your community. You could, a) have them enforce use by using negative reinforcement, or b) use their authority to encourage employees’ use of the tool, leading by example. This creates a positive culture around the community where people are open to talking about where they live in the digital space.
When your managers begin using the tool to ask questions, post their ideas, and write insightful articles for their teams, it’s natural for employees to go there and do the same. This is where management teams can use gamification to their advantage by awarding users extra points or badges as well for using the tool. They can also work with your community managers to create custom achievements and badges for their teams.
Always remember that people take actions because of other people & are motivated by personal interactions rather than tools, games, or achievements. Getting buy-in from management allows your managers to be the face that inspires their teams to use your community.
3. Own Your Developer Community Brand
One of the most powerful examples of owning your brand in order to market yourself is the company Apple. They know their products and audiences and understand that what they create isn’t for everybody. Instead, they market themselves as an exclusive club that only people similar to them can gain access to. You can do this with your developer community by utilizing the unique phrases and branding that sets your business apart from the competition, using customization to create a place that users feel is unique and exclusive.
Tools like AnswerHub allow for customization through not just UI and design, but also full customization and integration into your current toolset. The best tools allow and encourage development against REST APIs as well, so your team has full control over customization.
When you create unity within the tools your developers and internal customers work with, you make the whole system feel intuitive, as if they had always meant to be used just by your company. Reduce the pain of adding another tool to your developer’s kits and help them understand that this is beneficial and seamless.
Keep these keys at the top of your mind as you build and maintain your developer community and you’ll see higher engagement, less time to get questions answered, and through that, lowered support costs. Market your community to help build it into the most engaged developer community possible.