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5 Tips for Building a Strong Developer Community

Introduction

Developer relations involve building relationships with developers, showcasing products to them, and providing assistance to ensure an amazing developer experience with the product. 

In this article, we will share tips on building a community around your company’s product and improving your target developers’ experience. 

Let’s Learn! 

Engaging Through Communication Channels

Building Developer Community Online

Before starting a community, you must establish a platform to communicate with your audience or community members. This is the first step, and building a community is always tricky. Two platforms I recommend are Discord and Slack; these are platforms where you can build a community forum without breaking the bank. 

On these platforms, you can easily create a free account and invite developers to join, and that’s how you start to create a community. Through these platforms, you can share product updates and release notes, and encourage members to share feedback while using the product or report bugs. You can also have multiple channels on these platforms for specific conversations. 

For instance, you can have a bug_report channel for issues or bugs faced by users, a product_updates channel for updates on the products,  and a general channel for general conversation within and outside the company’s products. As a maintainer, you can easily track the conversations, and for the community they know where to have more focused conversations. 

Share Value-Driven Content and Resources

Another great way to engage with the community is by sharing articles, videos, tutorials, etc., relating to your company’s product; this could be articles explaining concepts around your product or sharing a tutorial from the engineering team on how to use a feature or a tip when using the product. This helps encourage the community to learn how the product works and how it can be used in their day-to-day workflow. 

Besides sharing content about your product, you can share content around development in general, such as “What do you think is the importance of CSS Flexbox?”. Sharing content outside your company’s updates, best practices, tips, etc, shows that you care about the community’s growth, which helps you build trust with the community

Please note that limiting your content sharing to one post per day is best to avoid overwhelming the community, especially when you’re just starting out. 

Drive for Belonging and Inclusivity within the Developer Community

Sharing content and getting your community to engage with one another is not enough to build an amazing community. You need to be inclusive and make everyone feel heard and seen. You can start by creating ground rules for everyone to respect each other and be mindful of their words. This makes everyone feel safe in the community and voice their opinions about conversations within the community. 

Besides setting rules, you can encourage the community members to collaborate and build projects around your product regardless of their expertise. You can host hackathons and pair up the members; this prompts teamwork or team-building while they learn more about the product. 

Another way to make members feel like they belong to the community is by encouraging them to share their projects and get feedback from others; this could be a software or web app or an article or video content they created. This makes everyone feel seen and heard.  

Recognize and Reward Community Contributions 

As the community grows, it is wise to recognize and appreciate members who help improve the community’s well-being. These folks constantly share resources, interact with one another, and give feedback either on the product or their fellow members’ content. 

One effective way to show appreciation for community members is to provide them with exclusive swags and/or social media recognition. This can be done within the community or extended to a wider audience. Doing so makes members feel valued, raises community awareness, and encourages others to join.

Besides swag and recognition, you could offer them opportunities to take leadership roles within the community, similar to the Appwrite Hero program. This drives the adoption of your product within and outside the community while appreciating the efforts of the community members.  

Hosting Community Calls/Meetups

Building Developer Community

Events are a great way to get to know your community better; it could be monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly meetups. You can start by hosting a virtual event within your community to focus on educating your community and understanding their needs, similar to Hashnode community calls. These calls are just to educate the community and answer their questions about the product. 

In addition to community calls that provide product knowledge, consider hosting virtual or in-person events like webinars, workshops, or meetups. These initiatives can extend beyond product promotion and include developer topics that educate and engage the community. In-person meetups can serve as a platform to showcase the community, attract new members, and create a sense of belonging.

Conclusion

In summary, fostering a community is a huge aspect of developer relations and developer marketers. To establish a community about a product, selecting the appropriate communication platform, sharing relevant content, promoting inclusivity, acknowledging exceptional community members who contribute to its growth, and organizing virtual and in-person events to engage with the community are essential.

If you think we missed any tips and you’d love to share them, do well to share them in the comments. Join our upcoming podcast episode on community building here

Keep building! 

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