- Difficulties faced when managing an online community
- Community management areas
- The right tools for community managers
- Final Thoughts
As you already know, there are hundreds of online tech communities. Some of the most renowned communities belong to corporate companies – only a few have achieved widespread recognition while maintaining their independence.
Nonetheless, there are literally thousands more communities out there that are struggling to get the acknowledgement they deserve, and many others striving to get started. The key to success is careful management. Without this, a community will neither live up to its potential nor fulfil its role.
At Codemotion, we believe that this disaster needs a solution as we are convinced that tech communities are vital for innovation and technological advancement. Luckily, there are quite a few tools that can help community managers stay at the top of their game and get good results fast.
Difficulties faced when managing an online community
Managing a tech community as a developer has the potential to be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever done in your life. First of all, you’ll be dealing with professionals like yourself, so you need to be at the peak of your game.
You won’t have time to waste on fact-checking or ensuring the community runs smoothly. To communicate with other developers and be a proactive developer community manager, you need the right tools for the job.
Secondly, you’ll probably struggle to find the time to manage your growing community as a side project while working full-time at your job.
On the other hand, you’ll have a unique opportunity to gain visibility and share your knowledge with others while learning from your peers. All in all, managing an online community is a great way to share your passion, keep up with what is going on and sharpen your skillset.
Being a developer community manager demands self-denial and humility, and it takes time to develop these traits. You’ll be happy to know that there is hope for you! To start with, there are plenty of tools that will simplify and even automate the process for you.
Before we delve into these tools, let’s run through the most important areas you’ll be involved in as the manager of your own community.
Community management areas
Your first goal should be to identify the areas that need to be managed to make your community a success.
Community Page Creation
Creating your community page has to come at the top of your list – it’s the central place for people to meet and share information.
The page itself is essential, but it’s only a starting point. You need to encourage people to react to your postings and create their own content. The most important part of an online community is the ability to share information, debate, and learn!
Communication means that members can share their views and you are able to connect with them to provide updates, event news, and share your own knowledge, which can be a great way to get a debate started.
Developer Relations (DevRel)
DevRel is simply building a relationship with developers either within or external to your community. It’s important to build these relationships in order to stay ahead of technological developments. By getting developers to contribute to your community you can make sure they, and you, stay relevant.
You’re probably going to want to link to as many social media accounts as possible, as this will increase the number of people who know about your community. It is a good idea, although when you first start your online community you may prefer to focus on the most popular social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
All you have to do is create an account with these social media sites and connect it to your online community. This will allow people to connect through social media and for you to spread knowledge of the community to those that may be interested.
Blogging and Emailing
You need to be able to add blogs to your site and email blog posts, as well as other pertinent information, to your members. There is no way to automate the content, although you can sub-contract the writing and automate postings across social media accounts.
Writing blogs helps to build the community and attract new members, as does using email lists to talk directly to potential members.
Event Organization and Management
This is essential to building a community. It provides the opportunity for members to meet each other and share views. At the same time, potential members can get a feel for the online community and may be persuaded to join.
Of course, if you’re creating an online community and posting events you’re going to need a ticketing solution that allows members to book their space at your event and make payments, if necessary.
In a similar vein, whether or not your members are asked to pay for membership, you need to keep track of who has subscribed.
This will allow you to contact members, assess current membership statistics, and devise ways to target more people with the same interests. This information can even help you to diversify the appeal of your online community.
Personal and team task management
If you’re lucky enough to have co-founders or dedicated first members, they may be willing to share the running of the community and organizing events. If this is the case you need to have the right software to organize the team and coordinate the various tasks.
Calendars and reminders
You’re going to need to put reminders and important dates on your calendars and those of your team. This should be handled by team management software but it’s important to be aware of how essential this is.
Likewise, managing your time and the time of any helpers will help you to focus on providing quality content to your community and monitoring the community to ensure everyone abides by the rules.
Finally, you need to consider what tools are available to help you automate as many processes as possible. This will help to reduce the demands on your time – essential if you’re going to build a successful and flourishing online tech community.
The right tools for community managers
The real aim of creating an online community is to share knowledge and build closeness between your members. You should gain as much out of the community as your members do.
You’re probably doing this without pay, which means streamlining the above elements is essential; the fewer tools you use to control all the above elements, the easier it will be for you to manage the community and enjoy being part of it.
The good news is that you only need a handful of tools to get you started. The majority of those on offer will help you handle all of the above categories. Take a look at these, try them today, and start building and managing your online tech community!
Codemotion Community Platform
Codemotion offers the ultimate community page startup. This easy-to-use guide will take you through selecting a topic to choosing a physical location, and several other pertinent details. The page will then be approved by the Codemotion team before it can go live.
Once you’re all set, you’ll get access to an in-house meetup option to create and manage local events, a list of potential speakers to invite and the ability to manage emails. Alongside all of this, the system allows you to register, monitor, and contact event participants.
- Free forever
- Easy to use
- Covers community creation, event management, and communications
- Agenda builder feature to organize talks
- Access to other tech professionals
- Occasional bug issues (but we’re on it!)
Trello is designed as a project management tool. This means you can use it to communicate efficiently with your supporting members. It will allow you to create a project, assign it to a team member, and track its progress. All communication can be completed in the app.
- Integrates with a multitude of other apps, including Slack
- Free option with a good range of functions, extras available with the paid option
- Mobile app is excellent
- Lack of reports
Eventbrite a good option for managing events and can be used to supervise subscriptions, attendance, and ticketing issues. It’s very easy to use and is especially hepful if you want to spend time on and at the event, instead of on sorting a registration process.
- Enforces registration for events, ideal for tracking attendee numbers
- Monitor replies to event invites and reports back to you
- Syncs smoothly with email providers
- This is just for registering and ticketing – you’ll need a more advanced tool to encourage more member interaction
- Not specific for tech events
Asana is another task/project management tool. For more advanced users, it has an array of facilities; a key option is workflow management. Asana doesn’t offer time tracking but will ensure you’re up to date with any work in progress and corresponding developments.
- Sleek, modern interface with a speedy response
- Plenty of useful features
- Free version
- Timeline feature allows visibility of team members
- Inability to switch between task and Kanban views after you’ve created the project
- It’s not designed for graphics-heavy applications
If you’re looking to expand your influence then you’ll want to use Meetup to increase your appeal. Meetup works along the same lines as Codemotion, offering events in the area and allowing you to create your own events and offer them to interested parties.
- Easy to navigate
- An array of event possibilities
- Attendee management features
- Free, except for creating meetups
- Location limits when searching for events
This app is designed to encourage communication. The user interface is simple with Discourse and you can try it for free. The app integrates easily with Slack, WordPress, Google Analytics, and a host of other systems.
You’ll also like the automatic trust system that encourages fruitful communication across the whole community.
- It’s open-source, perfect for a tech community
- Excellent integration to other platforms
- Integrated tagging system
- Mobile friendly
- Monitoring and managing threads can be complicated due to lack of tree structure
- Additional custom options would be beneficial
Buffer allows you to create your content and queue it up to be posted to multiple social media channels whenever you want. It also allows you to analyse campaigns and see reports into customer growth, helping you to choose the right strategies to improve your campaigns.
A free version allows you to manage up to 3 channels.
- Free trial
- Easy to use and works very well
- Drag and drop facility
- RSS feed a browser extension possibilities
- Advanced analytics only available in paid option
- Other apps may offer a broader range of features
This is a fantastic tool for monitoring tweets, content, and other posts. You simply select the relevant keywords and Hootsuite will monitor what is going on across the web, giving you the necessary feedback.
It also allows you to track positive and negative comments and react accordingly, so it’s invaluable in maintaining a positive reputation.
- Comprehensive monitoring ability
- Well established, known, and respected
- Easy keyword monitoring and post scheduling facilities
- An array of add-ons quickly increases the cost
- Reports could use additional depth
- No free version
Starting and managing a tech community takes time, effort, and dedication. Nevertheless, with the right tools and a commitment to being a good community manager, you’ll find that it can actually be fun, as well as beneficial.
The fact that you’ll connect with lots of interesting people and learn from them can be seen as a bonus. After all, that is what the tech community is best at doing – sharing.
If you need help to start your tech community or make it grow consistently, do get in touch with us. We will be glad to give you advice and support for free, as we have already done with more than 500,000 communities across Europe so far.