Deciding to run a tech community in your own time takes dedication. No matter how you look at it you’re going to have your way hands-full staying on top of all the demands of your chosen role as a developer community manager.
The good news is that it can be done, you simply need discipline, the right metrics to measure your performance, and a good framework.
If you’re not sure what we mean by framework then you’re in the right place. We’re going to take a look at what framework is, why it’s important, and how you can implement it to benefit your community.
The importance of frameworks for community management
Deciding and creating a framework will ensure that you can complete all the tasks that are required of you as a community manager. The framework should be designed to remind you and guide you through the essential processes that need to be completed daily and weekly.
The right framework will make your role somewhat repetitive. However, this should be seen as a good thing because your aim should be on the development of the community. A framework should prevent you from being caught up with maintenance when you should be developing.
This may sound contradictory. After all, you want to support your members and that means developing the community according to their needs. But, as a developer community manager, you need to focus on bringing in new members. This provides a greater wealth of talent and knowledge which will ensure the majority of questions can be handled between your members.
If you don’t focus on developing then the community is likely to stagnate and slowly fold. That’s why you need a framework, it ensures your time and effort is being put into the right channels to get the right results.
Outline of a professional community management framework
As a community manager, you need to have a wide array of skills. These include the ability to listen, respond, and moderate when needed. You should be able to show empathy while support members and be welcoming to new members. But, you also need to be able to develop the community and interact with the business community while creating content and monitoring the success of campaigns.
There are 50 essential skills you should know about and learn to be a successful community manager. Don’t worry if you don’t already have them all, you can learn!
In the next section, we’ll walk you through creating the best community framework possible. But, before that, you need to be aware of the most important elements of your framework. This will create an outline of your framework.
The first part of your framework deals with establishing a strategy to create and build your community. This means you need to be prepared to analyse what attracts or should attract people to your community and how you will make people aware of your existence.
This is essential to gaining members and increasing your size, reputation, and ability to handle issues.
Having decided what approach works to attract and increase community members you’re going to need to create content and post it in the appropriate places. Some of this will be designed to give information to your members and start discussions. Other posts need to draw attention to your community and attract the new members that your community needs to flourish.
This section includes building a direct marketing campaign although you may prefer to emphasize the word-of-mouth approach.
An important part of any framework is the ongoing evaluation and removal of anything that stops members, or interested parties from participating in discussions and signing up to your community.
It can be difficult to assess what is stopping members from interacting but, with the right framework in place, you’ll be able to identify issues and take steps to resolve them.
Communication between you and your members is essential for this stage.
Maintaining member interest and attracting new members can be achieved by arranging regular events, conferences, and other meeting opportunities.
These events should be online and offline, allowing as many people as possible to participate. It’s a great way of building loyalty in the community and even encouraging new members.
It can even be fun!
Another important part of our framework should be to recognize the talent within your community. When you have attracted influencers to your community you need to focus on building relationships with them. This will boost your wider influence in the industry and your reputation in the community.
You may even want to tap into their skills to aid the growth of your community. It’s an effective method of doing this. In the process you’ll create an inner circle that can assist you with building, maintaining, and developing your tech community.
The next step in your framework is to evaluate the user experience and how it can be improved. This means looking at what elements of the community are redundant and need to be removed. Streamlining helps everything to keep running smoothly and gives you the space to add new elements that can improve the experience for everyone.
Doing this also helps to keep the site fresh which assists with maintaining user interest.
Finally, you need to consider how you will interact with developers, especially those working for IT companies. Creating a good relationship with key businesses will increase the products and opportunities available for your members.
You’ll find that many businesses are eager to build relationships with tech communities, you just need to decide which ones you want to build.
Creating the best community framework
The only way to create a framework is to consider what elements are important to your community and then incorporate these elements in the overall framework elements previously discussed.
However, it is worth noting that software can be used for most of the framework steps. This is what will help to ensure everything gets done in the time you have available. Once you have the framework established its easier to manage your community than you think.
Let’s take a look at how you create the best community framework for your tech community.
You know your community needs to grow to be successful, now it’s time to create the framework for that growth.
Creating an online forum is not enough, it’s unlikely to be spotted by many people, there are simply too many things already in existence online.
Your framework needs to focus on creating opportunities to interact with people and make them aware of who you are and what your community can offer them.
This means displaying your interests and the point of your community.
The next part of the framework states how you will target potential members. This can be through organizing events, posting on similar but not competing communities, through social media, and even by word-of-mouth.
It may sound old-fashioned but talking to other people is the best way to increase awareness of your community.
The good news is that, once you’ve decided where you are targeting potential members, you can move onto the next step. In the future, the only requirement for this stage of the framework is to ensure you are targeting the right places.
The key to looking after members and attracting new ones is in posting content. Short posts to your community can open debates, ask for advice, and encourage the members to suggest things to you.
You’ll need to create these posts, ensuring they are relevant to the latest developments. This is key to sharing knowledge and growing the community through mutual respect.
But, you also need to create longer posts that you can share in industry magazines, online forums, and through social media. These will spark interest in your community and hopefully debate. That’s the perfect way to get people to your community platform and interacting with other members.
You’ll need to create the content, choose where to post it, and monitor the success of each posting to adjust your future postings properly. A tool like Buffer can help you post to multiple places at the same time, it will be a real time-saver.
As your membership increases so will the likelihood of disputes between members or inappropriate postings. Part of your community management framework creation needs to deal with issues. You can use online tools to notify you when trigger words are used, allowing you to look at the forum and comment or remove posts if necessary. It is important to react quickly to any potential issues.
However, you also need to look for barriers to posting and how you can streamline the process while maintaining security. The easiest way to do this is to periodically create a new member account and visualize any issues.
This is a great role to pass on to a volunteer!
You can use a program like Disqus to skim conversations and threads, allowing you to fully administer and moderate on all conversations without having to read every one.
Another option for following discussions is Discourse, it allows you to scroll through threads and see which users are engaged in threads. It’s also an easy-to-use discussion platform which will help your members to enjoy the experience.
Maintaining and building a community requires people to meet each other and share ideas. This gives your community authenticity and the opportunity for people to build friendships. This will help them stay connected to your community.
The key is to get the event right. You need a platform like Codemotion. It will handle all meetup issues, whether online or offline. You can create a weekly agenda, share info, build a venue, and even talk to sponsors. The platform records everything to facilitate the preparation of an event with surprisingly little effort by you.
Best of all, the permanent record makes it much easier to organize future events after studying member participation.
You need good relationships with your community members, your team, and any business or developer company you have connected with.
The fundamental aspect of good relationships is listening. In short, you need to ensure your members can share with you and that you’ll listen.
The better known your community becomes the higher the chance that you have great talent within. You need to develop a way to seek these people out and nurture relationships with them. Ideally, you want them contributing to the community, preferably in an administrator type of role.
This keeps them engaged with your community instead of creating rival ones. It will also help you to stay on top of all the tasks as these members will assist with the framework and maintenance. That leaves you free to focus on the future and where you want the community to go.
Trello is a great tool to add to your framework at this stage, it allows easy contact between you and your team.
The next stage of your framework must include the ability to evaluate the site and the tools that are used. This will allow you to eliminate old links, unused sections of the community, and streamline it, effectively improving performance.
Finally, you need a strategy that will allow you to connect with businesses and develop relationships. Most IT companies will welcome the opportunity to work with your community, it gives them a good testing ground. In return, they can raise the profile of your community and help you to become stronger, better known, and more appreciated.
Community Management – Making the framework work!
The fundamental issue with frameworks is having the time for community management, to maintain all the different elements. That’s why you need to automate as many processes as possible and enlist the help of your members.
This will help your members to feel connected, ensuring they stay with your community. It will also ensure that everything that needs to be done is undertaken, allowing your community to grow.
It can be complicated to maintain the community while trying to attract new members. However, the right framework will make your role as community manager much easier. If it isn’t then you need to adjust the framework.
Creating the right framework for community management allows you to follow a simple guide and stay on top of the community. As mentioned, the right software plays an important part in this. From monitoring negative community interactions to organizing events for you, the right software makes a big difference.
That’s why you should investigate in Codemotion’s free platform today and be assured that event management will never be an issue again. Sorting events is a key part of securing new members and maintaining existing ones. The greater the level of opportunity to connect the easier it is to grow your community.
Taking the time to plan your framework won’t just make the difference between the success and failure of your online community. It will also make it easier for you to manage, allowing you to focus on developing and improving it.