Developer relations, or DevRel, is not a new concept. The principle is to build relationships with developers that are beneficial to both parties.
As an online community manager, you may think that DevRel is something that companies need to do to ensure they are found by developers that may use their products. In many respects, this was the original concept behind DevRel.
Traditional marketing was designed for the consumer, it neglected to include developers, effectively depriving any business of a means to share their products with the developer. Fortunately, in recent years it has become clear that developers’ communities are an important target for business. It has become important for companies to bond with online communities.
Whether your tech community wants to connect with companies or not, it is still important that you, as a community manager, understand the dynamics of developer relationships in business to use it to your own advantage, or to escape from it!
How DevRel Is Essential To Company Survival
Building developer relations from company to the community has become an important part of the selling process and with good reason.
Developing any new software, or even hardware, requires a lot of effort, support, and financial commitment. This is not something that can be changed on a whim. Companies commit hundreds of thousands of dollars to create the next best offering.
But, with so much on the line a company has to be certain they are adopting the right approach. The business is not going to want to change direction mid-development.
While the end consumer can advise what they think of a particular product, there is no guarantee that it will be a success. But, if the company builds a relationship of trust with a developer and their online community, they can benefit from their knowledge.
When a company convinces a developer to use their product they will have created an allegiance that is likely to last for years. Providing the product is worthwhile the developer, or you, the community manager, will continue to use the product for the foreseeable future.
That’s peace of mind for the company as they have a home for their product, potentially justifying the expense.
But, the personal relationship that has been built is also beneficial to you and your community. You’ll have the confidence to use their product and build on it with your community.
If a company wants its product to be used by developers or have developer approval, they need to be working on building relationships with you.
The Importance of DevRel To Developer Communities
You can see why a company needs your approval and feedback. It helps them to justify the product and find an audience. But, you may wonder why developer relations are equally as important to you and your community.
The answer is actually similar. Building a relationship with companies allows you access to their products which can be offered to your community. The better the relationship between you and IT companies the easier it is for you to offer the software to your community, with confidence.
After all, your primary role is a community manager, you want to build a community through mutual respect and understanding. The aim is to create an environment where people can share, learn, and improve.
Developer relations means building relationships to create trust, collecting feedback, guiding people through challenges while inspiring, and even mentoring them. But, most of all, it means building tools and an infrastructure that empowers your members.
In short, getting the DevRel right will create the community you want!
Assessing The Success of DevRel Between Your Community & Companies
Now we know that IT companies need good Devrel with you and your developer community. It’s instrumental to their survival and the growth of your community.
But, how do you assess the success of this DevRel? One thing is certain, lead conversions, which is a common KPI for sales departments, is not relevant in this situation.
Five key areas can be used to set and assess KPIs.
It can be difficult to judge the awareness level of a particular product. But, perhaps the simplest way of verifying the awareness level is to undertake surveys to see who has heard of the company or software that they are providing.
An increase in awareness confirms that the DevRel is successful.
It’s also worth considering the goal of awareness in developer relationships between your community and the IT companies.
The aim is to build recognition and visibility for both you, your community, and the company. This is best done through word of mouth, it may be slower than other methods but it builds trust. This inspires further conversations, helping to boost the success of this approach.
Recognition can also be identified by looking at the number of times a company is mentioned in blog content, sponsorship, and even during webinars or similar speaking events.
The great thing about this assessment area is that success can be assessed by tracking social media responses, increased levels of traffic, views, time sent on specific pages, and even the number of emails opened. In short, you can monitor the success of Devrel through standard Google Analytics tools!
To improve the relationship further IT companies can engage directly with your community through events, conferences, and even live chat sessions. Accessibility to the IT companies will help to build trust with your community members. This justifies your decision to build a relationship with specific companies. It’s definitely a two-way street.
Developing relationships between community members and the developers at the companies will build trust and improve the quality of the software for all concerned.
The better the relationship the easier, and more willing, your community will be to give feedback that can direct and improve the products offered. This ensures the company retains your community as a customer and builds influence in the wider market.
The easiest way to build these relationships is to create collaborations between the community and the developers. This can be done through an online forum or video conferencing app. The aim should be to work on a specific issue and find a way to improve it, or move the product forward.
The developer benefits from having direct contact with a community using their product. The community benefit because the software is tweaked to ensure it suits their needs better.
This is actually quite an easy KPI to measure. The developer can assess the number of interactions that have occurred between the two parties. In addition, it’s possible to see an increase in traffic to their site, more social media likes, and even assess the time that people are spending on specific pages. When the pages are directly relevant to software developments it’s easy to see how many people are interested in what you’re trying to achieve.
New member acquisitions
There are two types of new members; community members and IT companies. You need to be building relationships with both in order to expand your community and build additional recognition.
Fortunately, you can achieve both these goals in one move. Posting content to your community that talks about specific developers is the perfect way to increase awareness of a developer. This should drive a greater interest from the developer in your community. After all, they are interested in building better relationships with you.
Providing you are genuine with your content, your community will enjoy the post and respond with their own input. This can be beneficial to you to ensure the relationship is well received in your community. It will also help the developer to tweak their product and gain the satisfaction of your community.
You can assess the success of this approach by monitoring content views, the number of like posts, and even assessing traffic levels to see if you have more visitors and how much time they are spending on your page.
This is an essential part of any relationship between a community and a developer. The community must be able to ask the developer questions about the product. Specifically, they should be looking to see if it does certain things or is capable of doing that in the future.
The developer reply and focuses on adding extra functionality wherever possible, should help to build trust and improve Developer to community relationships.
As a community manager, you can also help your members by monitoring the most frequently asked questions and documenting them. Your members can then see you bringing the subject up with the developer and monitor the success of the efforts.
It can really benefit you and the developer if you resolve the issue.
An easy way to monitor this KPI is to monitor repeat questions before and after you get involved. The fewer that reappear the happier your community is likely to be, showing that the Devrel is improving.
It’s not just established developer companies that you want to be targeting to boost your community. You can also encourage new developers to join forces with you. This is the perfect way of bolstering your own community and expanding the software options currently available.
The developer will need the publicity your community can offer and will be able to cater directly to their needs. This will help them to get known and build their own company or community.
The easiest way to help new developers is to create content that is designed to guide them through the starting up process. This tells them what to expect at each stage of their journey and which approach is most likely to be successful for them.
You get the benefit of building your community while establishing a unique and long-lasting relationship with the developer.
You can assess the success of this approach by simply monitoring the signup ratio and assess the number of people who have joined versus the number that are actively promoting software and sharing knowledge.
Ideally, every new member will be sharing knowledge to further the community.
How Community Members Can Help
Aside from interacting with the various developers, your community members are an important part of the process.
They must give you honest feedback about a product or developer, it’s the only way you can take the right action.
They should also give you information regarding what things would be beneficial to them, As a community manager, you’ll probably know what tool to refer them to. Your members should also willing to include you in any interesting conversations they are having. This is, after all, the main point of the community. You want to know the latest developments, potential tools, and even concepts, as well as specific issues that they feel are relevant. Looking after your community ensures they remain members. That’s as important as developing relationships to increase your presence in the industry. Your role as a community manager is to help and empower your community, because that reflects well on you.
Building relationships between companies and communities can be difficult as both parties have different aims. But with a little careful balancing, you can create productive and beneficial relationships. You can even measure the success of the relationships and improve on them. All it takes is a little time to assess the goals and work out the best way of both achieving the goal while monitoring its success.
You should never be afraid to ask for help from your team and your community, the more involved they all are the better.
Don’t forget that the key to assessing performance and the success of developing relationships between companies and your community is to have a solid platform where people can share their views and access the information you’re providing. Whether you’re looking for the best way to organize an event or connect via video feed, Codemotion can provide the platform you need. With this sorted you’ll be able to focus on what really matters, keeping your community happy. Check us out today and move your community a step forward!