If you’re spending the money for an enterprise level developer community solution, you need to make sure you optimize the ROI you get from it. The first steps are setting objectives, ensuring you have great content, and making sure you’re engaging all of your members.
- Clearly define your goals
Your developer community goals are no different than any others your business is trying to hit. Align your community with cascading goals from your company yearly, quarterly, and monthly plans. This allows your community managers to understand what is expected of them and ensure that they’re measuring the right metrics to keep them on track.
Defining expectations is a major factor in whether you will have success or not in your developer community efforts. Linking key metrics to business-level goals enables you to increase executive buy-in and prove a more impressive ROI in the end.
- Create useful content
It’s important that the content on your developer community is not just useful, but also able to be consumed quickly. This ensures your audience has a quality experience and will want to keep coming back.
The best way to know if your content is useful is to ask your community! Page views only tell you so much, so gauge user satisfaction by sending out email surveys, monitoring key words and top questions asked, and then refresh or replace content as it becomes less popular or goes out of date.
- Monitor and own the engagement
Your developer community is essentially an ecosystem that feeds off of engagement. This makes it important to create an environment that encourages people to share what they know, answer other’s questions, connect with other users, and quickly learn.
Encourage high levels of participation in your community with gamification (this blog looks at employees, but it’s also relevant for your community). Award community members with badges, reputation points, and expert status based on their engagement efforts.
- Be transparent
People are behind every keyboard and I’ve never met someone who liked being kept in the dark. Keep your audience up to date with new feature releases, bug fixes, and community initiatives, and let them know how the community is doing.
The goal with your community is to create a place that will fill your developers with a sense of ownership. When they have that commitment of ownership, they’re not going to let it fail without a fight. Use email alerts to notify members of new opportunities to engage, or send newsletters highlighting community activity to highlight your most active users.
- Moderate diligently
Effective moderation will ensure your developer community consists of relevant contributions and highly engaged users. The key here is having a healthy mix of maintaining order and encouraging your audience to engage with one another to drive organic discussion.
Last, but not least, you need to appoint a community manager. This person will drive and deepen the relationships your members have with your brand (again, create a sense of ownership). They also govern the community to make sure activities align with the purpose of the community.
If you follow these five essential steps, you will have the winning formula for a successful developer community.