How to build your first Tech Community?

how-to-build-your-first-tech-community?

Background

Tech communities are the most pivotal infrastructure of a tech company. Because they help them understand flaws in the product first hand and also give them an audience who believes in their initiatives. It’s always said the best way of marketing something is through “Word of mouth” and thus communities who have succeeded in past have understood their audience in a better way.

Introduction

Tech communities are gateway for your product into the market of community and creating an ecosystem. You can do wonders with touching base on different avenues with your vision with these communities. Further in this blog I will give you folks an understanding to how that would happen.

Let’s for starters define Tech Communities. They’re a space you create for your direct developer audience and clients. This could generally be on a platform like Discord, Slack, Forums SaaS apps. You provide a number of things for their support here

  • Support channel
  • Channel for sharing their demos and products build on your stack
  • Organizing AMA/Office hours
  • Organizing Hackathons/Tech Events

Dive In

Let’s dive in to understand in detail how you would start with your first tech community! For this journey we will take example of an Open Source Database company “Looping DB” who wants to create a community around their product.

Step 1: Jot down why are you creating a community in the first place, what are the end goals and what is your target audience.

Looping DB Example

  • Looping DB wants to create a community because they want to understand the market fit for their product and get feedback from developers.
  • Their end goal is to get more developers on their cloud platform availing the free plan. So that they can convert these users later into paid ones. But they also want people to self host their DB and get feedback on the open source path.
  • Their target audience is actually corporate who want to scale from 10k-1M reads/writes.

Step 2: Figure out strategies to announce your community and get the initial 1-100 developer with you. Don’t re-invent the wheel, churn the wheel according to your needs.

  • Hackathons
  • Tech event/challenge online
  • Community partners with other Tech communities and announcing an event/article/community collaboration with them
  • Creating awareness about community support on your website and socials

Looping DB Example

  • Looping DB started with an hackathon on Devfolio or Devpost. Collaborated with few more community partners and hosted this event. they got an outreach of about 100 participants online joining they’re community.
  • They changed their website’s landing page and shared information about the hackathon, made people aware about how one can get community support.

Step 3: Interact, gratify and support, very simple but very difficult if you don’t have the right people doing this for you.

  • Interact: You need moderators, to make a very interactive environment for your community. As soon as developers enter your community they should feel welcomed, with notes of gratitude and a resources list on how to interact with the community.

  • Gratify: Instant gratification is really important, if someone builds something with your product help them get a good reach within your community and socials. This would boost their confidence and also motivate other to build with you. Also keep a good resource of stickers/goodies with you, which you can ship to them; this is important because developers love to flex the stacks they’ve worked on, and would always like to get some “Free Goodies”.

  • Support: Create a very safe environment for developer joining the community. Help them with support tickets, try to be as quick as possible with answers. Take their feedback on product and make them understand your vision. This makes them seek more support from the community and engage in ways you wouldn’t have imagined.

Looping DB Example

  • Looping DB started with greeting messages with showing users different support channels available in the community. They had JS, Python and GoLang support channel differentiated for conversations aligning to those topics. This helped developers go to correct channels.

  • Looping DB started with fun activities in their community, like discussion elements for recent events in tech. Raffle for community members who’re contributing or making something with their product.

Step 4: Make sure you keep ’em coming and avoid dead channels.

  • The easiest ways to loose your audience is by keeping your channels dead. If you folks even miss a few days with inactivity in your starting phase and you would be loosing interaction with your developers rapidly. To avoid this mistake, keep your communities active with new updates, announcements, creative engagement, quizzes and games.

Step 5: Make it developer first!

  • Scaling from 1-100 might less difficult then scaling from 100-1000+ because you no longer have to just onboard people new people you also have to maintain the developers already there.
  • The best way to make sure this happens is, you make the motive of your community developer first and product second. Get more resources available to the community.
    • Organize interactive Hackathon/Challenges
    • Let community members take the initiatives to manage new activities, give them a stage to make their own following in the community.
    • Get famous/influential people joined in your community as mentors or on on your deck. This would make developers want to stay in touch with your community to access resources which are impactful for their career.
    • Get a careers page where companies can recruit talented developers from your community
    • Last but not least, TRUST in your Developer Community! People who get a lot of knowledge out of your community are going to give back in a lot of ways!

Let me know in comment section about your thoughts on this blog!

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