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How to Identify Your Developer Superfans
Apr 9th, 2021

How to Identify Your Developer Superfans

We recently shared a post titled "What are Developer Superfans?" where we walked through what superfans are and why they're so important to your business.

Identifying your developer superfans is no easy task. Unless you're incredibly tied into your community and your users, you may not be able to easily identify your developer super fans. And without the right tools and access to the right data, it can be virtually impossible to find them all.

We've used a few different tools and data capture techniques in the past—our clients all come in with data in different tools and places. Of all the techniques we've tried, the best one we've found so far is Common Room, the intelligent community growth platform.

Use Common Room to identify your superfans

Setup Common Room

Once you sign up for Common Room, it has a great product walkthrough that gets you acquainted with the platform. This includes integrating your community channels like Twitter, GitHub, Slack or Discourse. You can also use Zapier to connect other tools.

Exploring the data

Once your data is ready in Common Room, navigate to your Members page where you can see all the people in your community. These are all the individuals who have interacted with your company through any of your connected sources.

The table and filters on this page allow you to quickly find any flavor of member that you're looking for. Influencers in EMEA? No problem. Content contributors who code in Java? Done. Most active MeetUp members? Two clicks and you're there.

Check out Common Room's user docs for building a champions program for a step-by-step guide.

Use your instincts and lots of digging to identify your superfans

If you're not ready for a tool, you can still find your developer superfans through anecdotal experiences and manual research.

This method is less than ideal, because you are not actually tracking their engagement down to each activity to know if your user is truly a superfan of your brand.

Things you can do to identify your super fans

  • Begin searching the internet for your brand and product name
  • Search Twitter for tagged mentions
  • Search Twitter for untagged mentions
  • Spend time in your developer community spaces — who shines bright?
  • If you have a developer community, look through your top contributors and replies
  • Leverage pre-existing company data like CRMs or sales tools
  • If you're on Product Hunt, see who has upvoted or engaged with your product there
  • Search on and find folks who are blogging about you

A tool like Common Room will do most of this for you. They offer an essentials plan that's free, so we'd really recommend trying it out to see the value it can bring to your program.

Get to know your superfans

After you have identified possible superfans, it's time to do the research and figure out which fans you may want to work with.

Every developer that is speaking positively about your product should be brought into your program's inner circle. There's usually a time and place to best use or engage with each of your superfans. You need to get to know them so you can motivate and reward them accordingly.

Things to consider when deciding to work with your super fans

  • Professional representation. Do their professional values and ideologies match that of your product and brand?
  • Personal representation. Same goes for personal. Do they set an example that you would be proud of as a publicly known advocate?
  • Social following. Bonus points if they have a strong social following, but not a deal breaker for working with them. You can help them build it up through advocacy campaigns.
  • Developer-focused community contributions. Do they follow the code of conduct in communities like GitHub,, and your own? Are they kind? These superfans may be representing your company in some cases, you should ensure they will be a positive addition, not the opposite.

Engaging your superfans for the first time

Use the Building Trust Model for tips on how to establish your first engagement with your superfan.

You should always have a conversation or two with anyone you're planning to engage with on an advocacy level. You're trusting these folks to represent your company, so you should make sure you're on the same page and it's a fit for both parties.

Ready to activate your developer superfans?

If you're ready to give customer developer advocacy a try, this post will help you with a few ideas: What To Do With Early Developer Superfans.

This article was originally posted on Devocate, which joined the Common Room family in August 2022. For more developer relations insights and resources, check out the Common Room blog. Learn more about Common Room’s solution for DevRel teams if you're looking for an intelligent community growth platform to educate, empower, and enable your community.

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