Developers are incredibly opinionated creatures. When they find the products they love, they begin to build that product into their workflow and processes. They find ways to leverage each and every feature to work as efficiently as possible.
Developer superfans are users of your product who write code or leverage your product technically. They are technical customers who have a strong admiration for your product and likely use it every day.
Developer superfans are the most important user base when it comes to your developer audience. Developers do not trust many people, but they do trust their own. I'm sure you get where we're going here—developers will listen to other developers.
Therefore, your developer superfans, the ones who have ingrained themselves in your product, are incredibly impactful to your business. Here are a few reasons why.
Developers are problem-solvers. As they're working through adopting your product and ingraining themselves in it, they've likely had many thoughts throughout the process—both good and bad.
When they become your developer superfans, they won't be able to stay quiet. Collect feedback early and often. Offer feedback opportunities in your documentation, onboarding process, user dashboard, etc. You want to ensure they see this frequently to remind them that you want to hear their thoughts.
On the flip side, you can also turn developers into superfans by capturing their feedback, taking action, and closing the loop with them. This will build trust with them as they see that their feedback is valuable to your company.
As we mentioned earlier, developers trust other developers. If your product has a crew of developer superfans, these developers are likely out in the wider developer ecosystem recommending your product to their developer colleagues. This is the most authentic way to increase your developer audience.
You may see this as an opportunity to start an affiliate program or some other way to allow developers to refer new customers. However, I will warn you, this is rarely something developers care about doing unless they're freelancers who want the affiliate bounty. Find other ways to track this behavior without being as obvious about your request—at least early on.
There is an opportunity here to frame the way your developer superfans talk about your product, we'll get to that in future blogs. If you can control the narrative, this impact can be even greater.
Your developer superfans embed themselves in your product. They learn how to push the limits of each and every feature and how to make it backward compatible with something that you don't even support. Their knowledge of your product is expansive and needs to be shared.
These fans end up being your biggest assets and resources in your developer community. And when I say developer community, I am not just referring to your community forum. I am referring to any place that your developer customers may spend their time that focuses on your product. Other examples of this is your company's profiles on Twitter, GitHub, Dev.to, etc. There are a variety of other places where your organization could have a presence.
Find ways to build their engagement in your communities. Tag them into posts you think they have the answers for, and showcase their work and contributions. Over time, depending on their motivation and how you reward them, they will begin to contribute more and more.
The opportunities to leverage your developer superfans are truly endless—the only thing in your way is your imagination. We believe that developer customer advocacy is the way forward for building strong developer audiences.
If we can provide just one tip, it's this: ensure that your developer superfans feel valued and appreciated from their contributions. They should gain more from your relationship than you do.
For example, the feedback they provide you might be worth thousands of dollars because they drastically improved your product causing more developers to adopt it. Your developer superfan should feel this and know the positive impact they made. Dive into who they are, figure out their motivation, and reward them accordingly.
Ready to identify who your developer super fans are? Check out the next blog post in this series: How to Identify Your 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.