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What to Do With Early Developer Superfans
Apr 12th, 2021

What to Do With Early Developer Superfans

If you just released a new product, or you're an early stage startup, you may find yourself with a few developer superfans pretty early on. With platforms like Product Hunt, it's a lot easier now to get the attention of developers.

If you weren't seeking these superfans out, you may not know exactly how to best engage with and leverage them, and the task may even seem daunting to approach at first. While other startups would love nothing more than to have an early audience of developers to leverage.

Developer superfans are exactly what you need to scale your business. Don't let these early customers slip through the cracks! Here are tips on what to do with early developer superfans.

To learn more about what developer superfans are and how to identify your developer superfans, check out the first two blogs in this series.

Gather insightful feedback

New developer customers will have feedback on the ease of use, overall functionality, time to onboard, and more. Developers want products that make their lives easier, not products that are overly complicated and cause more struggles in their day-to-day work.

Oftentimes asking for open feedback does not always result in the best response. Consider asking the following questions if you want productive feedback:

  • How long did it take you to sign-up for and start benefiting from the product?
  • How was the sign-up process?
  • Was anything not clear to you throughout your onboarding process?
  • What can we do a better job of documenting?
  • What are your favorite features?
  • What are you least favorite features?
  • If this was your product, what would you do next?

Recruit beta testers

If possible, ask these developer superfans to test product features before you release them. Give them access and detailed instructions for use and see what feedback they provide.

I would recommend giving them a list of features to test and review to ensure they're aware of each new feature.

Obtaining the feedback of your users, before launch, is incredibly valuable and a very important step of a product launch.

Leverage your superfans to grow your audience

They like your product, they probably like your team at this point now too, so why not encourage positive behavior by giving your developer superfans the opportunity to grow your audience further?

Approaching this conversation can be easy when the superfan is already openly excited about helping you. Other developers may praise you from a distance, but not engage as deeply as their peers on your behalf. How you approach establishing this really depends on your product and the developers you're working with.

I strongly recommend you read our piece on how to build developer personas to get a good idea of what your developer superfans might be motivated by, so you can reward them for their work accordingly.

Follow their social accounts, amplify their words (if you agree), and encourage them to share more about your brand (as the opportunity seems right).

Create content on your behalf

The absolute best end result of developer superfans is when they begin contributing to developer advocacy type tasks, like creating blog posts, tutorials or code examples.

Content is key with developers. If you can leverage your developer superfans to write content for you, your product will be thriving in no time, as long as you can market these content pieces well.

Amplify their sentiment

If they share positive feedback about your company, amplify their sentiment! Maybe it's a tweet or social post—retweet, share, screenshot and share. Do whatever you have to do to bring more eyes to this content.

If they share feedback more privately or in niche developer communities, take a screenshot, or quote their words, and create your own social posts or website copy and content. You want to amplify their sentiment so other developers feel like they should try it, as well as make your developer superfan feel like they are a valued extension of your team.

Give them the spotlight

Once you have worked with this developer in any of the situations mentioned above, you will begin to establish trust with this person. Once you are both feeling like you have a pretty solid relationship—ensuring you are giving back as much as they're delivering, it's time to give them additional opportunities to share their praises for your product.

There are a number of ideas here, and depending on the comfort level of the developer. They may be inclined to present publicly either at a conference or webinar style, or prefer to stay more developer-focused and build a project that showcases the awesomeness of your product.

Whatever the situation may be for your developer superfan, give them the spotlight—when they want it—to help grow your audience.

Make sure they're seeing the value

The value this developer superfan is providing to your business is truly priceless. Do your research, read our piece on IMPORTED BAD LINK, and make sure that you are providing them a value.

Your developer superfans should always benefit more from their work than you, so find a way to make this possible. What are they motivated by?

Developers trust other developers. Keep this in mind as you think about how to leverage 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.

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