Sentiment as it regards to marketing and PR usually refers to social sentiment, which is the emotion associated with your brand when it is mentioned on social media. It can also be a measure of the tone of articles mentioning your brand or competitors. Either way, it is a measure of your brand creating positive or negative associations.
What Is Developer Sentiment?
Developer sentiment refers specifically to the emotion and tone that developers use when mentioning your brand. If your business depends on developer adoption or influence, developer sentiment is important to understand and to influence. But how?
Channels to Monitor
It can be very difficult to determine from a person’s personal social handle if they are a developer or not, so using the common sentiment tools offered by platforms may not cut it. Monitoring channels specific to developers can make that determination much easier. For this, monitor forums that focus on developers. These include:
- Developer Influencers. These are well-known developers that cross many types of media and have an audience. Developers like Jeff Fritz not only attract audiences to their blog, where developers might comment or otherwise interact, but also on live forums like Twitch. Scott Hanselman is well known for his blog, and also attracts a wide variety of developers to his podcast, Hanselminutes. Comments here or on the corresponding social media feeds are most likely from a developer audience.
- Developer-to-Developer Communities. Look for enterprise developers on sites like CodeProject, JournalDev, or Simple Programmer where the comments, boards, or forums can include discussions by developers about products, problems, and solutions.
- Developer Media Sites. Think Reddit developer-run subreddits or Hacker News.
Get technical. To create a positive developer sentiment about your brand, your brand needs to be associated with valuable technical experiences. This includes content like public documentation, case studies, how-to’s, and tutorials — not just product pitches. The most valuable content comes from practitioners outside your company. Not only do the practitioners lend automatic authenticity, but they also bring an outsider’s perspective. These outsiders are much more like your customers, and they are more likely to experience technical problems and solutions like your customer. This brings with it an original voice that, provided it is technically sound, is more likely to bring with it a positive sentiment.
For the Road
Segmenting sentiment down to your developer audience makes your overall sentiment KPI much more valuable. It allows you to better understand where your developer experience strategy is succeeding or failing. Don’t settle for a generic measurement of sentiment and miss an influential audience. Drill down and determine where your developers’ hearts lie.