Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are
Developer audiences abound in a wide variety of channels. It’s important to know where to find them, and then think about which channels may appeal more to your generational segments. We went into this in some depth last year, but let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
Where Are Developers?
It’s important to remember that while developers are on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, they also look for content in developer-specific digital environments like D2D communities, developer influencer blogs, and media-specific platforms.
Social Networks. Matthew Pruitt, Head of Global Community and Social Media for Unity, talks about the importance of utilizing social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to capitalize on their strengths in his chapter titled “Developing the Right Mindset to Create Great Content” in Developer Marketing: An Essential Guide, published by Slash Data. Data from the Evans Data 2019 Developer Marketing Survey reveals that >95% of developers belong to one or more LinkedIn Groups.
Pruitt suggests that Facebook is best used for brand awareness because it has a more general audience searching for great content, while Twitter’s strength is primarily in its potential for one-on-one connections. Evans Data’s 2019 Developer Marketing Survey results suggest Twitter is also simply a place where developers go for news and information. Both data and anecdotal evidence support that many developers curate their Twitter feed to follow sources they find trustworthy in the industry and include companies, peers, and developer influencers, and follow them as a way of staying up-to-date technically and professionally.
D2D Communities. These are communities of developers usually organized around a certain tool, application, or platform. Select the D2D communities to monitor based on influence and relevance to your content marketing campaign goals. Examples of popular D2D communities, according to the developers surveyed by Evans Data Corporation, include CodeProject, StackOverflow, CNET, ComputerWorld, and dev.to.
Developer Influencer Blogs. A developer influencer is a regular developer that walks as a celebrity in the developer world. They have a position, an outlet, and an audience. Examples include developer rock stars like Ted Neward, Jeff Fritz, Scott Hanselman, and Alvin Ashcraft.
Ideally, your content is compelling enough to deserve a mention as part of a developer influencer’s blog post or other curated content. It might show up in the comments on these sites. It pays to identify and target the developer influencers your audience listens to, and monitor those comments and content for mentions of your campaign’s content.
Media-Specific Platforms. These are platforms that share content based on the media form of the content. An example for videos is YouTube (which has developer-specific channels many developers go to to view tutorials and how-to’s); Twitch or Discord for live-streaming content for gamers and developers; Medium and Blogger for text-based content (including developer-specific blogs), and Quora for Q&A content. And of course, GitHub for code.
Curation Platforms. Curation platforms don’t require new content, but allow community members to post existing, attributed content to generate or respond to discussions. They can be completely developer-specific, like Hacker News, or have developer-specific forums like Reddit. Media-specific platforms double as curation platforms, as can social media platforms like Twitter. The curated items are community-contributed to promote conversation, often through controversy.
Segmentation by Age
Evans Data Corporation reported in their Developer Marketing Survey 2019 that more than 60% of respondents belong to development-specific groups on social networking sites. Looking at the breakdown by age, this group includes 75% of Gen Z developers, and up to 83% of millennials. For Gen X and Baby Boomers, this figure drops off to a still-significant population of roughly 30%. Clearly, social networking developer-specific groups is an important channel for those trying to reach any segment, but particularly Gen Z and Millennial developers.
Jesse Williams from Red Hat distilled the principles he discussed in his talk at the Evans Data Corporation 2019 Developer Marketing Summit in a recent blog post. In his blog, Williams gives important insight into the process of developing a content strategy for each social media channel. In his talk, Williams also gave some valuable conclusions his team drew when measuring engagement on their channels that comprise Red Hat’s best practices. While specific to Red Hat’s audience, these rules of thumb are supported by more general social media best practices.
Match Frequency to Channel
Williams found that for their audiences, each channel required a different frequency. Similar to other audience types, this breaks down as:
- Twitter – 3 to 4 times/day
- Facebook – 3-4 times/week
- LinkedIn – 2 times/week
- YouTube – 1/week
- Reddit – 1/week
Channel Defines Content Type
Look for which type of content resonates with your audience on each channel. For Williams, they noticed code snippets did best on Facebook, while links to longer-form content with well-crafted descriptions were sufficient for Twitter. LinkedIn should focus on educational or career development content. Reddit, Hacker News, and other curation platforms need content that offers strong opinions to drive engagement.
Adopt the Appropriate Tone
According to Williams (and HubSpot), Facebook posts can be more informal and conversational. Twitter posts should stick to helping the audience understand what is important or valuable about the link you are offering. For LinkedIn, stay professional in your post messaging. With Reddit and similar channels, making the opinion or stance obvious early in your content is important to getting noticed.
Saying It Right
It’s tempting to say it loud, but it’s more important to say it right. Match your content to your audience, and offer it in the channels where they look for developer-specific information to get it noticed. How and where you present your content also affects leading indicators like engagement. Try and test these best practices with your own audience so you can create channel-specific strategies that maximize the effectiveness of your content.