The community is a matter of trust, but the channel also possesses a value. Ask your SMEs to meet the natural interests of your community by contributing content in the right channel. That’s the only way to build the trust with your audience.
“Earlier, there was a conversation that you need to think more about marketing, which is true, but I also think that, in a different way, I think you need to be smarter about community organizing, to be smarter about understanding the natural interests of your community.” Richard Gingras, Google’s news chief
Why you are going to build your community
MoneyWhat is the reason to build the community for high tech project? Even year ago the idea of attracting private investors to the project was the main driver of the community building. Now the situation has changed drastically and startups again are looking for institutional investments, so they need to attract VCs, business angels, funds etc. A lot of startups decided “to seem” popular to increase the chances to raise funds. On a short-term horizon, this tactic could work for you. So if your only target is to impress possible investors that is the way you can choose.
Technical contributionAnother reason to build the community is relevant for ambitious infrastructure projects, especially if they are based on open source principles. You can find the answer to the question “How Open Source Became The Default Business Model For Software” by reading the article of Forbes Technology Council Sid Sijbrandij. For this particular blog post, we are taking by default, that the open source is now the mainstream for software development. So you need to coordinate the community of contributors. But first, you need to attract them to the project by creating and explaining your mission, the business value and use cases of your product.
Clients’ support and advocacy of the productIf you already are a market player you definitely need to communicate with your clients and leads. And that’s the most common reason to launch the community project. There are a lot of manuals and “how to” guides for community marketers working with customers. That’s why there is no point in wasting each other’s time. Also, it’s clear enough how to buy some bots for your Telegram channel. Let’s talk about how to build and manage an organic community of technical contributors.
Thought leadership as a part of the community buildingIn our previous blog post, we already explained that your technicians are great guys who can become your brand ambassadors. Frankly speaking, they are the only people who can attract third-party engineers to contribute to your project. Managers could be impressed by your use cases and issue a directive to participate in the development of your project. But if your own technicians are not real opinion leaders you can easily lose grip on your project. Such a tactic of usurpation of the projects is highly popular in an open source community. The current situation in media shows clearly the role of traditional media and media professionals and the role is to serve the audience as the filter for the informational flow to protect the audience from the informational pressure and overload. That’s the challenge for real opinion leaders, not only for journalists. The collecting and processing of the information could be (and will be) fully automated. But the combination and interpretation of data will be delegated to experts who enjoy people’s confidence. There are a lot of experts who have no relation to journalism. But they own the attention of dozens of thousands of people. Let’s take as an example very niche Russian channel in Telegram Internet Analytics with more than 31 thousand (!) subscribers. It is hosted by Aleksey Nikushin, the head of marketing analytics in Rambler&Co. That’s why it is important to attract SMEs (subject matter experts) in your company to contribute some content. Want to know more about the way of doing it? Click here to get our white paper.
The sync of dev processAfter you build the strong thought leadership inside the community of tech contributors and your ownership of the project is intact, you will face another challenge. A lot of ideas are transforming into the initiatives, and people start working on a number of parallel solutions. This can hinder the development of the project as a whole. So you need to coordinate contributors’ activity. There are a lot of tools, like GitHub, that are usually out of the marketers’ attention. This is an absolutely inappropriate approach for marketers in an IT company. Traditional marketing channels like social media could possibly be useless for this particular need. Let’s think about this situation in relation to blockchain technology. As you probably know, Facebook lifts a ban from ICO-related ads (TechCrunch, CoinTelegraph, and others). But only for companies, validated by Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg said “the company would start ranking publishers by their perceived “trustworthiness.” The same idea is about both sources of the political news and ICO-related content. For sure any mention of the blockchain is promoting the technology in general and is usually related to (or even inspired by) some particular projects. Ownership of the high-quality mark by high tech vendors, like Facebook, is the sign of super centralization of media power in IT majors’ holdfast. David Skok in his interview with Google’s news chief Richard Gingras for NiemanLab stated, that some of VCs in the Bay Area are concerned about their ideas created for open web and that are using for closing the web at the moment. “And that’s why they say they’re investing in things like blockchain technologies, to move away from that.” That’s probably why the community building process has moved from social media to messengers, especially to Telegram, the project that is actively involved in the blockchain community. But if your audience is more familiar with Facebook you need to respect their choice and follow them on Facebook. There are some other tools to be mentioned here. First of all, that’s Slack — popular messenger with a lot of useful options, like advanced search inside documents sent to user groups etc. Another interesting communication platform is Discord positioned as anti-Slack, anti-TeamSpeak and anti-Skype solution.
ConclusionSo “to be smarter about understanding the natural interests of your community” is the key message for any real inbound marketer. And for any startup founder, I should say. And even for media publisher. But for the community of the technical contributors, the understanding of their needs is not enough. They could be forced to join the community by managers, but they will never do a good job in this kind of mode.
- First, build the trust with your community by creating and sharing content they need or they could possibly be interested in. Build your thought leadership and prove your expertise.
- Then, share your idea to attract people to contribute. That will be much easier if they already used to trust you.
- Manage their activity to avoid delays and doubling in your project’s development.
Sources mentioned in the text
- The article by David Skok for NiemanLab: Google’s news chief Richard Gingras: “We need to rethink journalism at every dimension” (EN)
- The article by Forbes Technology Council Sid Sijbrandij: How Open Source Became The Default Business Model For Software (EN)
- The Telegram channel Internet Analytics hosted by Aleksey Nikushin, the head of marketing analytics in Rambler&Co (RU)
- The article by Ben Sisario for the NYT: Facebook’s New Political Algorithms Increase Tension With Publishers (EN)
- The article by Marie Huillet for the COINTELEGRAPH: Facebook Reverses Ban on Cryptocurrency Ads, Maintains Ban on ICOs (EN)
- The article by Sarah Perez for the TechCrunch: Facebook reverses its crypto ad ban (EN)