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Amruta Ranade
Amruta Ranade

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[Case Study] Converting Users into Developer Advocates

In this video, I discuss how Webflow, DigitalOcean, and Twilio do an excellent job at converting their users into developer advocates for their products:


Hi! Welcome back to my channel! If you follow me on social media, or if you follow this channel, you know that I am currently prototyping a career in Developer Relations. And as part of that experiment, I have been studying the Developer Relations strategies of different companies. And in this video, and in the next couple of videos, I want to share some of my favorite case studies so far.

In today's video, I want to focus on the community aspect of Developer Relations. Developer Relations is nothing but building mutually beneficial relationships with your community members. And I've found three companies that I think do a fantastic job of building mutually beneficial relationships with their users.

The first company that I want to highlight is Webflow. I was introduced to Webflow through one of my favorite YouTubers -- Charli Marie. Webflow is a sponsor for Charli's YouTube channel. Charli's audience on YouTube has a significant overlap with Webflow's target user base. And as far as I can tell from the progression of Webflow-related videos on Charli's channel, Webflow didn't try to find a YouTuber with a big tech audience and then try to sponsor them, but they found someone who was already a user and had a big audience and was passionate about their product and then they offered a mutually beneficial relationship.

If you see the first video that Charli ever made for Webflow - it was about two years ago. It was a first-impressions review. She was doing it this as a pure user. Like, the way I make reviews about DigitalOcean or GitHub -- technologies that I genuinely like as a user. And I think that was Charli's take on Webflow. Like, oh, this is a new technology that I want to try, so let me try it out and give a first-impressions review to my audience. And from there, Webflow kind of recognized her being an important and influential member of their userbase and now they are an official sponsor of her channel. Which works great for her because she doesn't have to roll ads on her channel anymore.

So it's a win-win-win: Her audience wins by not having to sit through ads, she wins by respecting her audiences' time and also being associated with a product that she believes in. I have been following her for long enough to know that she would not recommend a product that she does not think is good enough. So if she recommends it, it should be good enough for me -- at least to try it out. So Webflow has done an excellent job of not only recognizing Charli as a very important and influential member of their community, but they are also leveraging the trust she has with her audience to gain access to their potential userbase.

Moving on to the second company I want to highlight for their community initiatives. And to nobody's surprise, that company is DigitalOcean.

If you have bee following this channel, you know about my love for DigitalOcean. The way DigitalOcean empowers and rewards their community members is through this program called "Write for DOnations". Write for DOnations is a program that supports people who create content for DigitalOcean public knowledgebase.

The most important part of this is that this is a paid program. So if you write a tutorial or an article for DigitalOcean and it gets accepted, then DigitalOcean will not only pays you for the time and effort you put into the article, but they also match it with a donation to a tech-focused charity or non-profit.

I think this is the best signal you can send to your community that you not only value them but you also want to reward them for it. I think it shows a lot of empathy for the customer and for the user -- for people who are willing to spend their time and energy to craft something for your product and to reward them monetarily, and to showcase their creation on your public website. It's the best way to be community-centric.

And the third company I want to highlight for their community initiatives is Twilio.

Twilio has this program Twilio Champions. As far as I can tell from their blog, the Twilio Champions program is open to all forms of content and developer outreach. As a Twilio Champion, you can write blog posts, create streaming content, serve online communities, speak at conferences. And as a Twilio Champion, you get access to special events, special swag, early access to products, and so on. I think this is again an excellent example of involving the community and rewarding them for their engagement.

These three companies have been my favorites for learning how to develop community initiatives as a Developer Relations person. I hope this video was helpful. In the next video, I want to share my favorite case studies of companies that do an excellent job of video content marketing. I will see you in the next video. Bye!

Top comments (2)

sonnk profile image
Nguyen Kim Son

Great analysis! Do you have any study case for β€œsmaller” startups, like the one who just started out and are looking to build their first developer community? I’m currently working on building a developer community for my startup and am looking for advices on this topic :).

amrutaranade profile image
Amruta Ranade

Unfortunately, no, because I don't know any smaller startups that do community building right. But I think the principles and strategies discussed in this video apply to startups of any size -- you might want to try them out andt tweak them as you learn more about your community. And let us know how it goes :)