Sara Waszyńska
9 min read
January 11, 2023

5 strategies for Engaging Developer Ambassadors

And Building a Strong Community

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Developers play a crucial role in the success of any technology company, and engaging with them can lead to valuable contributions and a strong developer community. In this article, I will explore five strategies for effectively engaging dev ambassadors and building a thriving communities.

These strategies include leveraging social media, organizing events, offering incentives, providing support, and fostering collaboration. By implementing these strategies, you can foster a great relationship with your developer community and drive long-term success of your dev product.

Why developer community plays an incredibly important part in your product growth?

A strong dev community is essential for the growth of any technology product. The relationship between your company and your users, developers, goes beyond a typical client relationship. Devs are not just users of a product, but also builders who use it to create new and innovative solutions.

In order to inspire, educate, and motivate these builders, it is important for you to nurture these relationship through the dev communities. By providing support, offering incentives, and fostering collaboration, you can create an environment where developers are excited to share their knowledge and experiences.

This not only helps to build a strong community, but also drives the growth of the product through the valuable contributions of its users.

Who is a Developer Ambassador?

When building the developer community, you'll notice some more active and more engaged people - these are your Developer Ambassadors. These individuals are often the most passionate and dedicated members of the community, and they play a crucial role in promoting your product through educational content, like technical blog posts or talks at conferences.

They are often seen as thought leaders and experts within the community, and their advocacy and support can play a major role in driving the success of the product.

What is a Developer Ambassador program?

Tech companies often decide to create Developer Ambassador program to have an exclusive space for most engage developers from their developer communities.

How to keep developer community members engaged?

Maintaining a strong and active developer communities requires a consistent effort to engage and retain developers. However, this can be challenging, as these individuals are often busy with their own projects and may not have a lot of time to devote to the community. In order to keep them engaged and the community active, there are several tactics you can use. Read them below:

Tactic 1: Guide to contributions and show examples

One effective way to keep dev ambassadors engaged is to provide a clear path for them to contribute to the community. By highlighting and sharing examples of successful contributions, you can show them what is possible and inspire them to create own valuable contributions.

For example, if one of the dev ambassadors recently wrote a great technical blog article about getting started with your API, you could share this article on your community or brand ambassador program channels and provide tips from the author about how they created it.

This not only showcases the value of the ambassador's contribution, but also provides valuable insights and inspiration for other members. Take a look how Google Developer Experts program share their member's achievements on social media:

Example post from GDE on LinkedIn
Example post from GDE on LinkedIn

Another great way to drive a clear path to contribution is showing expected types of these activities. Thing like Contributor Guide or a list of possible activities is really appreciated.

What is expected from members and advocates? Sharing tips on Stack Overflow, creating YouTube videos with guides about your API orany other promotional content? - provide your Ambassadors with answer for these questions.

In Advocu, you can define your own contribution types which are visible for all of the program Members.

Example set of custom contributions in Advocu.
Example set of custom contributions in Advocu.

Ultimately, I really encourage you to show them the value of their contributions even before they start to create one! It just depends on you how the communication looks like. See the difference below:

"We need someone to translate this articles into Spanish, who wants to do it?"

or

"There is a growing Spanish tech community for our API, last week nearly 10 people asked me if we have any tech content in Spanish. Is there anyone who is up to contributing in this language? A special thanks from the company is included! "

Tactic 2: Gamify it!

Gamification can be a powerful tool for engaging brand ambassadors and building a strong community. By gamifying your brand ambassador program, companies can create a fun and engaging environment that drives participation and collaboration within the dev community.

Ideas for gamification in a developer ambassador program:

  • Highlight the most active contributors or top contributions - same as Gitpod:
Post from Gitpod on LinkedIn
Post from Gitpod on LinkedIn
  • Create a scoring system that rewards dev ambassadors for their contributions, such as creating educational or promotional content, participating in events, or providing support to other community members.
  • Offer incentives, such as special recognition, exclusive access, or rewards, for developers who achieve certain milestones or reach certain levels within the program.
  • Implement challenges, hackathon or competitions.
  • Provide rewards and recognition for developers who help to grow the community, such as by referring new members or contributing valuable content.

Tactic 3: Invite industry experts to share the knowledge

Another idea for creating deeper engagement within a program is to invite industry or technology experts to share their knowledge with the community.

These experts do not need to be conference stars or big names - often, the most valuable insights come from the people who are actually working on the product or technology. For example, you could host a regular "ask me anything" session where dev ambassadors can ask questions about the product to a dev advocate or other expert from your company.

Another idea to engage dev communities is to invite your developer advocate to share your roadmap or beta versions of new features with the community and ask for feedback. Host a regular sessions like that and start building trust with the ambassadors - they're always exited to be the first ones to know about new features!

By providing access to these experts and inviting their input, you can create a more engaging and interactive environment for the community.

Tactic 4: Create developer community mentoring event

Another effective way to keep a dev community engage is to create a mentorship program within the community. By leveraging the expertise and experience of its members, you can provide valuable support and guidance to newer members who are just starting out. A great example of this is the Road to GDE created by Google.

Screenshot from article about Road to GDE program.
Screenshot from article about Road to GDE program.

In their program, active Google Experts serve as mentors for other members of the community who are interested in becoming a Google Developer Expert.

This not only helps to foster collaboration, relationship building and support within the community, but also provides valuable learning opportunities for newer members. By offering a mentorship program, you can create an engaging and supportive environment that encourages active participation and creates long term commitment.

Tactic 5: Spread the gratitude

Showing gratitude is an important part of creating a successful developer ambassador program. By expressing appreciation for the work and contributions of ambassadors, you can provide them with the support and recognition they need to feel valued and included in the larger developer community ecosystem.

This can help to motivate developers to make contributions and become advocates for the product, ultimately driving the success of DevRel efforts.

There are many ways that you can show gratitude to developer ambassadors, such as through public recognition, exclusive access or perks. Sky is the limit here and the more creative you get, the better. But remember that ultimately, the ambassador should be in the spotlight. Take a look at some of the examples:

Google Developer Student Clubs organized an in-person summit for their engaged chapter leads:

Post from one of GDSC Ambassador LinkedIn.
Post from one of GDSC Ambassador LinkedIn.

Showcase their work on your brand social media:

GDE showcasing their Expert's work on their blog and LinkedIn profile.
GDE showcasing their Expert's work on their blog and LinkedIn profile.

Send a swag delivery like Women Techmakers:

Women Techmakers' swag pack for one of their Ambassadors.
Women Techmakers' swag pack for one of their Ambassadors.

So, how do I keep my dev ambassadors engaged? Now you know!

To set yourself on the path to success, prioritize creating a supportive community, fostering genuine human connections, and aligning your members' efforts with your company's goals.

If you want to learn more about developer advocacy, consider reading our comprehensive guide on the topic for startups and enterprises.

Grow your tech Ambassador program with Advocu

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