Posted 07.09.2022 by Tomori Uriel

What Developers Think of Social Media Marketing in 2022

Here's what developers think of social media marketing in 2022. 🚀

Understanding consumer behavior is crucial to the success of any social media campaign. And business-to-developer (B2D) marketing is no different.

Why is it so important? 

  • Developers are dynamic, and their roles are hybrid in nature, so their perceptions of social media marketing differ based on their needs.
  • Developers are always looking for solutions—they’re looking to create a solution or find one that scales their workflow, which means how they use social media to find needed solutions will vary.
  • Developers love to connect with other devs—so much so that it’s led to the creation of a new role in the tech space—Developer Relations (DevRel). 
  • Because every developer is different, their preferred social media platforms to connect with like-minded devs may also be different.  

Understanding developers can be tricky.

Developers are people too. But they’re not interested in conventional marketing techniques like ads. Some openly embrace the use of ad blockers. 

They’re also skeptical about the products marketed to them. 

Our survey report includes responses from 35 professional developers from North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa on their social media usage, preferred platforms, and the type of content/pages they love. In it, you’ll learn the most effective platforms to reach your audience, what developers expect from you, and how to market to them in ways that get their attention.

Let’s take a look at what they have to say.

Developers’ Social Media Behavior

We received responses from a variety of developers in various roles. For context, these roles include:

  • Software Engineer (37.1%)
  • Web Developer (17.1%)
  • XR Developer (11.4%)
  • Data Scientist (8.6%)
  • CTO (2.9%)
  • Cybersecurity (2.9%)
  • IT/Network (2.9%)
  • … And others, such as UI/UX Designer, Engineering Manager, Bootcamp Student, Solution Architect, Product Manager, and Android Developer.

Developers’ roles evolve constantly, and they’re becoming hybrid in nature. This constant change means developers’ needs are always changing too, so agility is key.

But knowing this is only the first step in understanding how to create a successful B2D social media strategy. 

How Much Time Do Developers Spend on Social Media?

Our survey found that the majority (28.6%) of developers spent between 1 to 2 hours daily on social media. Developers have a reputation for being busy, but our study still found that (20%) of devs (developers) spend up to 7 hours a day on social media.

  • 1 to 2 hours (28.6%) 
  • 0 to 1 hours (25.7%) 
  • 2 to 4 hours (20%) 
  • 5 to 7 hours (20%) 
  • 8 hours and above (5.7%)

 Interesting, right?

Knowing what platforms your audience is more interested in does wonders for your social media marketing strategy.

The top 3 preferred social media platforms for developers in 2022 are StackOverflow (65.7%), LinkedIn (51.4%), and Twitter (45.7%).

Here’s the full list:

  • Stack Overflow (65.7%)
  • LinkedIn (51.4%)
  • Twitter (45.7%)
  • YouTube (42.9%) 
  • Discord (28.6%)
  • Instagram (20%)
  • Reddit (14.3%)
  • Facebook (11.4%)
  • TikTok (2.9%)

They use these platforms to find solutions, discuss problems, and connect with other developers. YouTube’s inclusion indicates devs appreciate video content.

What Do Developers Use Social Media For?

Our survey shows that the top 3 use cases for social media by developers were:

  • To research or discover new solutions (65.7%)
  • To learn new skills and improve their skills (62.9%).
  • To connect with other developers (57.1%).

These three social media uses reinforce why it’s important to understand your developer-centric audience.

According to our survey, other reasons developers use social media and publication websites include:

  • Following trends and product updates (54.3%).
  • Building an audience/marketing themselves (34.3%).
  • Entertainment (22.9%).

Developers’ Perception of Social Media

Although spending less time on social media could indicate a lack of interest, it could also indicate other things. 

In fact, one developer in our survey said:

“I’ve been thinking a lot about attention and the amount of uninterrupted attention that my most valuable coding sessions require. I find that social media frequently get[s] in the way of this. I may be a bit of an outlier but I’ve deleted every general purpose social app off my phone with the exception of LinkedIn (and deleted a few accounts) and lean more on niche communities (Slack, Discord, etc.) that do less to pull my attention away from what I’m doing and serve more as a forum for discussion.”

We asked developers to rank their concerns about social media. Their top 3 concerns were:

  • Security 
  • Privacy 
  • Distracting/unproductive

When asked how they feel about ads/marketing on social media:

One respondent said:

“I hate the amount of tracking and targeted advertising. I honestly don’t mind seeing ads, but I don’t want it to be based on information about me that I never wanted shared.”

Another respondent said: I feel neutral about the *ads* on social media. They’re a necessary evil, and occasionally I get served a relevant one. Instagram is really the only one I respond to though.”

However:

  • 42.9% feel neutral about ads on social media.
  • 17.1% have somewhat negative feelings towards ads on social media.
  • 14.3% say they feel positive about ads.
  • 11.4% of developers in our survey have negative feelings towards social media ads.

What Developers Want from Brands

We also asked what devs want brands to do better. We discovered that when you communicate in a way that speaks to developers is crucial. If you rely solely on traditional marketing methods, developers are more likely to view your enthusiasm as social media spam. 

One software developer  in our survey said:

“It would be wise for brands to consider reducing “10-things every developer should know” threads and post things that are actually useful like interview[s], coding tips, etc.”

Developers also want useful and entertaining content, or a combination of both. In fact, another respondent from our survey suggests that brands prioritize community over commerce. He said: “Community over commerce. Help first; ask later. I expect sincerity and truth telling.”

Another developer adds: Brands should provide content that helps developers learn how to be better developers, showcase products and partner with other brands that complement them and support non-profit organizations that developers rely on.”  

Another developer said:

“Make things personal to your brand rather than [creating] generic posts. It’s the same with getting to know someone at a party—you don’t actually care about the weather usually, and it’s more interesting to hear about their own traits or hobbies.”

Devs also want brands to occasionally make their social activities more fun and less developer-centric. 

They also want:

  • Depth. Developers want a focus on deep technical subjects.
  • Authenticity. Simply echoing the tone of the moment in exchange for views is not authentic.
  • Shared experiences. Devs want to talk about the wins and challenges they’ve faced in their careers.  These stories motivate a lot of newbie and up-and-coming devs.
  • Technical focus. They want social media to focus strictly on development.

Social Media Marketing Recommendations for B2D Brands

From the survey, it is clear that devs prioritize two things when using social media:

  1. Developer Communities: They want connection with other devs to discuss and learn new things.
  2. Quality Content: They want relevant and helpful content that helps them find solutions and scale their workflow. (But devs also appreciate whimsical content where appropriate.)

For marketers, this means leveraging existing communities, or building a B2D brand community and creating quality content, are crucial to your social media marketing strategy.

Other strategies that B2D brands should adopt based on this survey include:

  • Multichannel Approach – StackOverflow, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Discord are developer favorites.
  • Using Influencers – An overwhelming 77.2% of developers follow influencers. This makes them crucial to your social media marketing.

These strategies are vital to any social media marketing aimed at the developer audience. 

Clearly, developers are not the biggest fans of conventional marketing—and they will prioritize brands that want to help them over brands that just want to sell to them. 

It is important to position your marketing in a way that establishes your brand as one that’s offering help and useful information rather than focusing solely on profits.

For even greater effectiveness, consider leveraging the power of influencers and connecting with your audience via multiple channels (a  favorite of developers) is highly effective.

FAQs

How Do You Create the Perfect Marketing Strategy for Developers?

There is no single hack for the perfect marketing strategy that appeals to developers, but there are ideas and strategies to help you. It all starts with a goal — Do you want to increase awareness, generate community engagement, and increase sales/lead generation? Know your specific developer audience and understand their challenges. Use pain points to market how your product solves their problem. Be genuine when you make your claims. Be a helpful contributor to a community of developers and build solid relationships. Sponsor developer events. And finally, remember to measure and evaluate success.

How Should You Optimize Your Social Media Presence on the Major Platforms?

You don’t have to be a longtime social media used to have a considerable presence. But be sure you create valuable and relevant content and be consistent. Consider offering free resources that help improve your developers’ lives. Follow leaders in your niche, engage with their posts, and answer questions under their posts if you’re sure of the answers. Don’t forget to use hashtags to connect with your niche or preferred community. Remember to post visual content, like videos, images, and infographics. Engage your followers in the comment section. Reply to everyone. And promote your social media accounts.

How  Can I Create Effective Social Media Content?

In a study by Sprout Social, 57% of consumers follow a brand to learn about new products, while 45% of consumers will unfollow a brand for sharing irrelevant content. So your post should have one purpose, and one “job to do” for your audience. 

Pro tip: Choose one goal and emotion per post, and organize the content series by communication pillars OR problems. Learn from what’s working in the space. Tap into emotion. Copy what the platforms are doing in B2B social media content structure. Keep in mind that quality content is emotional, useful, relevant, and timely. 

read this next

Get the 6-Step 2022 Social Media Strategy Framework + Examples

To close out this report, we’d like to offer helpful lists of some of the top influencers, podcasts, YouTube channels and websites that developers love:

Top Social Media Influencers for Developers

  • Smashing Magazine
  • Addy Osmani
  • Paul Irish
  • John Resig
  • Chris Coyier
  • I Am Devloper
  • Jeff Atwood
  • Wes Bos
  • DHH
  • Martin Fowler
  • Sarah Drasner
  • Luke Wroblewski
  • Scott Hanselman
  • A List Apart
  • freecodecamp.org/

Top Podcasts for Developers 

  • Syntax – Tasty Web Development Treats
  • Rework 
  • Hanselminutes with Scott Hanselman
  • CodePen Radio 
  • Google Cloud Platform Podcast
  • .NET Rocks! 
  • JavaScript Jabber 
  • The Laracasts Snippet The Laracasts Snippet
  • Azure Friday 
  • CodeNewbie 
  • Inside Intercom Podcast
  • Front End Happy Hour

Top YouTube Channels for Developers

  • freecodecamp.org
  • Unity 
  • Codecademy 
  • Marques Brownlee
  • Code.org
  • Mozilla Hacks
  • Sketch
  • Google Cloud Tech 
  • Chris Coyier

Top Websites for Developers

  • Gist.Github.com
  • Smashingmagazine.com
  • Hackernoon.com
  • Sitepoint.com
  • Developers.Google.com
  • Devblogs.Microsoft.com
  • Developer.Apple.com
  • Dribbble.com
  • Discord.com
  • Creativebloq.com
  • Blog.Jetbrains.com
  • Npmjs.com
  • Webdesignerdepot.com
  • 9to5mac.com
  • Channel9.Msdn.com

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Tomori Uriel

Tomori Uriel is a sustainability advocate, divergent thinker and Growth & Marketing Manager at Sculpt. He believes a good idea doesn't care who has it.

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