Posted 10.09.2022 by Josh Krakauer
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?
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.
We received responses from a variety of developers in various roles. For context, these roles include:
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.
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.
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 from 2022 wereStackOverflow (65.7%), LinkedIn (51.4%), and Twitter (45.7%).
Here’s the full list:
They use these platforms to find solutions, discuss problems, and connect with other developers. YouTube’s inclusion indicates devs appreciate video content.
Our survey shows that the top 3 use cases for social media by developers were:
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:
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:
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.”
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:
From the survey, it is clear that devs prioritize two things when using social media:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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
Top Podcasts for Developers
Top YouTube Channels for Developers
Top Websites for Developers
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