General by Leon Hitchens on April 10, 2016
The internet as a whole is noisy, busy, and increasingly hard to get users to comment, like, or more importantly share your article, website, or other content you’ve created. The problem with users is not everyone wants to create a new account to comment or use your service because it’s another account, another email, another annoying app they’ll need. You have to go above and beyond to get eyes, and more importantly users engaging with the services or content you’ve created.
We’re no different here. We’ve struggled with launching a developer-centric service focused around tutorials, questions, and projects. I’m slightly biased, but I think the guys have created the best tools to share and connect with fellow developers and designers. Even while they’ve created the tools, there is a problem of getting enough users signed up. We’ve seen hundreds of users onto the service, and completing the first hurdle. The second difficulty is getting those users active on the service by sharing, creating, and utilizing the service. These users are creating content for free, with the only return of getting questions answered or getting help with a project they’re working on. The return we get is more users who in turn can help us grow and work towards monetizing a community underserved.
Doing all of this isn’t an easy task, and we’ve struggled and tried different tactics over the year. Now we’ve come to find some tactics that work and help get users engaged with our brands and within the service where they’re sharing and created. We’ve used services like Slack and Twitter, giving users exclusive access to our work flows and access to a community of users that are like minded and craving help.
The Hive Out is the name of our community with CodeBee, it was clever and was nominated by the community. Users started calling each other fellow bees, and in turn, help brands our community of developers quickly and in a unique way that made everyone feel a part of the design and development process.
This branding and community engagement all came from the creation of our Slack community for early beta testers. The Hive Out, the Slack name, gives users a real-time chat which makes everyone feel included in the design and development process. We ask for user’s feedback on what features we should add or what tools we’re in the process of building. We’re also using the Slack channel to let users talk amongst each other about future projects, problems they’ve encountered on their projects, and have a general water cooler chat about the late dev news.
The chat with everyone is normal with 4 or 5 select users, plus our team, but the conversation is constructive and can translate to users being more active on our the CodeBee site.
I’ve been brought onto the Ninjality team to boost community engagement, and to increase customers looking at the main Ninjality site. I’ve done a lot of blog posts; that will hopefully help fellow developers or entrepreneurs in understanding how to use Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, React, or getting people to engage on your site and services.
Adding more noise to the internet isn’t going to get eyes or users wanting to conversate back, but adding insightful information to the noise will make it easier to convince someone you’re an expert in the field you’re writing about. Of course writing a blog post where you highlight your knowledge and share it with everyone is one way to do it, but being an industry leader with followers from your industry can also help. If you’re always tweeting about development or design, at least in our case, we can build an audience of followers who are like minded who lend credence towards our assertion that we are experts in developing bands and services around the social web.
Now you can do this with anything from Fashion blogging to IT work, but you have to start following industry leaders and having conversations with them. Use hashtags that relate to your field, and have blog post sharing your expert knowledge with everyone. It’s a lot of work to give insightful information, but after a while, it’s just something you’ll do without a thought.
Everyone uses email every day, for better or worse this is the way it happens. While Slack may kill email for some organizations, the email will likely live on for decades because it’s the easiest way to communicate without having someone online all day and night. All of that being said using email to communicate with users is one of the best ways. We’ve introduced email notifications and an email newsletter to highlight announcements and the top posts from the site. The newsletter currently has an excellent open rate and click through rate.
The newsletter may have been a late decision for us, but it’s been one of the best ones yet. Of course, some people don’t like emails, and they’ve unsubscribed or complained to us. We’ve also looked at using desktop notifications from Safari or Chrome to alert users of new comments, top post, or new features, but implementing this feature is slightly harder than setting up an email newsletter.
There are other ways to get users engaging with your content. There are other ways to get users engaged with you such as giveaways or real life meets up or even doing viral videos that are quirky and unique.
The email newsletters and notifications, with the slack and social presence, has helped create our brand. It also helps keep users on CodeBee engage with us and creating our tutorials, asking questions, or posting links to their projects. We also have a few other features and plans for getting more users engaged but we cannot give away all of our secrets, at least not yet.
If you’re a developer or designer, check out CodeBee for an amazing community focused around seeking help on projects. There is an early beta tester list, but we’re sending out invites on a daily basis, with more users joining the hive every day.