Every product needs a community, especially if you are a dev tool.
Grandeur has community in its DNA. Starting from a university dorm, getting its first-ever customers and investors from participating in the tech community, to building in public, we at Grandeur realize how crucial the network and community is for any ideology. Therefore, through this live, we want to share our contributions and give back.
We want to educate and inspire the developer community and offer them a safe space to learn and grow. Because that’s how we started. Developers inspired us and now we want to do the same. We are doing that by educating developers. It was never about simply working with our own tools but largely about helping the community along the way.
We started by hacking our way into Hackster. With our detailed onboarding guides and project tutorials, our Hackster community has been ever growing.
📈 The total view count has topped 41k.
🤖 Projects like Power Meter with ESP8266 have been a hit in the tech community.
Grandeur is designed from the ground up to optimize the developer experience in IoT dev. Despite our initial efforts, we still felt like there was a gap when it comes to dealing with the IoT community. There is a lot of content about nearly every topic in IoT but there is not enough information about:
1️⃣ Starting an IoT Startup
2️⃣ Scaling, building, and manufacturing in the IoT ecosystem
3️⃣ Solving challenges in production
This is how our blog (which is technically not a blog) was born. It is essentially a journal, an editorial, a diary. Everything except for a conventional blog.
The thought process behind it is crystal clear. It is not for marketing. It is where we talk about real challenges and provide real solutions and just generally pen down our experiences as we write the story of Grandeur together.
So far we've published 8 articles where our content has been about everything we wanted to talk about–where the IoT ecosystem stands, what it is doing, where it can go, and all the possibilities that we can create with it. With our blog, we are inspiring conversations and receiving critical feedback.
It is just a start and we will be writing more about:
1️⃣ Technology-focused articles.
2️⃣ How we do things at Grandeur.
3️⃣ Interview with thought leaders.
Building a community isn't just about marketing. It's very much a by-product of providing real value. So the most important thing that is at the core of building a community is providing raw value.
The power users of your product are people who have a burning need of what your product solves. So the key is to find a place where these people live. In our case, it was a hardware project sharing platform like Hackster.
The only direct path of you to your audience is followers. And to get people to follow you, you need to talk to them through commenting, sharing or adding to their content, praising them or just approaching them directly.
The formula for building a high quality community is 90% real value and 10% monetization.
Don't write content for the sake of gaining followers. Provide actual raw value. Here are some ways we did that:
1️⃣ Our thoughts about certain topics
2️⃣ How we've solved a particular problem
3️⃣ Add to someone else's content
4️⃣ On-topic stories from life
5️⃣ How our product integrates with others
It's great that you talk about what you are building. But it's so much better when people that matter, that have huge influence, talk about you and your product. There are many ways you can get them to talk about you like:
1️⃣ Engage with their content, show them how you and them are on the same page, or not.
2️⃣ Tell them about your product and explain how it goes along with their beliefs.
3️⃣ Try to create value for them as well, make it a win-win.
4️⃣ Ask them for a bump.
Your product can have one or two main channels that perfectly align with its vision. But it can have three or four other channels where you can talk about niche problems that your product solves decently well. You can also cross your product with other good products.
In our case, Grandeur is for IoT dev, so our main channel on reddit was r/IoT. But we created content about how ESP8266 can connect to internet via Grandeur, and because we were using Arduino to program it, that content is eligible for r/esp8266 and r/Arduino.
You have two options. Either you write content and find channels it can be shared on: Content bombarding, or you can find a channel that has the audience you want to target and write content that fits the ethics of that channel. The second yields a higher quality community.
What goes in is what comes out. Read tons of content about your market, the problems, and the solutions that are already available. Also explore content about similar niches where you can possibly expand your community. Grandeur is for IoT dev, but we know it goes fairly well with embedded, cloud computing, and AI, so our product has a huge total accessible market.
This can be the hardest to achieve if you are new to this, but consistency is the key to results. Engaging with your community once a blue moon is the same as not doing it at all. Put your face, your product, your brand out there, everyday for best results. We create an article every week, but we tweet or post something on LinkedIn every two days.
Nothing is as attractive as originality. Share your work, your thoughts, your content, and make it stand out. Otherwise you are just a high copy of someone or a couple of someones and they'd rather follow the real one than you. If you copy someone's content to make a point, credit them.
Additionally, don't be a robot. You are human and your audience is human. Share content that's funny, share your experiences, talk about how you messed up.
See what works and double down that. Ditch what doesn't.
Every product needs a community, especially if you are a dev tool. The success of your product depends on how strong your community is. Community is important to get feedback, share progress, know what to build and where to grow next, create social proof, give the people a platform to engage themselves, and even to potentially get investors. Don’t just do it for marketing, do it for connection.
That’s all for now. We are hosting our makers community on discord where we talk about tech, IoT, development, and building products in particular. Join us and we’ll see you there.