StackOverflow: Now You See Me

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In the field of coding, software development, and Information Technology, there are very few people unfamiliar with StackOverflow. Initially launched as a question-answer platform for coding and programming enthusiasts, StackOverflow is now heavily used by companies to ensure faster time to market for their products/services and quicker response to customer queries and feedback. Engagement in Stackoverflow can aid a platform business to adopt sustainability with its product, increase content creation, and create returning engagement among its customers - the developers.


A haunting Place? How about exorcising the demon?


However, newbie developers or professionals from fields different from programming or development can easily find the platform less welcoming, inclusive, and diverse. There is almost a  pervasive rule expecting newcomers to do initial researches before even asking a question (content & format), where people might be completely new in the community, topic, programming, and without clues about necessary documentation. Not to mention peers' actions negative upvoting, caustic remarks, deletion of duplicate questions can make the new users intimidated and unwilling to engage further.

But as a business offering a new technology service or platform for 3rd party integration, you can take your own initiatives to make StackOverflow less intimidating and more engaging for your developer customers. The commercial website of any company often provides a separate page for Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs, providing answers to common queries and answers to site visitors and customers. StackOver flow can be a good place, apart from your developer portal (if you have one), to host your own FAQs for new onboarding developers. It could be a place where developer customers can engage themselves with the internal team and makes the best use of your product. In Addition, you can ensure a great Developer eXperience by making the onboarding faster, easier with friendly conversation for newbie developers.

“Proactive engagement is the way many successful companies have started utilizing StackOverflow.”
Jarkko Moilanen
 – COO, Platform of Trust


Lets get it Started!

The initial journey can face some hiccups. Your business is new and most people might still not familiar with the integration solution you are offering. So how do you get started?

You might be already using Slack or other services for internal and customer communication. Usually, companies provide public support channels, catering to both business or technical customers, to provide assist them with their queries or issues. A lot of companies also use Zendesk for the same purpose. Such queries and their answers can be the very first content you can use to start your StackOverflow engagement proactively. If you are responsible to write down technical content for internal or external use, it would be convenient for you to proofread the questions and answers being asked and shared in these channels or support reply emails. Edit and save these contents, without revealing user/customer identity to your internal wiki. You can request your internal development team or QA person to review the contents before they are ready for publishing. Enlist the help of your development / QA team, so they themselves publish the contents in StackOverflow. Remember, this platform is led and maintained by the developer community, so it is important that the interaction reveals the engagement between the developers. In StackOverflow, check "Answer your own question" to publish these contents, which should include: "Summary Question", "Brief description of the issue" and finally "solution to mitigate it". 

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Picture 1: Proactive StackOverflow engagement.

Unfortunately, unless you have 1500 reputations in StackOverflow, you can't create a new tag that is specific to your company. Tags in StackOverflow help to list together related and existing questions and answers, so a tag customized for your own company would help developers find all contents related to your solution in the same place. You can request help from the developer community having enough reputations to create a custom tag for you and in exchange accolade him with praise and a small reward.

Initially, you can have the process of posting the contents twice per week. Depending on the amount of content you can increase the frequency. Don't forget to share your engagement in StackOverflow on social media with tags like #dx #FAQ and your own business taglines. Gradually as you progress with your content and share your interactions in StackOverflow, responses from 3rd party developers will begin as new questions to answer or feedback. Make sure you get back to answer direct questions within 24 hours.

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Figure: Check "Answer your own question" to publish contents in a problem-solution format.


So engaging in StackOverflow might look like a mammoth task. But with a carefully planned strategy, StackOverflow can boost up your integration business with the help of developer advocacy and trust.

Check here to see existing posts from Platform of Trust in StackOverflow.


If you have a technical question about know-hows of Platform of Trust, please post it StackOverFlow!



Nazia.jpg

Hi, I'm Nazia Hasan!

I am working as a Head of Design in Platform of Trust and I focus on Developer Experience and API Designing. Very soon we’ll be migrating to our Developer Portal version 2.0 that would grant customers better experiences in interacting and trying out Platform APIs in Sandbox and access to all resources we provide for a smooth and fast onboarding. Being a person coming from the User Experience field, I’ll talk about measures we take in Platform of Trust to maintain a satisfying developer experience in “human-friendly” blogposts.

Feel free to reach me via, Phone: +358465760561, Email: nazia.hasan@oftrust.net, Twitter: @NazarahTheCat or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/naziahasan/