One of my dream job titles would be “online community builder.” I was recently at a local movie theater that had an internet café with giant screens. Most of what I saw was young kids emailing their friends on MySpace—not talking with them in real life but spending a weekend emailing them. There is almost more community online than offline.
A new whitepaper by social network builder KickApps is called, “9 Steps to a Successful Online Community.” The article talks about building a social community. The company lets you make your own social network where people can add video, photos, blogs, and other features. And you need community organizers or builders.
Tips on building a social network:
- Choose a Niche—a small subset of a larger market. Sometimes people try to cover everything. Notice Facebook started out for college students and MySpace was all about music. Over time their audiences grew, but they reached their core audiences well and that is key.
Ideally, choose a niche you know because then you’ll know how to reach that community. It will help you choose the look, recruit members, and provide good content.
- Encourage Participation. How do you encourage participation in a social network? You need evangelists, people who are passionate about your site. Find them and recognize them; help them build social capital. You’ve also got to keep out the troublemakers who can dominate the discussions or alienate people. You can’t control conversations but there should be guidelines.