Thinking of creating a social network? There are a variety of reasons to create a social network and have it become successful. You can create a network to interact with fans if you are an artist, musician or writer, or maybe you have a cause you are passionate about and would like to raise awareness and inspire others to take action and spread the word, how about creating a community for your customers or help build your career if you are a new business owner. There are so many different types of communities out there to inform, create and share. Here I will share with you some tips that have worked for me in creating my own social network that has been going strong for almost a year now. I hope this gives some inspiration for others who have pondered about creating their own.
First, you need to have a clear idea of what it is you want to project and share with others. What idea, niche, theme, community, or subject that you absolutely LOVE and have a passion for? Being authentic can be felt and if you are not authentic in your vision people will notice and not follow.
Set up the atmosphere. Think of yourself as the Host or Hostess of a very large party, so the theme is very important and is a reflection of you and what you are trying to portray and share with others. Have you ever walked into a party and didn’t know anyone but felt that the atmosphere was friendly, easy-going and inviting, wanting you to stick around and get to know everyone? Think of it the same way and prepare accordingly. First impressions matter so make you sure you are clear in what your network is all about through a tagline, or maybe even creating a Logo. Be very specific. Use consistent design through your network to give you a very clean and polished look but also easy going and friendly so as not to intimidate people in joining.
Start off by inviting your friends, maybe some family members to get going at first. Do you have a Myspace or Facebook? Invite your friends from there too! Inviting the right people will kick off your network to a great start. Invite those who you know have similar interests and ask them to get the word out as well. The first 50 members or so will set the mood and tone of your network so you want to be selective on who you invite to join depending on the type of network you choose to set up.
Take your time setting up the network. Fill out your profile page in full. Let those who are joining get a glimpse of who you are, what you’re about and what they can expect. Add photos, videos and music. Anything that is a reflection of you and your vision. Create the first Groups, Discussions, maybe even a blog or two. Also, allow your members the freedom to customize their pages, and add their own thoughts through Groups, Discussions and Blogs as well. Allow your Members to Create their own Groups as well. Of course being that you are the Owner, you can always oversee everything and if anything is inappropriate then of course you can take appropriate action. Have fun but let others have fun, be creative and be themselves.
When you have everything set up, invited the right people to help kick off your network and feel you are ready then open the doors to your new network. Link your new site to other groups you are involved in, your blog, even create a signature for your email with your network name. Now is the time to advertise yourself and your new network. Join a few groups that have the same interest as your new network and advertise there. Whatever you do, DO NOT SPAM!! Everyone hates that so it’s okay to be excited, but do not become obnoxious with it. I started out with only 35 members and it has now grown to almost 800 at the moment. Most of it has been through word of mouth. I started out with those people I trusted and known and it went from there.
Always keep the site updated with new photos, new discussions, videos and/or music. In the beginning you might have to do a lot of this but once the site kicks into high gear, you will see the activity of your members and it will take off on it’s own. It takes patience, persistence, and some time. Nurture it as you would your garden. With enough water and sun, it will soon grow into a beautiful flower that started off with the seed of your
As with anything else, there are going to be those who like to cause drama wherever they go. In being a good host/hostess to any party, it is your job to cease the drama and if that means removing those who cause it, you just might have to do that. I use the 3 strike rule. I try to give ample warning but after the third strike, they are removed. Your members will appreciate the care you have taken in making sure you conduct a peaceful, friendly and drama free zone.
The last thing to do after all your hard work is sit back and enjoy what you have created. Knowing that you have brought a community together for whatever the reason, it’s a an amazing feeling knowing you put something together that is special not only to you but to others as well! Bask in the glow of your success.