Social networks are valuable two big reasons:
- They cheaply attract eyeballs to your pages
- They provide heaps of data about your audience
For reasons to be addressed in a later post (or in my recent FOWA presentation, if you were one of the five people in the audience), both of those benefits are best achieved via targeted, niche communities. That means YOUR community, not those big social networking warehouses. Until recently, setting up a scalable social network with plenty of rich media, Widgets, and whatever else was a big pain in the ass.
Then KickApps and a few other companies changed all of that. We’re seeing success across the board (despite what some people’s less-than-friendly blog posts would have you believe), but I was recently discussing Vibe Verses, a KickApps-powered community, and I raised some eyebrows with these numbers:
- The site took 3 weeks to build, once the graphic design/branding was settled
- When the first contest ended, about 12 weeks after it had begun, the community had 60,000 members
The site performed so well that it did something that every online marketer dreams of: the contest site became an ongoing community.
Here’s an even better use case: Hip Hop Music dot com dot com. It’s so Web 2.0 you have to write the “dot com” twice! This dude hooked up a free WordPress blog to a free KickApps community site, fueled it with his personal passion and blew up. Check out his page views on his most popular KickApps-powered media. No marketing budget, just love, and he’s getting well over a million page views a month.
If you’re paying a ton of cash, waiting months and months, and have a creeping fear that you’re reinventing that ole social networking wheel, check out the wide range of RYO social networking solutions that are currently out there. Start with KickApps of course – partly because I work there and partly because the platform is built to integrate cleanly into your existing website (moreso if you’re a Joomla lover).
This is mostly a bland tooting of my own horn post, but it’s also interesting because as we talk to more large companies I am repeatedly surprised to hear how difficult and expensive they expect this stuff to be. If you’re one of those people, hop on over to the KickApps site and check out our recent whitepaper that outlines 9 easy steps to create an online community, then quit waiting and go.