Considerations for Your Social Networking Site: Creating Awareness

By Lila Elliott Test Account posted Jul 20, 2009 09:57 PM


Here are a few considerations/key questions when putting together a social networking site: 

1)     How do you ensure that there is accountability in the users of the site (e.g. those that post content) but still ensure that the site is getting the visibility that it will need? This is often an issue because ensuring accountability means that you need to know who is logged in and have their profile connected to all of their online activities. This is accomplished through setting up an account and logging in. However, this is problematic for search engines because they cannot spider content behind login, so how will the organization ensure that the site gets visibility? To do this, the organization must have a comprehensive communication strategy in place to drive traffic to the site and focus in on why it is worth it to log in from the user’s point of view.

2)     External strategies usually involve an integrated marketing mix of some kind—whether it is a combination of direct mail, email marketing, search engine keyword purchase, newsletters, conference announcements, publications, etc—whatever it may be, there needs to be a variety of mechanisms that grab attention and point people back to the social networking site. The question here is: what will Shell and CQ do collectively to ensure that there is mass awareness for the site? Again, awareness needs to be defined so that you know how wide of a net to cast. Does the world need to be aware? Just one small group? Etc. So question is: who needs to be aware? What is best way to make them aware? (meaning, where do they now go to get their information where we know we can get in front of them and get them to focus) and how much will it take to make them aware? How long do we need to keep them aware?

3)     What do you want people to do on the site? Will you have a call to action which gets people involved and engaged? Do you care if they come once to the site and become aware and that’s enough, or do you want them to come back to the site consistently to get information?

4)     What behaviors do you want people to develop?

5)     What do you want people to think/feel when they experience the site? What should stay top of mind?

6)     Who is going to be responsible for keeping awareness going? Or keeping engagement going?

7)     How will you know when you are successful?

8)     When do you get out? i.e. what is the shelf-life?

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Jul 19, 2009 11:18 PM

#4 - "What behaviors do you want people to develop?" is an excellent question. I'll counter/add with one of my own - how much of this is based on what you know your community members are likely to do and how much of it is dependent on you influencing their behavior? Is there a balance we should try to aim for right away? Should we take a "wait and see what happens" approach instead?
Your webinar about creating compelling community homepages talked about moving people out of their comfort zone in order to participate - this point/action is a natural tie-in to that piece as well.