originally posted on Concept Hub
The title of this post is probably inspired by the fact that I am sitting in a hotel room in Orlando, FL. We are staying on International Drive and within walking distance there are several things to do and places to explore.
I will also be working a bit during this vacation. We are putting together a strategic plan for a client who wants to build their own social network around their brand. We are helping them understand the current landscape and learn ways to leverage that landscape to build an active community around their site.
I reached out to Josh Hallet last week about this project and he asked me the same question that I often ask many of my clients.
“Why would they need to create a social networking site when so many others exist?”
My answer was, “They would rather have people come over to their house than meeting everyone at a bar.”
As I walked down International Drive I thought about that dialog. There is so much to do in Orlando, why would anyone ever want to build another restaurant, gift shop, or attraction? The answer is because this is where the people are.
However, if you were to build yet another site in Orlando you would have to first understand the landscape. Where are the people currently spending their resources? What are some of the things they are interested in? How are they contributing to the landscape? How can your site add value to their visit.
If we look at the Internet as one very large gathering place we will begin to realize that building a community around a social networking site comes with all the challenges of building a new attraction in Orlando. You need to know what people want, why they would stay, how to motivate them to contribute their resources, and where are they currently contributing their resources.
You also want to make sure your site is zoned in such a way you are able to mix and mingle with others that offer complimentary services.
Many of the most popular social media sites such as Flickr and YouTube offer the ability to mix their content within other sites to create a customized experience. This allows your audience to easily join in one group without having to abandon another. It also allows for them to bring their friends from their various communities over to a new site.
However if you are going to throw a party or invite others over to your site, you need to know the guests you are going to invite, and you usually meet such people when you are out and about. The Internet has evolved from a simple strip mall with various store fronts to one of the largest gathering places with unlimited different places to play. It is no longer good enough to just build a great site. Representatives from your organization need to be mingling with the crowd, creating a presence, and participating with a purpose.