Re: So, your BP site is up! Now, how to bring the people in and start using it?
General Site Tips:
1. Try private testing with a focus group (not your designers or developers).
2. Don’t add too many features, determine the level of request and see if they fit with the spirit of the site.
3. Don’t be afraid to make the site live. Just get the site out there and let users provide you feedback. I know clients that test, refine, etc. and it never makes it out the door.
Social Network Tips:
1. Facebook, Twitter, and social networking integration is important. Please love to login with other accounts.
2. Create a way for users or even visitors to easily locate interesting people straight from the homepage.
3. Make sure search is simple, easy to use, and as powerful as possible. Finding connections should be a no-brainer.
4. Social networks grow the best when people can invite other non-users into the network.
5. Social networks also grow quickly when members can share links, media, etc. with those within and outside the network.
6. Give incentives for people to come back to the network. Awarding users for actions (like Foursquare) is an interesting way to do this, although there are plenty of other examples that can fit your particular network.
7. Avoid long registration forms at all costs.