Re: So, your BP site is up! Now, how to bring the people in and start using it?
@Dimensionmedia Nice and valuable list of tips, thanks.
I’m glad that my topic have generated such interesting discussions.
The community website I build up is for Cure fans (you know The Cure, right?), and since they all are already active on Facebook, MySpace and other existing (traditional) forums, it is quiet a bit of a challenge to bring them over to my site and actually use it.
The motivation that made me wanna do Cureuphoria (http://cureuphoria.com) is that I felt that althought many places already exist for Cure fans to interact, there isn’t a real Social Network with features “Ã la Facebook/MySpace” that is specifically built with that particular community in mind.
I feel that the major value of using BuddyPress, and the main difference with the above mentioned social networks is that you can offer basicly the same feautures, BUT in an environement created and adapted around a specific community, which is the strongest point to my opinion.
From look and feel, to functionalities, you can build something up that is indeed unique to a given community.
Something that a rather impersonal environement such as Facebook, is not able to offer.
For example, I used custom profile fields to build a Cure-oriented member profiles, because it is about The Cure, right?
You can check an example here: http://cureuphoria.com/gian, which is my profile, but you can go and see others too.
Also, because I believe the register page is a key page of the site, I designed a very simple, basic form with a prominent call to action button, and argued some benefits about registering and using the site, that would accompany the registration form.
And, because during the intial lunch phase you don’t see many members profile avatars active, I decides to design a visual graphic with different avatars in order to give the potential subscriber a feeling of community. To do so, I asked permissions to Facebook users (within the Cure fans community) to use their avatars, and they all agreed. That gave me already the possibility to communicate the existence of the new site to some.
By the way, this is the register page: http://cureuphoria.com/register
At the moment I did get quiet a few registrations in a week time period, but unfortunately, users don’t turn out to be as active as I expect them to be. So, beside the first point of bringing people in and register, the following point would be, how to make them use the website and be active? Maybe it takes time to achive that.
Maybe their passivity is due to the fact of being troubled by the slight diffrences with (again) Facebook, or other traditional forums structure.
I mean, the majority of other Cure forums out are built with calssical bulletin board systems, such as phpBB or vBulletin and are (sorry, but I need to say it) quiet ugly. Still they are widely populated with topics.
My users, I feel, are probably troubled by the Groups/Forums relation. Some posted on the Group homepage activity, thinking that it was answearing to a topic in the forum for that Group.
I mean, I do think that the Group/Forum as a value and I totally understand the principle behind it. But do my users?
In order to push them to post Topics that are not necessarily associated with a Group, I did create a Group called Open Topics, that would act as a general topic forum.
And, I wrote a sticky topic on “How to use Cureuphoria”, which you can find here, even if not finished yet at the moment of this writing: http://cureuphoria.com/groups/cureuphoria-feedback/forum/topic/how-to-use-cureuphoria-read-this/
I would like to have them create their own groups, write topics, invite their friends over and all that, instead of coming to the site, putting up a video form YouTube, add a friend and then leave to just check if something more exciting is happening after a day, and since it’s not the case, leave again.
Anyway, I don’t think there is a magic formula to make your BuddyPress site have the success you expect, but it is probably a lot of little things that need to be manged toghether, from design, to functionalities, to constant marketing (social public relationship). Orâ€¦ something I am just missing.
I want to thank all of you who contributed to the topic. Keep it going: advices, ideas and thoughts about this are never enough.