That identity bond is hugely powerful.

How to build identity to cement your online community

That identity bond is hugely powerful.

That identity bond is hugely powerful.

Your members have two hands on your private social network. One hand holds onto the people they know. That’s what keeps people on platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp: they join and stay because their friends have joined and stayed. If their friends were to leave they’d leave too.

The other hand holds onto the group itself. Members remain committed to political parties and pressure groups such as the NRA or Peta because they identify with the group, its aims and what the identification with the group says about them. Other members of the group may come and go but as long as they identify with the community, they’ll remain.

That identity bond is hugely powerful. It keeps members engaged even in the face of high membership turnover. It keeps them obeying the rules and the norms of the community even without active policing. And it keeps them tied closely to the community at all times.

Fostering that identity isn’t always complex. Even steps as simple as giving members a name such as “Hoosiers” or “Rednecks” can help to create bonds that go beyond person-to-person. Clear community goals, whether that’s winning the league or keeping the beach clean can help too, and so can opposition. Communities for brands with clear rivals such as Mustang and Camaro cars are among the strongest because any lower engagement is a win for the opposition. Use friendly rivalry in your content to highlight an out-group and people will stay in.

When your members’ hands hold onto their friends and onto the identity of your community, you’ll be hugging them close.

That’s all for now! In the next message, I’ll discuss the welcome you give new members.

Private messaging is still a vital part of the community.

Why private messages matter on your social network

Private messaging looks like just another feature on a community site that should be packed with useful features. It should also be the least interesting.

But private messaging is still a vital part of the community.

It suggests that your site understands members’ privacy concerns and recognizes that some communications should be confidential. The messaging feature shows that you’ve taken steps to meet that need for confidentiality.

Private messaging is still a vital part of the community.

Private messaging is still a vital part of the community.

Practically, it allows friends to tell each other things that they don’t want others to know—such as when they’re going to be out of town or what’s happening with their family. It’s useful and your members will use it.

Most importantly, it deepens your private social network by adding an additional layer of communication. It enables different kinds of interaction.

Private Messages in PeepSo

Private Messages in PeepSo

People do have different relationships with friends, acquaintances and strangers in online communities. The private messaging feature allows people to hold simple discussions in public while at the same time communicating on a personal level with their closer friends.

Private messaging adds another floor to your house and gives your members more room to feel at home.

That’s all for now! Next time, I’m talking private social network identity.

Newsletters vs a Private Social Network

Services like Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor are making it easier and easier for people to send good looking, fully responsive newsletters out to their client base. They can get great results for businesses wanting to boost sales…but the percentage of people who actually open their newsletters is fairly pathetic. Mailchimp’s average open rate for newsletters sits at around twenty percent – keeping in mind that these are really slick newsletters, often with great offers or information inside. This is significantly better than the engagement people get from Facebook; on the higher end of the scale, posts are likely to organically reach 16% of followers (unofficial sources cite this as being as low as 2 – 6%).

newsletter

While having a private social network and sending regular newsletters don’t have to be mutually exclusive, people are likely to unsubscribe if you’re sending them a newsletter every time you have some small piece of information to share; when it comes to newsletters, people prefer quality over quantity. It’s clear that Facebook is either going to be expensive or a waste of time if you really need or want a message to get out to everyone in your circle. A private social network resolves both of these problems – you can send out little-but-important updates and bits of information without people feeling spammed, and as long as people are logging in regularly, your post reach on a private social network is going to be around 100%.

If you’re a business who regularly does pop-up sales, have customers who like to be kept up to date with stock availability, or has a lot of day-to-day information in general, check out our live demo to see how PeepSo works – your imagination is the only limit.

Private Social Networks: Real Results for Real People

Before PeepSo, there was JomSocial.

Before PeepSo, there was JomSocial.

Before PeepSo, there was JomSocial; a Joomla plugin that would allow you to create your own private social network on any Joomla-based website. In the years since the plugin first hit the market, it’s been used in all kinds of ways, for all kinds of purposes. There are communities for Shakespeare aficionados, and people suffering from anxiety; it’s been used to create support networks for refugees, and manage web design clients. There are communities of less than a hundred, and communities of up to ten thousand; it all depends on how close-knit people want their communities to be, or how niche their market is.

Almost 70% of respondents reported seeing an increase in user engagement with their website as a direct result of using JomSocial

Almost 70% of respondents reported seeing an increase in user engagement with their website as a direct result of using JomSocial.

We recently surveyed JomSocial customers to see how their communities were going; the results were overwhelmingly positive. Almost 70% of respondents reported seeing an increase in user engagement with their website as a direct result of using JomSocial; over 30% reported a significant increase in traffic to their site since using the plugin. Ten people who were using JomSocial for their business website reported a marked increase in revenue as a direct result of having a private social network.

The user experience seems to be overwhelmingly positive too: we asked our users to give us feedback and tell us what we could do better, and nearly everyone said that we should just keep up the great work. The rest were just minor suggestions for things they thought would be cool…we’re all about cool, so we’re taking those into account as we continue to work on and have fun with the product. About half of the people we surveyed work in tech, so having a stamp of approval from people who really know their code is a fantastic feather in our cap.

These same benefits are now available to WordPress users via PeepSo; you’re likely to see more engagement, an increase in traffic, and if you’re using PeepSo for your business, an increase in revenue as a direct result of using the plugin. Although a significant portion of the people using JomSocial were tech people, you don’t have to be one to use PeepSo; it works straight out of the box, no coding knowledge required.

To find out more about PeepSo and how it works, check out our community for a live demo.

 

 

If you’re not paying people for their contributions, then you need to reward them with exposure and an ego boost.

How to persuade your members to post content that counts on your private social network

If you’re not paying people for their contributions, then you need to reward them with exposure and an ego boost.

If you’re not paying people for their contributions, then you need to reward them with exposure and an ego boost.

Once your private social network is up and running, you should be looking to pull back, focus on marketing and leave much of the community management to the members.

That includes content creation.

You’ll still want to create some of your own content but if you can persuade key members of your community to publish their content on a regular basis, the community will be healthier and your life will be easier.

One way, of course, is to ask them directly. Contact the key members of your community that you know and invite them to publish a post once a week. Give them a general topic and when they do post, praise them to the skies.

Promote that content in the community and invite comments about it.

If you’re not paying people for their contributions, then you need to reward them with exposure and an ego boost.

You don’t need to approach members directly though. Often, engagement alone is enough to motivate contributors to keep publishing. If you want a key influencer to keep posting, make sure that you comment on their posts, refer to their posts in your own content and ask other members to weigh in on the discussion. If that member feels like a leader in the community, they’ll have a status they want to protect with continual publishing.

And you can make that status clear by awarding some members of the community with a title such as Community Organizer or Community Manager. When they feel responsible, they’ll also a feel a duty to keep posting.

That’s all for now! Next time, I’ll discuss private messages.

If you’re trying to perform the same action in each phase, your community won’t grow as quickly as you’d like.

Why your community isn’t growing as quickly as you’d like

If you’re trying to perform the same action in each phase, your community won’t grow as quickly as you’d like.

If you’re trying to perform the same action in each phase, your community won’t grow as quickly as you’d like.

When you launched your community, you would have been super-busy. You would have been corralling your first members, welcoming new members, looking to raise the community’s profile, answering questions and creating content to spark discussions.

You’re probably still doing that but what you need to do to kickstart your community isn’t necessarily what you need to do to grow it.

Once your private social network is up and running, changing your activities may help your community to grow faster.

Cut back on the actions that your private social network members can do for you, such as answering basic questions, and reduce the amount of content you produce. Your members should be able to fill that gap for you. If they don’t, ask your most active member to publish a post once a week or so and reward them with a higher status in the community.

You can also skip the community-based welcomes, letting other members meet new people at the door.

Use the extra time that withdrawal frees up to open more doorways into the community and increase engagement. Build stronger connections with bloggers in your field. Quote community opinions and information in the content you place on the community—and off it. Review the stats and focus your efforts on the parts of the community that attract the most activity.

Communities have different phases. They start with a slow launch, grow then split into small sub-communities. If you’re trying to perform the same action in each phase, your community won’t grow as quickly as you’d like.

That’s all for now! Next time, I’ll talk about motivating your key influencers.

You don’t want your customers to buy once and disappear. You want them to keep coming back.

Understanding the benefits of a community

You don’t want your customers to buy once and disappear. You want them to keep coming back.

You don’t want your customers to buy once and disappear. You want them to keep coming back.

In the last message, I discussed monetization. An online private social network always has the potential to make money but a cash flow isn’t the only benefit that an online community can bring. Those benefits aren’t always as easy to measure (or spend) as money but they are valuable.

Customer Retention

You don’t want your customers to buy once and disappear. You want them to keep coming back. That means keeping in touch with them and ensuring that they always feel close to you and will buy from you as soon as they’re ready to make their next purchase.

Easier Support

If you’re used to wasting hours each day answering customer emails that often ask the same question, an online private social network gives you an easy way to address issues publicly. And when the community weighs in, you’ll have even less to do.

Feedback

Launch a new feature and you won’t need to survey your members to find out what they think. You’ll be able to track the discussions on the community and see what people are really saying—to each other as well as to you.

Branding

This is the big one. An online community gives you a platform to give your product an identity and make it a part of your customers’ lives. That’s invaluable.

When you’re trying to squeeze money out of your community, you’ll have to make an effort. These other benefits though should come naturally from a community that’s popular, thriving and growing.

That’s all for now! Next time, I’ll explain why your community isn’t growing as quickly as you’d like.

Why Everyone Should Learn to Code

Learning to code is like learning to speak another language; you have to learn a whole lot of new “words” and phrases, and if you get just one word or letter wrong, the person (website) you’re talking to might have no idea what you’re trying to say. Many people prefer to outsource coding work, or use plugins that allow them to do really cool things without needing to write a single line; even if that’s you, it’s worth knowing the basics so you can spot if something’s wrong, or make small tweaks if you need to. If supermodel Karlie Kloss can learn to code between international flights, fashion shows and photoshoots, you can fit some basic coding lessons around your busy life too.

code

It turns you from a consumer into a producer.

If you can’t code, you’re always buying someone else’s project or time; if you can, then you’re either building and selling entirely original content, or taking bits and pieces from other people and incorporating them into your own creation to make it better (like building your own house, and getting furniture from someone else to add colour and variety to your creation). It’s a guarantee that you’re going to stand out.

It allows you to fix – or at least patch – problems right away.

Rather than spending long hours waiting for the person who developed or maintains your website to come to your aid, knowing how to code allows you to fix the problem yourself – or at the very least, patch it so that your customers and visitors aren’t at risk of malware or suffering serious glitches during that time. The amount of money an online shop might lose just by being down for a few hours in a busy period could be staggering. You might not get to a point where you can perform major surgery on your website, but you can learn how to tie a pretty damned great bandage.

You can make sure that your project matches YOUR vision.

Trying to get another person to see the picture in your head is an incredibly different thing; even if you and your developer/designer are totally simpatico, they’re not always going to get things the way you want them. Knowing how to write your own child themes or even make small tweaks to someone else’s design will make it that much easier for you to transform your design dreams into reality.

PeepSo and ChatSo 1.4.0 Are Out!

As Abraham Lincoln said:

ChatSo is fantastic. I use it every day.

ChatSo is fantastic. I use it every day.

Well okay, he didn’t say that. But he definitely would have done. PeepSo with ChatSo is that good! It will totally change the way your users interact on your site.

ChatSo is based on MsgSo and requires that plugin to be installed and activated. Without MsgSo, ChatSo will not work.

ChatSo Is So Pretty!

Looks aren’t everything… but boy, are they important. ChatSo looks amazing. It’s clean. It’s neat. It just works. Whether you want just one chat window open or need a tidy stack of conversations for easy browsing, ChatSo keeps your screen clean and clutter-free.

Chatso design.

Chatso design.

ChatSo Works Everywhere

With ChatSo, instant chat will be available on every page of your WordPress site. Users can chat while reading one of your blog posts—whether they have PeepSo view open or not. They’ll always be able to receive a message on your site and talk to a friend.

Chat, Break, Chat More

People will leave your site. They need to sleep, eat, bathroom breaks… but as soon as they come back to your site, they’ll find their chat windows exactly as they left them. Open windows will still be open; minimized windows will still be minimized.

ChatSo remembers where you left off.

Automatically Sync Chats Across Tabs and Browsers

Your users are likely to have multiple tabs open on their browser. Not a problem for ChatSo.

The chat windows sync continuously across tabs. Close a chat window in one browser tab, it closes in the other. Write in one, your message will display in all of them. Receive a message in one tab… you get the idea. Oh, and yes… it also syncs between browsers… neat, huh?

ChatSo syncing across tabs and browsers.

Mobile Messaging

MsgSo already works like chat so we’ll redirect users to the messages view on mobile devices. We don’t want to clutter the screen.

Moods, Photos, Location

You can see moods, photos and location tags in the chat view. Click the location, and you’ll see the map. Click a photo thumbnail and we’ll bring up the photo in a modal window.

While this version of ChatSo does not enable sending moods, location and photos, you can share them in the messages view and navigate to the full conversation view by clicking the ‘cog’ icon and selecting the full message view. We’ll add sending moods, location and photos in the next version of ChatSo.

Want Some Quiet Time? No Problem!

Users who want to browse your site alone can disable chat for a single conversation, just by clicking the cog icon on chat and  or turn it off completely using an option in their profile settings.

Disable Chat for a conversation.

Disable Chat for a conversation.

Changes to PeepSo Core

We have also made some improvements to PeepSo core. Like reorganising settings in the backend. As well ass adding the new setting for you to decide whether you want to use round or square avatars on your community.

Avatars settings.

Avatars settings.

Already Have Bundle #2?

Just use the Promo Code Below to get $10 discount on ChatSo!

chatsoisout

Go to your account and to your bundle #2. You will see ChatSo there. Click on ‘Add to Cart’.

You will be taken to the checkout view. All you need to do is add the promo code, checkout and enjoy ChatSo!

Upgrade PeepSo Now

Oh yes! Automatic upgrades are here! You can do it all in the backend of your site! Remember to upgrade plugins first, and PeepSo core as last one. After all of that is done. Install ChatSo. Here’s documentation on how to do it. You can see the full changelog here.

No PeepSo?

The free PeepSo core version is fantastic on its own. If you want to unlock the true potential of social networking for WordPress, get the other plugins today. You can buy them by clicking the link below.

Buy Today!

If you’d like to see what’s coming up next, check out our roadmap here.

Comments? Questions?

Please leave them below.

Not only is it possible to make money with a community, it’s also possible to do it in a number of different ways.

Can you monetize your private social network?

Not only is it possible to make money with a community, it’s also possible to do it in a number of different ways.

Not only is it possible to make money with a community, it’s also possible to do it in a number of different ways.

Building a private social network is fun. It’s exciting, it’s rewarding but when you’re building it as part of a business, it should also be profitable. Not only is it possible to make money with a community, it’s also possible to do it in a number of different ways.

Advertising

Advertising is the most obvious way to make money out of a community and the simplest—it works for Facebook! But it’s also the most intrusive. By all means, use advertising to fund your community but don’t depend on it.

Sell Products

A less intrusive form of advertising is to use your community to promote your own products or those of partners. Mumsnet (www.mumsnet.com) has an Offers section that promotes products from its partners. Members get exclusive offers; partners get sales; and the community gets a cut.

Sell Information

Interest-based communities will attract members with different degrees of knowledge. Offer courses and ebooks to bring newbies up to speed and you’ll both deepen the quality of your private social network and earn some valuable cash.

Organize Events

An online community is great but if you can bring your members together offline, then you’ll really cement the sense of communal identity. Organizing an event will take a bit of work but share it out among other members and charge a fee to participate, and you’ll have an enjoyable way to pay for the community.

Create Merchandise

Members who feel a close affinity to the community will want to show off their membership. Use sites like Zazzle and Cafepress to offer print-on-demand hats, tees and tote bags and you’ll make sales while advertising your site.

There are plenty of other ways to monetize a community, from building a marketplace to charging for premium services. If you’re not making money out of an active community, you need to take action.

That’s all for now! Next time, I’ll talk about the other benefits a community can bring.