Hi there! Today, we’re exploring the explosive growth potential with SocialEngine niche communities. Grab a beverage, hop in a comfy chair and let’s spend time exploring this topic together.
What is a “niche” community?
A simple explanation of a “niche” community is a community that focuses on a particular topic for a specific audience. Facebook started by initially focusing on Harvard students. Later they expanded it to higher education institutions in the Boston region, the Ivy League schools, and Stanford University. Facebook gradually added support for students at various other universities, and eventually to high school students. Today, Facebook has roughly 2 billion monthly users.
Why is a Niche Important?
Having a focus for your community can make it easier to acquire members via search engines. As you add relevant keywords, titles, descriptions and content, your site should show up in search engines as people search for those same terms. This makes it much easier to achieve better search engine ranking.
For example, maybe you enjoy crafts. If you search Google now for “craft community,” you’ll find a large amount of websites focusing on that general topic. Let’s narrow this down a bit. Perhaps your favorite craft is pottery. If you focus your community on pottery, you could gain the benefits of the “craft” and “pottery” keywords and have an easier time targeting your ad campaigns to people interested in that subject.
Why does a niche community grow faster than a general community?
A niche community has content specifically targeted towards people with that same interest. This content attracts like-minded individuals who join and share their own tips, advice, great finds, etc.
By providing good content for your niche, it’ll be easier to attract members looking for information, friendship, help, tips, etc. People will be far more likely to join a community that specializes in something they’re interested in than a general site with no specific focus. As these members join, they’ll share the site with their friends and family. Hence, your community becomes stronger and much more likely to succeed.
How can you cater to a niche community?
When starting a niche community, you’ll want to add lots of content – blogs, photos, events, classified listings, polls, forum posts and anything else that goes with the focus of your community. As you attract members, they’ll add their own content, comments, likes and other interactions to contribute to the activity of the site. You can additionally use the various import tools in SocialEngine Cloud to grab RSS feeds from other sites to help populate the content for your community. SocialEngine PHP has an RSS plugin that allows you to grab content from sites with an RSS URL.
It’s a good idea to have a theme that complements the type of community you’re making. For example, a light theme with bigger fonts does well with a community that focuses on written material – news, literature, blogging, etc. Whereas, a photo community may be better with a darker theme that accentuates the images in the photo section and feeds.
Changing phrases can help further focus on your niche and make a great impression on members. For example, “Blog” phrases can be changed to “Articles” or “Stories;” “Videos” could change to “Films”; “Forum” can be “Arena.” You get the idea. Likes, friends, activity feed and all the other phrases are versatile in SocialEngine PHP and allow you to decide how you want your site to feel for your members. With SocialEngine Cloud, you can change menus and categories to match your niche.
Niche communities can achieve exponential growth. It takes time, dedication and creativity to achieve these sorts of results. If you focus on a topic you enjoy or are an expert at, you’ll have a much easier time setting up and growing your community.
Now that we’ve explored what niche communities are and how they can be built with SocialEngine, we’d like to highlight a few extra resources we think you’ll find to be helpful.
Useful Third Party Products:
This is not a full list. It’s just a sample of third party products for SocialEngine PHP that might help with niche communities:
- News/RSS Importer if you want to have more RSS options.
- Advanced Blog and Articles/Document/News Plugin to add more blogging features.
- Uplinks and Wall Plugin make it easy to add content.
In addition to the above for SocialEngine PHP, there are themes for SocialEngine Cloud that might help with your niche.
If you have questions or feedback, please join us at our community and let us know your thoughts!
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~Harriet Tubman