SocialEngine Blog

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3 Common Myths About Branded Communities

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Branded communities are your new best friend.

They’re the hot trend right now and they’re not going away anytime soon.

With a captive target audience, brand cheerleaders all around, and the most beneficial feedback group you can imagine, it’s no wonder branded communities are so popular.

In order to get the most out of yours, there are a few common myths to dispel before you begin to grow.

1. Branded communities are a marketing strategy

Nope. Branded communities are not your answer to marketing woes. They are a smart business strategy for you to leverage your whole brand. If you let your branded community thrive off your brand’s core values, you not only succeed in filling your marketing funnel, you’ve paved the way for intuitive connections at every client touch point.

2. Branded communities are there to support you

False. They are there to support the members, your fans. The most successful communities let questions, feedback, and ideas flourish between members. This is their safe space to brainstorm and critique. Remember that criticism is just an opportunity for improvement and these voices in the community are your most loyal followers. Your number one job is to listen.

3. Branded communities grow like in Field of Dreams

Wrong. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come. If you build your branded community with an open mind, supportive customer service, and by empowering the members, they will do the rest of the legwork for you. Today’s brands are built on a holistic approach. Community members want their favorite brand to succeed, they want to be heard, and they want to share their enthusiasm with others. Engage the community and the brand will grow with a strong foundation.

Contact us for more on creating a successful branded community.

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3 Reasons Why Branded Communities Have the Upper Hand

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Looking to connect with your audience in a more meaningful way?

Branded communities are your next investment.

There are a few no-brainer reasons to join the numerous brands that curate their audience through branded communities. With a little work up front, you’ll hold the power of targeted advertising, consistent leads, and catered feedback in your hands. Here is why branded communities are a cut above the rest.

1. You already have the attention of the right people

By owning a branded community, you’re ten steps ahead of the game. You have the right people in the right place, the audience that consists of more than fans. You have your brand’s cheerleaders in your corner and they support your products, mission, and people.

Gillian Muessig, founding president of SEOMoz.org, agrees:

The concept that I was talking about was about creating a community around their brand, the idea, the products they serve; but far more importantly, around the people that work in that business itself.

2. Your audience is made of potential clients

While your competitors flail around digging for leads, you have a shimmering pool of interested potential clients right there in your branded community. They’re just waiting for an opportunity to work with you and prove their commitment to your products and services. Listen to their needs and you’ll always have a waiting list ready to buy.

3. Feedback is given with your brand identity in mind

As everyone in your branded community knows the ins and outs of your brand, their comments and input are invaluable. Their feedback is precisely the set of voices you need and would otherwise spend hours tracking down. Listen intently and ask questions often. Members are there to support you, so be sure to show appreciation and incorporate their input in the future.

Contact us for more on creating a successful branded community to engage your target audience.

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4.9 Pre-Release Discount!

SocialEngine 4.9 Pre-Release Sale

Hello! We’ve got news about something you’ve been waiting for. No, it’s not the giraffes delivery. What a compelling video, right? Our news is about our 4.9 release!

We are thrilled to have this coming so soon. Our development team is all hopped up on coffee and burning up keyboards getting things just right.

We’re so excited about this amazing 4.9 version that we’ve got a special discount for anyone that purchases a SocialEngine license now. We’re giving a 10% discount plus free upgrade service to those that purchase a license between now and March 19th. This is great news as you can get your community started now on 4.8.13 and then our technicians will upgrade your site for you when we release 4.9.

Why would you want to start your site ahead of our release? Good question! It takes time to set up a site with the settings, categories, menus, etc. that you want. You could use this time to get your site ready for launch and then have our professionals upgrade your site for free once 4.9 releases. This gives you a jump on your site launch. Grab your discount before it expires!

This special offer is only available until March 19, 2017.

  • Discount Code: PRELAUNCH490
  • Date Discount expires: March 19, 2017
  • Where to purchase: https://www.socialengine.com/products/php
    • What our upgrade covers: The upgrade service covers our technicians upgrading your SocialEngine website’s default SocialEngine files (SE core, SE official plugins).
    • What our upgrade does not cover: Applying any customizations or reapplying any customizations; upgrading third party products; server upgrades or adjustments.
  • How to redeem your free upgrade: Please send a ticket to our support via your account.
  • No Cash Value: Free upgrade service cannot be exchanged for cash value and is a one time special offer. Once used, if you need another upgrade, please purchase the service from your account. If not used, no refund will be given for the unused service.
  • By submitting this offer, you agree to receive email communications from SocialEngine.

Our current clients who have been waiting for this release will want to keep an eye on our blog, community, and social media pages for release updates as well. We would love for you to connect with our Chief Evangelist on our community and let us know how you’re preparing for this awesome 4.9 release.

Posted in Release Notes | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Top 3 Dangerously Effective Reasons to Start a Private Custom Social Network

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Did you know that according to some estimates, the average city-dwelling person can be exposed to as many as 5,000 advertisements in a single day?

Being memorable is important.

For this reason, marketing and branding experts are always looking for emotional triggers to implement into their campaigns. One of the most powerful emotional triggers is “community.”

When your customer base has a sense of belonging that stems from your product or service, they tend to become more loyal and even obsessive.

A perfect example of this is Apple’s famous “Are you a Mac or a PC?” campaign from the late 2000s.

What do you do when you want to foster a sense of belonging?

You build a community.

Custom social network scripts are an amazing – and often underutilized – method of literally building a community for your customers, fans, or clients.

Let’s take a moment to look at why they’re so effective:

#1: Brand Loyalty

This is, of course, the primary reason to build your own social network. A sense of exclusivity and belonging can create lifelong customer relationships.

#2: Get to Know Your Customers Better… A Lot Better

More than just an added bonus, implementing a custom social network script gives you the opportunity to gather near-instant data about what your customers are thinking.

What do they like?

What do they not like?

This is the kind of data that marketers pay top-dollar for, but by operating a custom social network script, they’re giving it to you.

#3: Custom Social Network Scripts are Cost Effective

Think it’s expensive to set up a private social network for your audience?

Think again.

Setting up a platform like this isn’t just affordable, it’s a relatively simple process. Over a relatively short amount of time, the benefits will pay for the time investment (and the actual cost) in spades.

Are You Ready to Build Your Community?

What we covered here today are just a few reasons why you should consider implementing a custom social network script for your customers.

It’s more than just giving them a platform to express themselves: it’s a powerful, unique way to strengthen brand loyalty.

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February Community Roundup

Hey everybody! Here’s a quick recap of what is happening in the SocialEngine Community in the month of February.

Add-ons and Updates:

Advanced Footer Plugin – Convey the Right Information from the Footer of your website.

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Notes – Create notes and categorize them or make sticky notes anywhere on your site!

Uplinks – Uplinks adds a level of convenience for your members to add content.

Google Translate Plugin – Google Translate widget with easy install and setup.

Buffer Share Plugin – Buffer share integration widget. Share to popular social media sites with Buffer.

Responsive Elegant Theme – Get your site a Responsive Slideshow, beautiful Landing Page and much more!

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Page Builder and Shortcodes Plugin – Easily create pricing tables, Popups, Accordions & Tabs, Progress Bars, etc.

Member Profiles Cover Photo Plugin – Show users the Cover Photo – a large unique image on top of the member profiles.

Content Profiles Cover Photo Plugin – Show users the Cover Photo – large unique image on top of the content profiles.

Site Tour by Auto Login Test User – Allow visitors to login into website using Test Users and explore the system.

Advanced Blog Plugin – Writing blogs on your websites with custom Publish date, location, reviews, etc.

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Multi-Use Team Plugin – Showcase your Team Members, Testimonials, or any type of similar content.

Jokes plugin – You’ll laugh at the jokes of your users, unless your network grows!

Mega Spam Control – Comfortable tool for managing comments, private messages, post, blogs.

Marketplace plugin – Create your own online store for both physical and digital goods!

 

Community Owner Spotlight:

Aapmd.onsocialengine.com – Booming business network for successful people.

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Mejunction.news – A new community for small businesses to gather and trade ideas.

Bestofhyatt.onsocialengine.com – Recipes for those who appreciate a good drink and a good meal.

Frsbank.com – A community centered around investing in and the use of cryptocurrency.

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Iquiero.org – Moutain climbers gather! Come check out this community based around climbers and Mount Kilimanjaro.

Montanamixer.com – An online hub for people in Montana looking to connect.

Posted in Client Spotlight, Company Updates | Leave a comment

A Private Custom Social Network Makes CRM Easy and More Effective

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When the average person thinks of a social network, they think of their favorite personal platforms like LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, etc.

When business owners think of social networks, they think of how they can use the platforms to generate sales and attract customers. However, savvy business owners are realizing that there’s more to social networking and the ways it can accelerate business growth.

When your business builds a private custom social network for your staff and customers to communicate and thrive; you take customer service to the next level.

Private networks can quickly become intimate, fun communities your customers enjoy checking into several times a day. Social media platforms naturally drive people to think that way.

When you and your staff interact on your private network, you learn:

  • Where to take your organization in the future,
  • What new products and upgrades customers are craving,
  • What the prime frustrations and issues are with your current product or service offerings,
  • Who your target demographic is on a deeper level, and
  • Where more opportunities for joint ventures with other firms exist

Social networks create brand advocates because the act of socializing is rewarding for many people. In addition, when they meet others who share their interests on your network, you have enhanced their lives.

Private social networks are especially ideal for B2B businesses.

In a professional climate, customers expect you to value their input on product and service development. Your products and services drive their business models. In many cases, your firm is one of a short list of vendors that business has. Social media platforms make it simple and efficient for executives to check in with every client often.

Now’s a great time to show that your modern business cares and that your plan for the future includes the people who matter most, Contact us today at SocialEngine. Let us help you create a safe, innovative space for your business to grow and engage with your customers.

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Ways to Engage Your Members within SocialEngine

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Social networks are dynamic. They’re full of action as opposed to a static website. Members interact, post things that interest them, “like” or vote up the things they enjoy, and generally play with all of the toys available on a site.

It’s this activity that keeps them coming back. If members come to the site and find no activity, they’ll be far less likely to participate or might even cancel their membership. To avoid losing members, you need to find ways to engage them. You need to get them interacting and participating on the site. This activity will draw in members and grow a strong community. Here are some ways you can engage your members on your SocialEngine social network.

Blog, blog, and blog some more.

Blogs about topics relevant to your site niche can grow your member base with people looking for that topic. It can help get discussions going amongst your members as they comment back and forth about it. If the blogs are particularly helpful or entertaining, members will keep coming back just to read the next post, and will be more encouraged to post their own blog.

SocialEngine has a great Blog plugin that takes advantage of the TinyMCE editor for full formatting options. If you don’t have the Blog plugin, log into your client area and purchase it from the Customer Store page. Once you have it installed, you’ll want to set up the categories according to your niche.

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We suggest that you write at least one blog per week, more if you have time. Formatting blogs with nice fonts, bold print where necessary, images and lists can make them more enjoyable. Explore the various formatting features as you write your blogs. Make sure you check them for spelling or grammar errors. Blogs with good content can get members commenting regularly and even interacting with each other as they debate the topic.

Keep the activity feed active.

The activity feed shows everything that’s happening in your community. If a member signs in and sees nothing new in the activity feed for several days, it makes the site look dead. You can avoid a barren activity feed by logging in each day and posting a status, photo, link, or something relevant to your niche. If you don’t have time to log in each day, get helpers from family and/or friends to help you with this.

You can control the activity feed items in order to show more or less content from members, change the update frequency, and change what shows up in the activity feed.

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If your site is new, you’ll want to show more items per member. When your site grows, you can set the setting lower in order to show various items from different members. With all of the controls that SocialEngine offers for the activity feed, you’ll be able to engage your members in ways that are more satisfying to them.

Encourage with “likes” and comments.

Members enjoy seeing “likes” or positive comments about their items. It bolsters them on to add more content. You can encourage your members to be more active by commenting on their items or “liking” their items. It also helps to show that you are actively engaged in your community. Members do enjoy getting (good) attention from the site owner/admin.

You’ll want to check each plugin (Blog, Albums, Music, etc) to ensure that your members are allowed to comment on that item. As you, and your members, “like” and comment on items, the member that posted it will get notified of the activity. In most cases, this will bring them back to the site and they can react to the activity.

Add plugins to help with engagement.

Plugins can help engage your users by providing them tools, toys, interactive quizzes or contests, etc. Here are some plugins that can help with member engagement. There are quite a few more in the SocialEngine Marketplace.  

Contest Plugin by Hire-Experts LLC – Create photo contests to get your members in a frenzy to win!

Badge/Award Plugin by Radcodes – This lets you give badges or awards to your members for various activities.

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Suggestions and Recommendations Plugin by SocialEngineAddOns – Show recommended content and friend suggestions to help your members find people and things that interest them.

Challenges by SocialEnginePro – Give your members challenges and they’ll be more encouraged to log in to update their progress.

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Questions and Answers Plugin by WebHive – Let your members ask and answer questions, vote on the best answers, and earn points.

As you can see from the above tips, there are some great ways you can engage your members and keep your site active. If this article intrigues you but you don’t yet have a SocialEngine license, you can get a free trial here!

These are just a few tips to help you get your members more engaged in your community. If you need more help, please feel free to post in our community. We love to help when we can! Not a member of our community? Contact us to learn how to join!

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3 Community Complainers You’ll Meet and How to Respond

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Running a successful online community inherently means there will be some nay-saying. It’s not the end of the world, but there are some reliable ways to deal with it. Learning what to expect from your community and how to manage complaints within your online community is important. Listening and responding quickly are always your best bet, but let’s get more specific.

These are three common voices that speak out within online communities and here’s how to handle them.

1. The Loudmouth

Okay, this one’s a bit obvious but it’s a major one. When a member loudly, publicly, and angrily complains about anything related to your community it’s time to act fast. Delaying or not checking in frequently will only anger the loudmouth more. Resist the urge to give excuses. Respond both publicly and privately, so he or she gets the attention sought out and also a cohesive answer and promise of resolution in private. Then fix the issue or listen in for more details. Swift action and attention to detail are usually all it takes to calm that member down.

2. The Highroller

These members pay the big bucks and expect the royal treatment. If you’re selling high-end goods or services, these voices are more common within those communities. Again, they’re not interested in excuses though they’ll usually be more cordial about voicing their complaints. Speed and clarity are important. Make them feel like a top client. Use your language and maybe even a small gift of thanks. It shows you’ll always go above and beyond for your best clients and this mistake will never happen again.

3. The Bargainer

This member is always looking for a quick buck (or free one!). They’re complaining specifically to win something for free or get a discount. Don’t give in if that’s not the way you conduct business. Stay empathetic to the complaints, but don’t engage in emotional conversation with this member.

Listen, show you care, and always stay positive when sharing your updates and insight with your community. Genuine compassion goes a long way.

Thanks again for stopping by. We hope this help out. If you have any questions feel free to contact us and if you want to try your hand at creating your very own SocialNetwork, give one of our Free Trials a shot!

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Announcing the FREE phpFox Importer!

SocialEngine Importer for phpFox

Hi everyone! We’ve got some exciting news!

We know that changing platforms can be a stressful time. The decision to change to the award winning SocialEngine platform shouldn’t be. It should be an exciting time inspired by all the new possibilities. As such, we decided to release a FREE phpFox to SocialEngine importer!

Our dedication to excellence is our highest priority, so when developing our phpFox Importer we decided the best way to build it is to utilize phpFox insiders. We worked with two of the best former phpFox staff members, Raymond Benc and Donna Bryant, to bring you the easiest and most complete phpFox importer on the market. The importer was built by Raymond, founder of the phpFox platform and currently one of our Lead Developers while Donna (data66), well known in the phpFox community and our Chief Evangelist, helped with testing.

This importer works on either V3 or V4 versions of the phpFox platform and works with standard core modules. Should you need to add custom modules, feel free to either add them yourself or ask an Expert in our SocialEngine Marketplace.

We would like to welcome you to the family and thank you for choosing SocialEngine to power your community! As an extra bonus, click the link above for the phpFox to SocialEngine importer to learn how to get 10% off your purchase of a SocialEngine license!

A shout out to SocialEngineAddOns as they graciously donated the code base for the new importer which our in-house experts worked on.

Sincerely,
The SocialEngine Team

Posted in Company Updates | 12 Comments

3 Tips For Maintaining Interest-Based Communities

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Humans are tribal by nature. In the long ago and far away, we were born into our tribes. As we became more sophisticated we formed countries and religions, along with other social constructs and hierarchies. Today, though, we have a unique kind of tribe; the sort we choose to join out of interest.

Whether it’s punk rock, model train building, knitting, or a book discussion group, an interest-based community forms around a shared interest. Hence the name. However, keeping the community going takes more than a shared interest. It takes work, and a little creativity. If you want to not only maintain, but expand your community, you should keep these tips in mind.

3 Tips For Maintaining Interest-Based Communities

Tip #1: Make Communication Easy

One of the most important aspects of a community is communication. You need to be able to talk to each other, whether it’s for discussing the latest release from your favorite band, setting up a screening of a film, or sharing tips on how to get the best footage from a drone. Setting up a community social media page, forum, etc. is a good way to bring everyone together, and make sure issues can be raised.

Tip #2: Welcome New People

Think of a comic book store. A young woman walks in wearing her brand new superhero shirt, eager to catch up on the characters she just discovered thanks to the latest blockbuster movie. Despite her obvious enthusiasm, though, there’s a group of guys standing, arms folded, who want her to prove she belongs there. They’re called gatekeepers, and they’re a great way to kill your community.

If your community is built around a shared interest, then you need to welcome everyone you can. Even if they’re new, or are just feeling out your community to see if they’re a good fit. Welcome them with open arms, and nourish their interest. Communities that don’t grow tend to die.

Tip #3: Set Ground Rules

Just because everyone shares an interest, that doesn’t necessarily make you all brothers and sisters in arms. That’s why it’s important to set out rules for your community, and to make sure everyone is aware of them. Whether there’s an age requirement, or a ban on certain topics, or just the general invocation to be polite to one another, you need to set the rules out beforehand. Not only that, but you need to enforce them across the board.

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