I whip up a social network for my own SCORE Chicago community using Ning, to practice what I am preaching. Now I find myself trying to sharply define and communicate its value to potential users and my organization.
Sample Value Proposition of a Niche Social Network
The purposes of the SCORE Chicago Community site, which has not yet been approved by SCORE Chicago, are threefold:
- To give counseling clients who have had 2 or more counseling sessions a place to showcase their businesses to other small business owners, and to the public. Links here should also help their own website rankings in internet search.
- To motivate potential clients to ask for business counseling so they can become a part of the community.
- To encourage a community to hatch around shared interests of Chicago entrepreneurs and small business owners.
No revenue objectives, but I suppose Adsense might support any bandwidth charges.
It becomes clear to me as I demo the site to my associates that in order to interest people in joining, potential users need to understand the basics. And of course they need to believe that it will be worth their time and effort to create a page and visit.
With those objectives in mind, I create a post to explain its benefits on my LearnedAtSCORE blog:
Check out this Community for SCORE Chicago Clients
Benefits of Social Networks for a Community?
I’m soliciting feedback on this explanation of the site and its benefits from selected clients and counselors. And from you. If I get encouragement and approval from above, I’ll start a campaign to notify appropriate clients in our database.
Meanwhile, what do you think? Will small business owners want to put up pages to describe their businesses to a broad market? Will features like Groups allow them enough visibility in target markets? (Ning FAQs say that keyword tags are coming, but not available yet) Will people ask for business counseling to become a part of this community? Do entrepreneurs and small business owners feel a need to network?
Your thoughts? Please post.
What are good value propositions for niche social networks?
P.S. Ning means “peace” in Chinese, according to Ning’s site. Not the ethos you expect to find where passionate people gather to discuss and debate.
See all 18 Posts in This Series
How to Create a Social Networking Website Series has 18 posts on various aspects of this topic.