How social media can evolve a site into a community

Building up a site is a long journey with decidedly few shortcuts. It’s no longer about just the site itself, but also about the social reach the site has.

In the case of my latest project Celtics Down Under – I view it not just as a website, but as a brand with three integral components:

  1. the website,
  2. the Twitter handle and
  3. the Facebook page.

The main focus of everything of course, has to do with promoting Celtics Down Under as an Australian community for Boston Celtics fans, nothing else. It’s not about profit or bragging rights. I’m doing it because it’s something that’s noticeably missing, and because I’m a Celtic fan who believes in the unity of Ubuntu.


Website

The website provides the content. Content will be posted on a daily bassis for links to other Celtics content, and random timings for other categories like post-game analysis, opinion columns on players, trades and whatever else.

The site should be designed with a focus on readability, and that’s about all I ask for right now.


Twitter

Twitter is a means of propagating posts to the followers and via various hashtags, and it also serves as a means of interaction with the huge amount of Celtics fans out there. I’m having some amazing conversations with some guys out there, and needless to say they fill up my days with sorely-needed social interaction.

It’s funny how ideas are coming up, but I have got a few ideas on what I need to do on Twitter.

  • Encourage the use of a community hashtag for Australian Celtics fans: I want Aussie Celtics fans to be able to speak on the same channel (i.e. hashtag) without the veritable tweet flood the main hashtags (#Celtics especially) are streaming.

    Therefore, I will be promoting the use of #AussieCeltics in the days to come.

  • Get Australian Celtics fans to follow the Celtics Down Under account: I’m basically trying to gather fans from the main Celtics hashtags to follow the account by tweeting about it daily.

    It’s not a numbers race to forget about them soon as they follow the account, so I have a responsibility to return the follow, reach out and thank each new follower individually with a greet tweet to foster interaction. Whether they respond or not is another kettle of fish altogether, but I will be making an effort at least.

  • Creation of an Aussie Celtics user list: I’m slowly compiling this as people follow the @CelticsDownUnd account. Only people with obviously Australian locations will be added of course.

    In the long run, this should be a fairly visible list of Australian C’s fans.


Facebook

I see Facebook as a community platform for everyone, not just the Twitter users. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m quite sure there are more C’s fans on Facebook than there are on Twitter.

With the Facebook page, fans can view a steady stream of Celtics content that is integrated into their Facebook news feed, rather than having to read 140 character tweets upon tweets from a separate client. Tweets are excellent blurps of easily digested information, but there is a place for everything, and having both easy integration and a “repository” for article links, comments, photos and so on would be convenient for new fans to see that the page is indeed a thriving community.

I have a few goals for the Facebook page.

  • Fresh content: There should be new updates frequently. Not real-time, but as often as I can provide them without killing myself in the process. A one man operation can only go that far, and I’m not planning to die from overwork.
  • Promote interaction: Having fresh content will encourage fans to interact. Nothing kills interest faster than a stale site. Like I was saying earlier today: stale, old news is not news.
  • Spread site awareness: This is where things get a little strange. In Facebook, pages utilise what is commonly known as a S4S (aka Share for Share) system. You share their page on your page, and vice versa. The system however is a little mercenary, calling for equal value trades more than anything else. Value of course, refers to the fan base. There are various ways to increase the fan base, ranging from contests to word of mouth, but I’m trialling a somewhat unorthodox approach – I’m using Twitter to get people onto the Facebook page. It’s still too early to say if this will work, but I believe it should.

This is a fairly lengthy and idealistic discourse for a new site that is less than a month old with less than fifty daily site visits, but this is how I’m planning to do things. My ideas and direction will doubtless shift with time, so it will be interesting to document this journey to see how much deviation/non-deviation occurred.

To wrap this article off – it’s all about banner 18! Ubuntu today, my green-goggled brethren.

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