One of the most successful niche communities is for graphic designers. One of the reasons for its success is its strange appearance.
Dribbble.com was founded by Rich Thornett, a designer who had hoped to play pro basketball. His love of the sport permeates the community. Potential members are “prospects.” They’re “drafted” as “players” at which point they make their “debuts.” Uploads are “shots.” Follow-ups to those shots are called “rebounds” when they come from the same designer, and “playoffs” when they come from other designers.
It’s a quirky set-up which gives the community a unique identity. Coupled with the community’s exclusive membership system which turns older members into mentors of new members, the result is a community whose membership is valued.
Your community should feel exclusive and different. It should look exclusive and different.
People should understand that this isn’t a social network for everyone but only for people like them. When you see that conversations are drifting away from the core of your topic, break those members off into a sub-community.
Give your private social network a unique look and feel. It will make your members feel closer to you and to each other, and keep them engaged.
That’s all for now! In the next post, the difference between contribution and commitment.