11 February 2009

The Method We've used to build a 3,000-strong virtual community in less than 2 weeks

1. Keyword search at Flickr.com, looking for Groups and specific individuals interested in stuff that we have a lot of in The Concrete Jungle Book:

Streetart & graffiti creators & afficionados
Edgy Scrapbookers
Comics creators & lovers
Graphic Novelists & fans
Novels of High-Adventure
Classic Literature for Young Readers
The Jungle Book
martial arts
nonhuman communications & consciousness
therapeutic dolphin encounters
South Dallas/Oak Cliff, Texas
troubled teens

2. We created some Flickr groups and started inviting people to join.

3. Using the same keywords, we searched the Twitter archive, found people with Profiles that suggested they might be interested in some of these topics, studied their linked Web sites to make a further determination.

4. We started following these tweeps, interacting with them as possible, retweeting items of interest for our followers. Some of them responded, followed back. Some didn't. So we move on, searching for more people, following, no spam but instead a personal effort to connect, move on if interaction doesn't follow.

All evidence suggests that 1 person and a time, we are meeting a lot of cool people who share our core interests. As we begin interacting and learning from each other at Twitter, some of them wind up visiting our site at http://TheConcreteJungleBook.com, where traffic has increased dramatically in the past 2 weeks.

It's hard work, and I can't see how to automate the most important part: studying social media Profile pages and Web sites to see if people appear likely to want to be in touch with us in the first place.

Nothing I hate more than a "cold call", thus we've developed this method to get in touch with people who may have a genuine interest in hearing from us – but without spam or other heavy-handed tactics.

So far, it seems to be working. A small but thriving community that's growing hourly.

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