This month our staff got the chance to catch up with Dean Jones, creator of Godinterest. We got to sit down and discuss what it meant to run your own community and gained some great community management insight!
What is Godinterest?
Godinterest is a Christian social media site created in June 2014. Its purpose is to promote Christian values and facilitate spiritual inspiration through the sharing of photographs and other media in the style of Pinterest. Its content includes media about Christian history, personal family-oriented stories and various content from a Christian viewpoint. According to Quantcast, Godinterest received more than seven thousand visits in its first month of activity and reached more than six thousand users monthly. Furthermore, its users tend to be young adults from the middle class. Females outnumber males, (55% to 45%).
How long have you been running it?
Just over 1 year now. We stumbled across the SocialEngine CMS in 2012 when working on a couple of social networks for clients and really liked it, however, we had already committed to other CMS’s. After building three large successful social networks between 2010 – 2014 (using phpfox, pligg and boonex with social apps), we were utterly fed up with all the bugs we encountered. We’ve been in the web development business for over 20 years, so we know a thing or two about developing websites using almost every CMS available on the market today. Back then, we already had the idea of creating a photo-sharing site, but were still developing the concept; and were not satisfied with what the other popular CMS providers were offering. We then re-visited the SocialEngine in January 2014 and were overly impressed with the new cloud product offering and decide to visualize and conceptualize Godinterest.com using SocialEngine.
What did we like about SocialEngine?
A match made in heaven we like to say. SocialEngine offered us what none of the other CMS’s could in that it enabled us to setup a high quality website quickly and efficiently, with minimal technical knowledge and a fit-for-purpose template, enabling us then to concentrate on one of the most important aspects of building a successful social network; namely concept, promotion and marketing. We have seen so many failed social networking websites. This happened because the community manager did not consider target audience and promotion. If you’re running a niche website then it may not appeal to everyone so you need to target a certain audience.
Setting up a successful website?
Setting up Godinterest.com was a breeze. Because of the concept, it didn’t take long before we started to attract a lot of media attention. To date, Godinterest.com has been featured in the Huffington Post (USA), Evening Standard (UK), The Washington Post (USA), The Birmingham News and over twenty other notable news sources. Apart from social marketing, our blog is one of the best things we ever started, where we have a following of over 15,000 people. On the day we were featured on Huffington Post, our website received over 100,000 page views and over 2,000 users in 2 days and stayed online. So if you’re a community manager wondering if SocialEngine cloud is built to scale, we have just answered your question.
A community manager’s job is”¦ never done
Before you attempt to start a community, know that it’s going to be hard work and that your work is never done. We’ll say this again, a website is never finished. If it is to be successful, you will need to update it frequently. The community will need to be monitored daily. It may be quiet at times, and you may need to get involved in community discussions and debates in order to get the community buzzing. We spend considerable time monitoring the website, moderating posts etc. You may need to monitor content if you have certain topic restrictions. If not, just let the discussions run themselves. Our website has categories and we continually review these to ensure members are posting in the right place. As not everyone in this day-and-age is tech-savvy, you will need to be on hand so your users can reach out to you directly for help.
Favorite moment when setting up the community?
This had to be when we started to attract real media attention. It was exciting, but not all media attention is positive. You have to learn to take the good with the ugly. A good media expert told us: “There’s no such thing as bad media.”
What inspired us to setup the website?
Well we have a deep belief in God and wanted to create a central resource for all. A friend of ours, who happens to be an atheist, asked me where he could purchase a Bible. We stated that Amazon or eBay might be a good starting place. However, wouldn’t it be great if everybody could go to one location and find and create lists of what they wanted? The idea grow from there.
What are your future plans?
We plan to continue to grow the network and add more features. We’re really looking forward to launching both iPhone and Android apps once the SocialEngine API has been upgraded.
… we have a small favour to ask. Hundreds of people are turning to Godinterest for open, independent, quality devotionals every day, and readers in over 50 countries around the world have subscribed to us. In these perilous times, a truth-seeking ministry like Godinterest is essential. We have no shareholders or billionaire owners, meaning our writing is free from commercial and political influence – this makes us different. When it’s never been more important, support Godinterest from as little as $1 – it only takes a minute. If you can, please consider supporting us with a regular amount each month. Thank you.