Why Private Online Communities Are the "New Black"

Maya Paveza Director of Outreach & Community, Follr.com Communities

Posted on June 11th 2014

Why Private Online Communities Are the "New Black"

You have a website, you have a blog, you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, WhatsApp, FourSquare, Klout, and so on. How much time and resources do you allocate to maintaining ALL those platforms? Why are we sending our communities on social media treasure hunts to find the latest information we are sharing. Isn’t it time to do things better, more effectively and consolidate it all into a single place?

In today’s fast paced world of social networking time truly equates to money, and obsolescence can happen in moments. Forget about neglecting a platform, all the hard won fans won’t be there when you turn back around again. So what is a busy social media executive supposed to do?

Take a lesson from some of the big boys as they shift their focus away from the traditional website and move toward "Website 3.0".

Imagine... if you could integrate all your social network accounts into your website seamlessly and effortlessly, incorporate a forum style discussion board for improving customer service and retention, and then sprinkle in media sharing with videos and images.

Let’s not forget the blog, content is still King no matter what those predicting the death of content will tell you. Imagine that just posting an update or sharing a video filtered automatically to all your peripheral sites, then aggregated the content right back onto your site via your social wall.

That’s what is happening now. The focus on efficiency and elimination of the duplication or processes that eat away at corporate revenue is fast becoming the “new black” in corporate social media strategies.

Before you protest and cringe at the cost of a completely new website deployment consider the following... There are turnkey solutions available NOW that allow even the most technical Neanderthal to build their own online community website in under 10 minutes.

I have spent a lot of time recently, exploring some of the popular options currently available, I was a fan of Ning from when they first began, I saw the incredible potential for a business to really work those sites and create what I envisioned would be the perfect website meet social networking platform. Fast forward to today, and I found my McDreamy of a website answer in Follr.

If you are an observer of tech and social media trends, and the daily new buzzing topic, you will notice the term “private social network” becoming more and more frequently used. This is a broad definition of a category of products currently available, many have a few features mentioned above, but few have all those features as well as dynamic features and frequent user suggested additions to service.

Follr, with what I believe is the ultimate solution to “Socialize your website,” is a relatively “new kid” on the block, established in 2011 it has taken off amongst a savvy set in Silicon Valley (and me, over here in Delaware) who recognize the potential this hybrid offering has. What started as a professional networking site also includes some amazing features for individual digital identity profiles which allow the user to customize their own “story” as well as share their social postings.

Community Matters when Building an Online Community

Eagerly anticipated since last Fall was the addition of Follr Communities. These are unlike any of the otherprivate social networks or online communities currently available. For instance, NOW California built a community to help their mission of labor rights and women’s rights and initiatives. Other examples are communities for NBC The Voice, HBO’s Game of Thrones, Huffington Post, and my personal favorite a Community Managers Community (say that 10 times fast). And even better, each community has a social wall - where you can follow connected profiles from a multitude of platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Wordpress and more.

All the other kids are doing it, why shouldn’t you? Is often the mantra in the social media world. In this case you really can

For instance with Follr you can go from no community to your own private online community in less than 10 minutes. Fully integrated, totally scalable and visually pleasing, a Follr Communities Website can do a lot of things that your Facebook page can’t do, like replace your antiquated website.

So if you want to have a leg-up on the competition (for once), I strongly encourage you to create your free Follr account and build your own community, you won’t be disappointed (I guarantee it, I like it so much I begged for a job to help people discover my obsession, Follr).


Maya Paveza

Director of Outreach & Community, Follr.com Communities

Maya Paveza is the Director of Outreach and Community for http://www.Follr.com home of vibrant social communities known as Follr Communities.  She enjoys writing and creating new and innovative ways to utilize social networks to build community and provide services.

Maya, also known as mayaREguru in the Real Estate vertical, has been involved in social media since it's infancy.   She began using early social networks in the form of Bulletin Board Systems, in 1981.  She was born at Stanford University and lived in Palo Alto, California until 1983, at which time her Family relocated to what she dubs "Great Gatsby Land" also known as the North Shore of Long Islands Nassau County, New York.

Maya morphed her online experiences into her career beginning in the late 1980's by becoming active in a variety of online games and other chat style communities.  In the early 1990's she had the honor of helping run ChaosMUD with Josef Hall and J. Todd Coleman.  Hall and Coleman went on to create Wizard101 and Pirate101, two of the most successful massively multi-user online games in history, focused on safe use for children.

In the mid-1990's Maya took her background of Graphic Design and Visual Psychology and began working as a Wed Designer and Developer.  Some of her work included websites for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, WingspanBank.com, FirstUSA, BankOne, and AIG for which her team won a Smithsonian Award for Innovation in 1998.  Maya continued consulting while she got her real estate license and worked toward combining her two first loves, technology, online interaction and real estate.  In 2008 Maya discovered Twitter, to which she quickly became inseparable from.

By 2010 Maya had well established herself as a leading thinker in social media, with a strong inclination toward Twitter.  She appeared at multiple 140 Character Conferences including events in New York City, Detroit and Washington DC.   Maya worked with the team at Human Business Works, including Rob Hatch, Liz Stewart and Chris Brogan, to create The Hip Roof, a social media educational community and forum for the real estate industry.  She continued to speak at a variety of events nationally, including in front of 2500 Real Estate Agents at a conference in Las Vegas.  She contributed to a number of websites like RETechnology.com and also ran social media accounts for companies like CoreLogic, and others (under NDA).

As she was preparing to accept a high profile position as a Director of Social Media for an International Company in late 2011 she had a freak accident while figure skating with her daughter and "disappeared" from social media for more than four months.   She continued consulting and working behind the scenes with clients, but wasn't able to focus on social media and her earlier efforts until 2013 when as recovered from her broken hip and shattered arm as she would be, she could spend the time needed typing and sitting at her desk.

Maya has always had a focus on risk management and analysis for companies using social networks and platforms, investing a lot of time in helping create training programs for customer services activities on social channels for a number of high profile clients.  She continues to consult, and in her current position is also a consultant.


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Laura Pyne
Posted on June 11th 2014 at 8:18AM

I could not agree more. In fact, http://SocialHubSite.com is an option for brands looking to build private communities (similar to how Follr allows individuals to connect) to engage their target audiences  in a more personal, branded manner, just as you discuss above. Private social communities are the new black. Right on point, Maya!