We all gather in interconnected clusters. You’ve probably seen a cluster map somewhere. There's an example to the right. Think of it like social groups in a playground. Friends gather in circles of 8 to 12 people, but one of those people might have connections to another group of similar size.

There is a cluster of technology types here in London. If you attract a few of them, it’s much easier to attract the rest. They’re in the same cluster.

If you want to grow an online community, find a good-sized cluster of people. Appeal to 3 – 5 members, then invite their support to help attract the rest. Don’t randomly approach people; target specific clusters of people you want to join.

Once you have about 5 – 10 members of a cluster you can set up sub-groups, develop unique content, and specifically appeal to that cluster of people.

(Image: NodeXL-Collection-Twitter-socialgood_2013-05-14_10-45-00, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from marc_smith's photostream)

comments powered by Disqus

Every few weeks, Ning invites a leading expert to discuss trending topics and best practices for community management. Watch the recordings here.

More than two million people have built a branded social network on Ning. Many of these customers now enjoy thriving online communities. You can find a few of those success stories here.

Learn what it takes to thrive and see what it is possible to achieve with Ning.

Growing a thriving online community is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

Our goal at Ning is to make building a community dead simple. We provide an incredibly reliable, popular, and easy-to-use platform so you can focus on cultivating your community.

Learn how to start your community in minutes.

Have you considered monetizing your community? Download your free copy of Monetizing Online Forums by Patrick O'Keefe to learn what methods are available, how to implement them, and how you can benefit today.