Origination story: Launching a New SMB Website
I never knew there were so many moving parts!
I’m an old fashioned guy. I don’t code. I don’t program. I barely know how to use Photoshop. But I do know how to create an idea for the web – and you’re looking at it right now. This is a short condensed version of how SocialMediopolis.com has developed over the years.
I launched this website in 2009 as a defensive measure to back up my LinkedIn group that I started a year earlier. That group had grown to 30,000 people and I was pretty sure it was going to be successful. How successful exactly I didn’t know. I certainly didn’t anticipate it growing to almost 2,000,000 members back then. So this site was essentially an afterthought, but I thought it was important to demonstrate at least a working understanding if not exactly ‘thought leadership’ in social media. But it quickly became apparent that I – now “we” by that time, because I brought on my son to help manage the group – needed to get serious. So we added a Facebook page, a Twitter account and set up Dlvr.it to distribute articles. I thought “OK, we’re done.” LOL, little did I know.
In 2015, we got a huge dose of reality when LinkedIn made some major changes to their groups, and took away a whole bunch of administrator rights and tools. This caused us enormous agita & anxiety, resulting in us yelling a lot of words that did not start with ‘a’. But having no choice, we realized it was time to start seriously looking at protecting our IP and leadership position in social media. We started to get serious about building SocialMediopolis.com into a real community.
The first adventure was porting over our badly designed and ineffectual first website to a new development platform, Joomla. Our part-time head designer and developer, Alex, recommended it. I thought it sounded like a brand of underwear (Joomla, Fruit of the Loom!) but since I knew nothing and he knew everything, I gave the ok. A few weeks later (ok, a few months later), we had a more robust site with more functionality. And more moving parts.
We added a community extension, SSL, an integrated email program, a blog and a few other features. And then a month ago, the proverbial manure hit the turbine. LinkedIn announced further changes that basically killed their groups. So ten years of dedicated effort was torched almost immediately. So we had no choice: pivot or die.
With virtually no lead time, we had to re-invent the company and create a new revenue stream. Our annual user demographic survey showed that the sweet spot we serviced is the SMB/SME market. Doing a further deep dive into the audience makeup showed two primary sectors: social media marketers, and small businesses trying to leverage social media to build their businesses. The two different camps need each other to succeed, but we couldn’t find any website or service that truly bridged that gap… and viola! Our new business model became clear: connect the two.
So here we are. We had to scramble like crazy to implement a paid subscription plan, merchant payment system, credit card processing, new Terms & Conditions, an entire backend email system for customer support and updated look & feel to the website. In just weeks, not months. SocialMediopolis.com 2.0 is what you are viewing now.
We’d love your feedback and reaction. And of course, we’d love it more if you help spread the word to your friends, colleagues and networks. Like you, we are now an independent SMB ourselves, building this business by helping you succeed in building yours.
Here are other ways you can participate with our community:
Here’s to your success, Mike