We build social sites as a focal point for user-generated content. These sites require an ongoing user base, technical functionality and dedication from the site owners. Without any one of these, the site likely fails.
Users… these are the key contributors to your site. Users bring with them experience, curiosity, interests and friends. They ask questions, answer questions and post about their experiences. They have a desire for the latest news, events and offerings. Users share the information on the site.
Functionality… to engage your users. Users read, share and comment on content. They often post news, events and photos. Most are open to creating a social profile. The site functionality needs those features and a solid user experience to encourage them to participate. Other features help the site owners learn from the community including challenges, polls and surveys.
Dedication… to adapt to your users and keep your site fresh. Community managers keep a pulse on the community. Community managers help write content and disseminate information, often gleamed from external sites like Twitter. Community managers respond to content issues, sometimes of which is spam, user content that is deemed inappropriate, or disorganized information. Community managers share in the experience.
Through dedication and functionality, users often give the site a life of their own. Trust between users and site owners is important.