Import Members: The Fastest Way To Start Your Own Social Network
There’s nothing sadder than an empty social network — just ask anyone on Google+, if you can find anyone there. But building up members and forming them into an active community can take time. We explain exactly how to do it in our eBook “The Secrets of Successful Online Communities.”
Luckily, JomSocial’s latest version, 4.1, has a neat trick to make starting your community super-easy.
JomSocial now allows you to import members from other platforms right into your JomSocial community. You can import them into your general community, to existing groups and events, and you even put them in more than one group and event at a time.
For anyone with a current membership list, that makes life very easy. An artist, for example, might have a list of subscribers made up people who have shown an interest in his work. He could import that list into JomSocial and turn those leads and customers into a real art community.
Of course, importing members only works with an engaged list. Only import people who are likely to want to be a member of your community, and always let them know how to delete their profile.
How It Works
All you need is a CSV file made up of first name, last name and email address. JomSocial will then import the members and add them to any groups and events you select. Each member receives an automated email informing them of their JomSocial username (their email address) and their password.
Customize The Welcome Email
Begin with that Welcome email. JomSocial provides an email template for your list but you should take the time to customize it. You know your members. You know their interests. Tell them that you’ve started a social network for people just like you, explain how they can log in, how they can change their avatar and cover photo, and how they delete their account if they want to. Encourage them to participate and enjoy the community.
How to customize the Welcome email:
You can customize the Welcome email using overrides:
- Go to Extensions Manager -> Languages.
- Select “Overrides.” The option is on the left of the page (1).
- Switch to “Administrator” (2).
- Click “New” (3).
- Select “Constant” and search for this constant: COM_COMMUNITY_EMAIL_IMPORT_USER_WELCOME_BODY
- Click the result.
- Copy the content on the left and paste it into an HTML editing tool.
- Add copy, links and images as needed.
- Copy the HTML back into the variable.
Note that the Welcome email won’t send if you haven’t already set up a Cron Job. You can learn how to activate your Cron Job in this tutorial.
Testing Your Welcome Email
To test your email before sending it to your list:
- Download this CSV file, replacing the first row with your first name, last name and email address.
- Login to the JomSocial backend.
- Go to Monitor -> Members.
- Click the button marked “Import Members from CSV”.
- Select your CSV.
- Select any groups or events you want to choose. You can select more than one group or event by pressing the Control button on Mac or Command on PC.
- Click “Submit” and check your mailbox.
You should receive your email and be able to see it exactly as your members will see it. Keep tweaking the HTML until you’re happy, re-enter the override you created earlier and test it again. You want that email to pull members in and make them active.
Written A Perfect Email? Add And Invite Your Members
When you’re happy with the email, import your CSV containing the details of all your members using the steps described above. You will see a list of all the users you’ve added on the members page.
Post On Your Community
You don’t want your new members to see an empty community, so publish some posts and ask existing members to join in the fun. As new members join, welcome them personally and engage with them.
You’ll be well on your way to a thriving community!
For more documenation about import/export feature on JomSocial, please visit this page.