Thank you for choosing SocialEngine to power your social network community. The SocialEngine platform is a powerful tool that enables you to have your own social network the way you want it. This article explains the basic steps needed to configure your social network using the SocialEngine platform.
Management of your social network is done from the Admin Panel. This is for plugins, layout, members, and all other settings. As a first step, we recommend that you take time to access the Admin Panel with your Super Admin user and explore each section.
As the admin, you can create multiple membership levels on your social network. Member Levels are useful for giving some members more privileges or more access than others. Grant or restrict access to features and specific sections of the community, or even give a membership level moderation or administrative capabilities to help you maintain your social network.
We recommend that you plan your member levels and set them before you officially launch your website. This will save your members confusion and reduce trouble from moving members around after.
Add additional features to your social network by enabling the plugins that you have purchased from the SocialEngine Marketplace. You can choose to let your members share music, post photos, and more.
When starting a site, you may have a lot of things on your wish list. Since a new site can be hard for new members to navigate at first, it’s best to keep site features at a minimum and give your members time to get used to a few features. Once you have more members, you can gradually introduce new features. This also helps give you new “toys” to excite your members as they see you improving the site.
There are a lot of settings to help you manage your site. We’ll provide some tips for some of them.
General Settings - The General Settings page affects your entire community. This is where you can set your site to “Maintenance Mode” while you are setting it up. We recommend doing this step so that you can set up the site without people joining. You’ll also want to set your “Site Title,” “Site Description” and other SEO relevant settings, Google Analytics ID, and also set the site privacy specific settings.
Locale Settings - The Locale Settings page allows you to select certain default options for the date and time settings of your social network. It’s a good idea to do this during your site setup steps.
Spam and Banning Tools - Configure the Spam and Banning Tools page to manage anti-spam and censorship features. We highly recommend doing this step during site setup in order to keep your site from being flooded with spam when you open.
Speed - Social networking websites generate a lot of activity on a server. You want to make sure that you have sufficient resources available to handle that activity.
Google Analytics - Setup Google Analytics to track the traffic of your site.
Signup Process - This is a very important step. The signup process is the first interaction a member will have with your site. You need to ensure that this is set up how you want it. Try to avoid making long, complicated signup forms as it can deter members from joining. You can always have profile questions show up after signup, on the member’s profile.
Profile Questions - Control what questions people have to answer when they sign up and create their profile. SocialEngine comes with many common questions such as "Country", "City", "Age", and "Relationship Status" for you to insert easily, with the option to create your own custom profile questions as well.
After adding profile questions to the signup process, test signing up to your site and see how smooth the process is. If you find it’s too difficult, now is the time to make adjustments.
Activity Feed Settings - The recent activity feed is an auto-updating list of actions that have recently occurred on your social network. This information is displayed (by default) on the member’s "My Home" page. Also, each member's own personal activity list will be displayed on their profile page.
SocialEngine has a lot of controls for what appears in the activity feed. You’ll want to determine which things will be beneficial for your community and which things you can disable. Keeping your activity feed relevant to your community will keep your members happy.
Friendship Settings - Determine your social network's friendship settings by establishing who can become friends, the friendship direction (one-way or two-way friendships), friendship verification, and whether or not members may group friends into lists.
Mail Template - Various notification emails are sent to your members as they interact with the community. Use the mail template form to customize the content of these emails.
Mail Settings - From the Mail Settings menu in your admin control panel, you can set the name and email address from which you would like admin correspondence to be sent, change email queuing settings, and select which server to use for outgoing mail. We suggest using transactional mail services such as Sendgrid, Sparkpost, etc. Using transactional mail services for outgoing mail can ensure site mails don’t go to the spam folder and also can protect your server IP from getting blacklisted in case emails get marked as spam accidentally by members.
Facebook Integration - You can allow your members to log in to your social network and post content to their Facebook wall from within SocialEngine. You can do the same with Twitter. We also have a Janrain Integration if you want to offer more social log in options.
Creating Your Own Theme - Themes are skins that can help you apply a face-lift to your site without having to modify anything inside SocialEngine's core. Along with the layout editor in the admin, you can customize your site quite a bit without having to touch any PHP or HTML files. Themes only affect the styling part of your site, so all you need is some basic CSS knowledge and you can start tweaking your site right away.
Third-Party Themes - Check out some of the great themes and templates created by third-party Expert developers for an attractive starting point for your own custom design.
Add a Custom Logo - A logo can really help define your niche and set your community apart from competitors. If you have a logo, now is the perfect time to add it to your site. If not, you might want to make one or have one made for you.
Customize Your Site Header and Footer - Use the Layout Editor in the SE admin panel to change your site header/footer or edit the global template directly. This is another nice touch in establishing your niche community or setting an overall site look.
Menu Editor - The menu editor allows you to fully configure menus for your community. It’s best to do this during the setup process. You may want to add and change menus to match your site niche.
Language Manager - You can completely translate your SocialEngine site into a different language, or simply change a phrase. If your site will be multi-lingual, this can be an important step. It can also be done later on if you need to wait for a language pack to be finished.
You can completely rearrange most areas of the site without having to write any code. Choose a one, two, or three-column layout for each page and drop widgets into each column. This determines what content appears on your community and where it appears in the member’s view. This step should be done during set up as it can confuse members if they get used to things a certain way and then you change where things are.
New Page - You can create new pages from the Layout Manager in your admin panel. For example, you could make an About page, Site Info, Tutorials, or other such pages.
Great work configuring your site! Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need further tutorials. Visit our community to have more interactions with us and other clients or third party developers. We’d love to see you there!