The key to translating your likes, follows and shares from a hashtag to an identity network is reframing your definition of success from big numbers alone to one that includes, at its core, a more deeply engaged community of your most motivated fans or followers. Once you wrap your mind around this, the mechanics of growing an identity network are straightforward:

It’s about them, not you.
If you want to build real connections and sustained engagement between members, share the spotlight. At Mightybell, as we’ve introduced new features like polls, questions and groups, we’ve seen the percentage of contributing members double across our roughly 50,000 networks. More contributing members trigger more interesting and diverse notifications that bring more members back frequently. Then, as more of your members engage in the network, you as the host can step back and see a self-organizing community emerge.

Encourage members to share ideas, stories and experiences, not advice.
The one thing dead communities have in common? Advice. It’s not inviting as a reason to join a new network. Much more inviting are similar people sharing their practical ideas, stories, experiences and current dilemmas with each other in a convenient mobile app. Create the conditions for sharing stories and practical ideas, and your network will become more valuable almost immediately.

Choose icebreakers over listicles.
The biggest mistake we see over and over again is a host repurposing generic “content” they’ve created for content marketing. The sad truth is that a listicle built to drive sharing on LinkedIn doesn’t spark conversation among new members in a community.

Rather, we’ve seen dramatically better results with a portfolio of conversation starters — or “engagement strategies” — that seek to offer members multiple ways of contributing to and participating in the network.

Likes, shares, views, hashtags and follows are no way to organize in a live, social and mobile-first world. Given the intelligence of software and the sophistication of algorithms, they are downright pedestrian. To build powerful, effective, sustained communities, we need to think beyond them. Identity networks are already unlocking new connections across the three billion-strong graph of humans on mobile. The technology is here. The only thing you need is to know who you’re going to bring together.