What do I know? Journalism, content marketing, community building, viral marketing, social networking. And more. Also: Bacon Queen.
Most of the people who have hundreds of thousands have been on Twitter from nearly Day One and were extremely active, are celebrities of some sort (big-name journalists, actors, musicians, sports figures, etc.), or bought followers.
You have to offer something different, and specialization is a great way to build mass. Friendster and MySpace were open to anyone from the start. It's harder to manage growth of a community in that way.
Facebook, by restricting its use to college students first, then to graduates with alumni email addresses, built a close system of people who were less wary about sharing personal details. By the time they opened to everyone, they already had a very strong user base that liked what they got out of it, but were moving into the "real world" and liked the idea of connecting with other people in their lives.
The lesson to be learned is that doing one thing and doing it well, or doing something for one small subset of people and doing it well, is a great way to develop a strong network effect. The network was built slowly but surely. The other networks took anyone and everyone and became somewhat of a mess.
You need to build your community from the get-go. Start with your beta testers, creating a community where they talk to each other about issues and come to you with ideas, suggestions and bugs. Encourage them to do this, no matter the issue, and respond quickly.
If you develop a community like this from the start, it's very easy to get your users to give advice on improvements and the like. You'll quickly see the beta users who are very involved, and ask them privately for suggestions of other beta users.
Beta users WANT to provide feedback, and they will provide some of the must useful feedback you can get, so long as they see you responding and taking into consideration at least some of their ideas. If you start this in beta, you'll build a community of users who want to help you succeed and want to help you improve your product, for the long haul.
For being alerted to mentions about your business, try Talkwalker and Mention. However, if you want a complete view of how your business is mentioned, a free tool isn't going to cut it in the long run.
Any aspiring entrepreneur should be reading Fred Wilson's blog: http://www.avc.com
Also, the team from All Things D just launched http://recode.net
You need to start getting into conversations with people who are likely to be potential users of the app. Finding related Twitter chats, for example, and getting involved in those chats, asking and answering questions, is a great way to build community and buzz before the product is launched.
This also will help you in your development, as things will come up that will make sense for you to include or exclude from your app, and you will find a great community of beta users as well.
Let me know if you have any further questions or need assistance in this - social community development is a crucial part of any business now, and I speak on the topic often at conferences.
I agree with the others that you need to build your blog with your own content first. Once done, you can seek out communities such as MyBlogGuest, where like-minded bloggers find guest blogging opportunities - and you can find others who may want to contribute to your blog. But anyone you find to guest blog at this point is probably not going to be very high quality, if you don't have your own content.
I have to ask why you would start an agency in an area you don't have much experience in. Perhaps you'd be better off getting at least a little experience first?
There already are some platforms that do this - not specifically for beauty, but in general. Companies pay Triberr for the ability to recruit bloggers who use the platform to write sponsored posts.
Blogdash serves as a platform for bloggers and for companies/brands to connect, so companies can find bloggers to review products (transparently, of course).
So the short answer is, most likely yes. However, you'll want to do more research to see what other platforms there are out there (these are just two that came to mind off the top of my head; I'd imagine there are some others). There's plenty f due diligence to be done yet.
That said, beauty seems to be one of those industries that truly appreciates targeted services - those that are meant specifically for the industry. So I'd encourage you to do more investigating and, as Joseph mentioned in his response, speaking to the potential bloggers and companies you'd be connecting on the platform.
Not to be rude, but it sounds to me as if you're in over your head. It's one thing to stretch and learn on the job; it's another to have no experience, not know what to do, and be managing 14 people. I agree with Maddie and Robbin.
For a news website, WordPress, Drupal or SquareSpace would be the best option. Unless you have a very large budget, building a custom site with a custom CMS doesn't make much sense.
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