One night, you go to a party in a place you haven't been to before. You enter the house and everybody is going about their business... you go in, have a drink get some food and still nobody talks to you... eventually, you leave.
One night, you go to a party in a place you haven't been to before. You enter and, no sooner have you finished opening the door you are greeted by someone, bidding you welcome! You are shown where things are (not that you couldn't find the food or the drinks by yourself, but you get the idea...)
Which party would be more memorable to you?
I hope you answered "2". :)
This is the basics of the idea behind treating your members as guests in a party where you are the guest. While your network is small, this is a task that you should do yourself.
There are some networks that are well over 10,000 members in size and still the network creator takes it upon him/herself to greet every new member, but there's a chance this may become a bit overwhelming. So, in cases like these, I am going to recommend you set up a group of members to help you with the task.
On TuDiabetes (and EsTuDiabetes) we created a Welcome Committee (which later evolved into the Care Team). Nowadays, it's a group of 122 members who take turns to greet new members, show them the link to the Welcome Center (we call it the New Member Guide) and answer any immediate questions they may have. The group has evolved into a team that comes to the "rescue" if any of our members seem like they are in need of extra support (since ours is a network for people touched by diabetes, health issues appear left and right).
Typically, members will feel welcomed AND grateful to have entered a space where they were not only alone (clearly in the first party you were not alone, were you?) but they didn't FEEL alone, which is VERY important!
Here is a video we did inviting people to join in the Welcome Committee and telling them how to go about welcoming new members:
Find more videos like this on TuDiabetes
P.S. As you will notice in the video, another way in which a Welcome Team can help you is by keeping an eye on new members.