If you want to give your members a tool to use for showing where their posts and content are geolocated, here is a tool for you. Use this static map generator tool to create an embed code for adding maps to your posts, pages and groups or virtually any post on Ning 3.0 networks using this tool. Code is below for adding your own to a site.
I know there have been post on why not to send your users to facebook and I may have mis read or not understood but one thing I know for sure is that we are starting to see more members and people actually blogging more on our site then ever before. In the last 2 days we got 11 people to join. We have been trying hard to control the spam so I would say maybe 2 out of the 11 could be spammers but most we can see that they like our page on facebook.
Make it simple and put in the work to talk to people who like your page on FB, invite them to join your Ning site. With the new like page profile update you can see and do allot more. Everyone who likes our page we "TRY" to send them a thank you and to check out our NING site. On our ning we ask how did they hear about SwurvRadio and guess what they say :) not myspace....If you don't put in the work to get people to your site stop complaining about nobody coming to your site. I'm personally up at 6am daily promoting, engaging and networking...We are not even close to this is 50 or sites like that but I can see the fruit of my team as well as my labor.
I can't remember this guys name but he was a great programmer that I met in SF years ago at some apple convention and he said "if you don't break it your not gonna know how to fix it" Basically try everything...look at what other sites are doing and do what they are doing but make it your own. Do it better. Try something different do research on your competitor, google 100 sites like yours and look at what they are doing and see what you can do to stand out.
When we first started I had over 200 employees and I personally spent more money developing Swurv over that past 6 years than I thought I would. Paying a programmer thousands for a site that never got developed I had to think how can we have some sort of online presence and along came NING. We aggressively put our site together and within days we have almost 2-300 people join and it went nuts from there. But that wasn't because we didn't Hustle. We got out and promoted with flyers and word of mouth and just about anything we could do to get where we are today. I can honestly say I'm almost as excited about The new ning as I was when we first got on the platform. Whatever kind of site you have, if you believe in it...DO NOT WAIT FOR PEOPLE TO COME TO YOUR SITE, MAKE THEM! GO GET EM! BREAK SOMETHING & figure out how to fix it..You might Discover something new.
I know I'm rambling now but I hope this helps anyone struggling with there site. I always tell my djs "I would rather have 1 really good dj than 35 who don't do Shit" How many ever members you have treat them like they are #1 and they will bring people to your site"
Encourage members to welcome new members, by introducing new members yourself to get the ball rolling. Put a link to each new member's profile in a broadcast message along with a brief description of the new member.
Suggest that members to welcome new members by posting a comment on their profiles or by sending friend requests with a personal message.
Here's an email that I recently sent to my group. You can modify it to suit your network.
- - - - Example Broadcast Message - - - -
New Members are constantly joining ProGuildsocial.com -- please welcome them!
You can do that by posting a comment on their profile or by sending a Friend Request.
Be sure to add a personal message when sending a Friend Request.
Steve Hall -- Intelligent, funny, busy. Steve enjoys Live Concerts. Travel. Dancing. Motorcycles Runs. Auto Shows.Roller Coaster Rides, Table Dancing, Strawberrys & Whipcream, MotorCycle Ride.Pizza & Beer.- - - -
Lisa Thompson, sweet, nice, friendly Lisa enjoys going to the movies, reading, hanging out w/friends,going out to dinner and a movie.
Chandra Flores -- pretty, thick, and brown
Chandra enjoys dancing, tennis, bike riding, laying by the water with a good book to read or good company, walking,and traveling, going to the beach on date with a picnic basket full of tasty treats, toys(for example, Hula Hoop, Frisbee).
Shontae -- Funny, Sweet, and Large & Lovely.
Shontae enjoys live music/concerts, the beach on a sunny day, and day trips to new places and/or festivals.On a date, she likes to relax, be herself, and just have fun.
Matt Vega -- fun exciting witty loves photography and editing as well as taking walks and spending time with people
Latoya -- Fun, Funny, Fantastick
Latoyya enjoys dancing and singing
Loyd -- adventurous, self-assured, intelligent
She enjoys having some fun times with another adult, making new friends, and exploring new places/interests.
On a date she likes doing something out of the ordinary.- - - -
- - - End of Example Broadcast Message - - -
To help you members understand how to send friend requests and post comments, you might want to make a video with voice over. A free program for making such videos is available from
http://www.techsmith.com/jing/ -- here's a video that I made for my members.
To your success.
Director of Professionals Guild
- What are the problems and symptoms we are facing?
- What are the opportunities and impacts that could be made?
- What are our values and what do we want to achieve and for whom?
- What data is available to us that shows what is currently going on?
- Who or what organizations are currently addressing these problems or opportunities?
- What strategies and tactics have been effective at addressing these problems or opportunities?
- What are are we going to do?
- What resources do we need to support our action?
- Who is going to support/managing the action we are going to take?
- When are we going to take this action?
- How are we going to record action we took?
- What Key Performance Indicators are we going to track?
- How are we going to acknowledge and reward action and results?
- Do it.
- Record it.
- Report it.
- What did we actually get done?
- What did we get done vs. what we planned we do?
- How did the getting it done go?
- What was the feedback?
- What can we learn?
- What do we recommend we do differently next time?
- If you've done something like this before, is there another existing proven framework we should evaluate? If so which one(s)?
- Are we missing anything or should would you remove something? If so which and why?
- Any other questions you think I should be asking or something I should know?
Running a webinar is easy and a great way to get member involvement, have fun, and make money thorugh your network. I have attempted several methods of generating revenue through my network and running webinars (Online Seminars) has proven to be one of the most effective. Below are the steps I took to conduct a webinar:
1. What do your members want?
Focusing the webinar on a "hot" topic is key to the success of your webinar. Find out what your members want most by conducting a survey using a service like Survey Monkey (it is free and easy). You can also get ideas from looking at popular forum discussions, or, a special interest group that generates a lot of activity.
2. Find the expert on the subject.
Finding the expert on the subject you choose will get your members excited about the event and give them confidence that it is worth the money. The expert could be a well-known author, a professor, or blogger. They could even be a member of your network!
3. Choose a Webinar Service.
The webinar service is where you schedule and conduct your webinar. Out of all the options, GoToWebinar is the easiest, most reliable and affordable. Two others are Webex and DimDim. Webex was waaayyy too expensive and DimDim did not offer great tech support.
Collecting payments via Eventbrite is easy and free to setup. They take a minimal % of ticket sales, so they only make money when you make money. Eventbrite also allows you to integrate the ticket forms into your website for a seamless, branded experience.
5. Promote. Promote. Promote.
The success of your webinar hangs on the hinges of how well you promote the event. Just creating an event page on your network is not enough. If you build it, they will not come until you invite them. Share your event with your members on a progressive basis. Start promoting the event at least a month in advance and remind your members at two weeks, then one week, then one day... you get the idea. Send out a press release. Create an affiliate program (again via Eventbrite) and ask people to help spread the word via blogging, facebook, and twitter.
6. Prepare for Game Day.
GoToWebinar has a feature that allows you to practice your webinar before the actual day. It is a good idea to go through a practice run before the actual event.
7. Have Fun!
I hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to share your experiences with conducting webinars in the comments below.
The Ning social network we used in our BYU Comms230 class this semester was a useful tool that was wholeheartedly embraced and endorsed by class members. Powerful, intuitive social media tools aren’t just for marketing. They represent and facilitate fundamental shifts in human interaction—shifts that can improve university learning.
>>> 43 out of 43 students said such a network would be helpful in ALL of their classes.
>>> The following few quotes represent hundreds of positive comments from class members:
“The network took class discussions and extended them into online conversations.”
“Seeing my classmates’ work sparked my own ideas.”
“The professor has talked a lot this semester about building a personal online brand. Blogging has helped me do that.”
“I got many more insights through sharing ideas on blog posts.”
“The network unified our class and facilitated communication.”
“I was motivated to submit higher quality work because I knew my peers would see it.”
“It’s simple. I don’t have to print assignments. I can get things done from anywhere. It’s quick. The communication is instant.”
“Everything I need for class is in one spot—the calendar, syllabus, class video stream, lecture slides, and quick ability to contact classmates, the professor, and the TA.”
“My questions are answered and my comments acknowledged much quicker than in regular classes.”
“Blogging forced me to think. I wasn’t just memorizing material.”
“Blogging has helped me feel like I have a jump on the industry because I’m actually in it.”
“It was really motivating to me to make my blog posts good so that others would respond to them.”
“Comments left on the posts unified the class, and we were able to bounce ideas off each other.”
“Blogging made me think, and put those thoughts into words. When you have to explain yourself to others it makes you dig deeper and find out why you think that way.”
“Yes. I recommend it for other classes. The world is more technologically savvy. Students must be too.”
“Blackboard is functional, but the Ning network is fun and so much more interactive.”
You can read the full post by clicking >HERE.
You can visit the class network by clicking >HERE.
This is Joseph Porcelli, one of Guides here on Creators. This week, I'm spending some of my time reminding our members which feature to use when so I thought I share some of our process with you.
Have you ever noticed (or gotten frustrated) that you members will post content in the wrong features? Blogs in forums, forums in blogs, events as blogs…ring a bell?
A while back a study was conducted on our networks. One of the major observations was that there was no continuity to where our members posted and found content. To address this we've taken the following steps:
- We distinguished and published how each feature is best used and gave concrete examples.
- We used the language editor to change the names of the feature on the front page. See what it looks like.
- We made a Prezi.com presentation that quickly explains which features to use when. Feel free to use our prezi or save it and customize it for your own networks.
- We edited our welcome message to mention which features to use when. Here is the link on how to edit your welcome message.
- In our weekly broadcast messages we remind folks what feature to use when and event break out forum posts by category to reinforce how to use the forums . Here is a copy of our most recent broadcast message NFN_Broadcast.pdf
Last week, I returned from five days at South by Southwest Interactive – an annual conference that focuses on technology and social media. The most interesting panels and talks that I attended while at SXSW focused on the ways that new social media technologies - like Ning! - are shaping the newest generation of non-profits.
Kiva, a non-profit that is arguably the most well known microfinance organization today, has engineered a fantastic online social network for their organization. The engineering team at Kiva has built a robust social network that allows lenders to connect with entrepreneurs in the developing world, which includes photos, descriptions, and updates on the portion of the loans that the entrepreneurs have been able to pay back. DonorsChoose is another non-profit that's been helping support teachers for the past decade. They're using a social network to allow donors to choose which projects they want to contribute to, and they've done a fantastic job of building a website that's truly interactive. When someone adds a donation on their website, they encourage them to write a note explaining why they decided to give money. It's a great example of using a social network to create an authentic and personable experience for donors.
While these organizations may be building their own websites with the help of a team of engineers, many of the strategies that are working for them can be applied to non-profits using Ning to provide the framework for a non-profit network. I can't think of a better place than the Ning Creators Network to share the lessons I learned!
People like to know where their money is going. The more that you can do to explain what happens to the money after you’ve deposited a check (or accepted a donation through Paypal), the better your donors will feel about giving you money. Use the Pages feature to create a help center on your Ning Network, and let people ask you questions directly using your Discussion Forum. You can use the Blogs feature to update your Ning Network with the latest news from the organization. Ask your employees to create profile pages, so that donors can see the faces behind all your hard work.
Let them spread the word.
You don’t need to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to telling people about your organization. Let the people who are already supporting you be your advocate. If people believe in your non-profit, they'll want to tell their friends. Encourage the members of your Ning Network to invite their friends to join, and you can focus your energy on creating the best possible way for them to learn about your cause. That said, it never hurts to show people what your focus is. Greet new members who join your Ning Network, and reward members who invite their friends with Award gifts.
Use your Ning Network to build a relationship with your donors.
Once someone has joined your Ning Network, it's much easier to keep them involved. Send out broadcast messages to announce new initiatives, and update your Blog to let your members know what's going on. Ask your members for feedback using a Forum discussion, and find out what you can be doing better. Here on Ning Creators, we get loads of ideas about how to make Ning better and what we can do to get our Network Creators to love us. This can work just as well for your non-profit!
Connect with Twitter and Facebook.
Chances are you already have a Facebook fan page and/or a Twitter account to keep donors involved. It can be daunting to manage all of these social media outlets, so let your Ning Network help you with this! Connect your Ning Network to Twitter and Facebook, and you can push your status updates to all three places with a single click.
Thank people in public.
Show the people who have contributed how much you appreciate them by thanking them on your Ning Network. Use profile comments or customized gifts to say thank you, or use the Pages feature to post a donors directory. Just had a volunteer event? Post photos on your Ning Network to show off how well it went!
The best part of my job is seeing the way Network Creators like you are using Ning in creative ways. If you have more suggestions for using a Ning Network to help grow your non-profit, let us know here!
Ning communities can be compared to your average dinner party. Nobody wants to be the first one at your house. If the conversation is boring, your guests will likely not come back. If you tell them about an
exciting “multi-level” marketing opportunity, they will resent you.
Below are the top 5 reasons ning members leave, and tips for how you can prevent it. This is copied from a post on my blog: http://petermoorman.com/top-5-reasons-ning-members-leave-and-how-you-can-get-them-to-stay
- “My inbox is full of your broadcast messages, and they don’t even have anything worthwhile in them to read”
The broadcast message is a powerful force in growing your network, but it can be abused. Send broadcast messages no more than 2x a week, and make sure they have useful content for your community. Nobody likes
- “The forum is confusing, how do I even post a question?”
Forum setup is frustrating for new users. Make it simple. Do not have 10 different categories. It’s much better to have few categories with lots of posts, than 20 categories with little to no activity.
- “Wait. You’re charging me how much to continue my membership in this network?”
You want to start your network as an open community with no charges. If you decide to charge a premium for membership, let your original community members in for free or at a deeply discounted rate. There’s no
better way to drive off membership than to start charging the very
people who helped your network get off the ground in the beginning.
- “My eyes hurt after 5 minutes on your site.”
Do not have a black background. Do not have flash animation sirens in the sidebars. If you want members to stay, create a network that is easy on the eyes.
- “There’s no discussion or interaction here. What’s the point of staying?”
With a new network, you have to get the discussions going. Invite your close friends to join, start discussions in the forum, and make the network buzz with activity. Users will leave if they see no signs of
- “Whenever I go to your network, I get confused about how to navigate and posts”
Navigation is key to promoting network growth and retention. Make it easy for users with less experience with the internet to navigate your site. Just because you can speak CSS and HTML as fluently as English,
doesn’t mean your users can.
Feel free to add any other tips in the comments below.
A fantastic blog post was put up last week, which has lead to a number of great discussions about member traction and engagement within communities. Dr. Mike Wu, Ph.D. posted metrics based on his study of over 200 online communities here.
As he writes, "The 90-9-1 rule simply states that:
- 90% of all users are lurkers. They read, search, navigate, and observe, but don't contribute
- 9% of all users contribute occasionally
- 1% of all users participate a lot and account for most of the content in the community"
The data he present generally backs this up. The comments both there and in a related LinkedIn community explore how he defined his terms, constraints of the data, and how to encourage engagement.
Do you agree with his findings? Do you see them reflected in your Ning Networks?
I look forward to his future posts, where he promises to "dive deeper into the contribution level of the hyper-contributors, you community's real superusers."
Also called "The Social Media Scientist", Dan Zarrella shares boatloads of useful advice to help others achieve social media success.
His latest blog post was as fascinating as the finding he published The Science of Retweets. In today's post, he states that articles published/shared on Facebook in the course of the weekend are shared A LOT MORE than articles posted in the course of the week.
It kinda makes sense, if you come to think of it. Besides the reason Dan shares (that so many companies block Facebook to help with productivity), the weekend is also the time when we slow down, so we may catch up on the latest in the lives of our Facebook friends.
Anyway... just thought I'd share this useful post with you all, in the wake of the recent update to our networks integrating them with Facebook more.
I created whyleaveastoria.com nearly two years ago as a means for young adults to connect with their neighborhood. During this time, the site has become the most trafficked in the entire borough of Queens and one of the most heavily trafficked in all of New York City. Members have made countless new friends, businesses have prospered, and as we approach our second birthday and 4,000th member, our page rank keeps getting better and better.
However, we've now grown to a point where we have an exceptionally deep penetration into the target market of 25-35 year olds in Astoria. So now the challenge has become, rather than making the network bigger and not necessarily serve our target market as well as we could, lets make it better. In case you're curious, to us, better means:
1) More time spent on the site by users
2) More traffic via search (both of these equating to more advertiser dollars)
Over the course of the last two years, moderately tech savvy businesses have created user profiles for their restaurants, boutiques, dog walking services, etc. However, the issue here is, standard profiles often don't adequately address the needs of a brick-and-morter business.
Additionally, there is no effective way to filter or categorize proprietors from standard users in a generic site search. This is why I have created a new ranked business directory that will help my users identify the best establishments that meet their needs.
It's been a major challenge integrating this functionality into Ning--as the API can be a little frustrating at times when trying to access dynamic content and pull user information. However, after a year of planning (and mostly failing) my small development team and I were able to roll out a creative solution to allow users to create Business Pages featuring dynamic data pulled from my site, while still maintaining a direct URL that can be crawled by Google and deeply linked from other sources.
The first challenge to overcome here was creating a way to determine the logged in user. Once we could identify the user, we then needed to create the ability for them to build a new page on my Ning network. Once this functionality was created, we built in the ability for someone to become a fan of a page--giving us a database of users. Next, we built a form that could be embedded in an iframe that will allow the user to input a business name, address, photos, category, tags, and various other parameters. We also built in a conflict detector that will determine if a similar business is already in the directory. Once the information is submitted, it's sent to my database which then runs a chron job to post the new page to Ning.
Once a new page is created, users are able to rate and review any establishment, become a fan, add a tag, submit photos, request an edit, and even use the default Ning sharing utility to reach beyond the Ningosphere!
Now, business owners logged in as members of the site are able to "Claim this business", giving them the ability to attach their RSS feed to the business page (Twitter, blog, whatever), correspond with the page's fans, and view some simplified page metrics.
- When a member becomes a fan of a page, we know they like the business. When they rate an establishment four or five stars, we know they like it, too. This gives us the ability to make recommendations of other establishments they should also consider--based on peer review.
- Members of my site have actual membership cards that feature a magnetic stripe on the back uniquely identifying each person. When they make a purchase at a partner business in Astoria, the proprietor swipes the card--which hits my database to determine who the cardholder is, allowing the proprietor to issue a discount and us to track offline user activity. The discounts accrued over time (and nights spent on the town) are stored in my database and will be displayed on business and member pages--allowing our community to find out where was last night's most popular venue and also which members are saving the most money by staying local.
- Since we know certain categories and tags for business pages, we can target page advertisements to keywords like "brunch" or umbrella categories like "Restaurants"--giving us a much deeper ad inventory. Additionally, businesses we choose to feature will appear more prominently in search results and be recommended more highly in the suggestions.
The directory is still very much a work in progress, but was a very important first step in our growth--as now users will be maintaining and growing the site while we focus on making it better.
We launched this new feature on Friday and by Sunday had over 150 new pages submitted by users. In the last week, we've seen an approximately 50% increase in pageviews and anticipate this will continue to climb as more pages get indexed. This was a big win for my network and I look forward to adding even more creative solutions like this throughout the spring and summer.