What are the top five pieces of advice you'd give to a new Network Creator...the five pieces you wish you'd had when you started out?
I'm a new creator, and I don't know what I should know...a common feeling I'm sure.
Absolutely agree with the last one. Get the site guidelines up right away and develop in your mind what does and doesn't cross the line. That way when you see it, you can act appropriately. If you're not sure what is OK for your site, you may end up letting someone else take the conversation in a direction you don't want.
Can you tell I've had to deal with a few issues :)
1. Don't micro-manage : You'll only limit your network to what you can handle or come up with. Delegate tasks/duties and don't spend every moment online... give your network a chance to grow into something much much bigger than you ever dreamed!
2. Get other members involved : Make sure Mods are involved in some decision making to keep them motivated and interested - it helps to give them a sense of ownership to a certain extent and alleviates the responsibility.
3. Be involved : Keep posting actively and create conversation in "dry areas" of your network. If the groups are sort of slowing down in popularity, encourage members to join or create their own groups!
4. Be just but firm : If you have a Code of Conduct or some posting guidelines, stick to 'em like it's your job!! It's important to be consistent and for members to feel safe and treated fairly. No favorites allowed!
5. Keep the new stuff comin' : Keep a couple features up your sleeves or come up with new events/concepts to keep things fresh and interesting. Be open to ideas from all members and encourage collaboration!!
1. Really, really understand your target audience as almost everything else you do is determined by them.
2. If you want the site to earn money, think very hard about how you are going to do that. Advertising is hard, very hard. Selling products is hard, unless you have something unique that a lot of people want. Membership is hard to do with Ning, if not impossible to do elegantly.
3. Set very clear guidelines to your network and then stick to them. If you compromise you will pay for it. Treat everybody the same.
4. Unless you have a clear captive audience, such as company employees, or small town residents, you will need to market a lot. Time, time and more time.
5. Don't start unless you are prepared to invest a lot of time.