I'm still struggling to make money on my networks. So I want to ask your opinion on something - what services does your network offer its members?
My most 'successful' network is a professional network with over 2000 members, with more joining weekly. Its been running for about 2 years now and its gone through several iterations. Its getting steady activity but I'm still struggling to get people to use my NING network rather than various LinkedIN groups.
I generate 'content' in terms of blogs etc, but my time is too limited to create daily/weekly blogs of any substance. I do get some members posting blogs and discussions. I have a jobs board (using Apps.io listings app) and do occasionally get jobs posted. I use most of the features offered by NING and also make extensive use the apps.io network apps. I have created a separate business directory using a NING network. I allow users to add events which I promote to the network members.
I make some limited money using google ads - but thats about it. Now I'm asking myself...."What do I actually offer my members which adds value to them above and beyond LinkedIN, and what type of services can I add to my network to make take it to its next level?"
My site "competes" with a few other sites in a niche industry segment. The other sites I'm up against seem to be run by well established publishers or major event organizers, and also LinkedIn. One site is run by a set of journalists.
When I think about it I'm surprised my site has managed to get the members it has - but seems the 'networking' side of it offers something unique. So it does seem to have a unique selling point of sorts. My thinking is that instead of going down the route of offering another 'news' and analysis site (like my competitors) I'll try to offer some type of service to this industry segment. However NING seems limited in its basic feature set to help me do this. I may have to try to develop some custom network apps - but I'm unsure if the NING API has the capabilities to allow me to create effective NING network & profile apps.
If your in a similar position I'd be interested in your opinion - What 'services' do you offer your network above and beyond the basic features offered by the NING features? Have you or are you developing custom profile & network apps?
Any advice very much appreciated.
My site is a little different. I use it to keep my listeners of my radio station and live shows engaged. As things come up on the show, such as pictures that are mentioned, funny things in the news, contests, I post easy links for people to see them. I also do reviews of independant musicians. So though I only have about 60 members, I have a lot of people that just view the site, this past month about a thousand unique viewers. In addition, I had about 10,000 listeners to the station online this past month. That's how I use my network.
James Larken Smith
We're lucky to be a portal to an industry, according to how did you find us and traffic logs most find us first then explore deeper. We've become a hub of models/photogs and the key here, VENDORS AND COMPETITORS. This means we play nice with "the others" and invite them to set up a profile to nibble at our traffic. They play within our rules and some advertise. Vendors know we get the fresh faces so they advertise as well.
At the very core what do we provide? We're the largest most up to date repository of pinup images online, anywhere.
Break down your site into a one line answer to the what's at the core question, then you'll have your focus for dominating the industry.
You ask a very good question. I have asked myself that many times here in the last several months. I know that every one of our owner have a different story behind the development of their sites. There are some that may have been using a different service or system for many years and have only recently moved to Ning; and, there are those who have only just begun to build on their idea. For me, I have been doing what I'm doing for many years.
Back in the late 1990's, I started building support groups on-line for people affected by rare 'orphan' diseases and disorders using a service called eGroups. eGroups was eventually bought out by Yahoo; so, all of my eGroup became YahooGroups. While YahooGroups has been wonderful, they did not provide me the ability to combine all my groups together under one umbrella group. I have been managing over 600 individual groups and it has been extremely time consuming. Ning has changed all of that. I now have one community with many sub-groups providing support for all of our members. Members can now share with others in their own private community and yet still have access and share with others outside their own sub-group in our master community.
While this is a advantage that Ning offers, it has still be very difficult to get members to move over to the new platform. The YahooGroup are so well established and offer a very simplistic site in comparison to Ning. If you are a member of a YahooGroup you may understand what I'm saying. A large number of the people who are members of our community have not grown up on computers and prefer the simple over the more complex. I'm not sure how I can help overcome this with Ning. I am trying to offer a simple site with simple tools; and, at the same time, stay up to date on technology and new development in social networks. It is a balancing act.
I have asked members of our new community to provide feedback on suggestions and ideas to improve our site but I have not received many replies. I am inviting everyone that reads this message to check out our site and let me know what they think. Our address is http://healthsharegroups.org. Feedback, both positive and negative is desired. Don't hold back on your comments, let me know the truth.
Hi David -
I was very interested in your site since I manage a couple of networs that focus on issues that affect people with disabilities. I am also struggling with people who have been using google groups & I'm trying to get them to migrate over to our networks. I noticed that you have a lot of info on your main page - maybe a bit too much. For a newbie, it might be a bit overwhelming.
The other piece of advice is that you may want to think about your groups. I've been reading a lot about groups lately and I've come to the conclusion that I should only start a group when I know I actually have a group of people who want to be a group. I'm in the process of cleaning out some of our groups that aren't really doing anything.
Keep up the good work!