The 2012 Summer Olympics in London are still about a couple months out, which makes now the perfect time to start planning how your Ning network can be a part of it.
I actually had a pretty active test Ning 4 years ago, and I integrated the last olympics into a pretty effective social media campaign that spiked my visits, activity, and overall engagement during the course of the event. Whether you are into sports, or have an international community on your network, the universal spirit of the games makes it a sure bet for adding something fun to do on your site.
Here's an example of a widget you can find on http://www.nbcolympics.com/. It's not really populated with much content yet as it is a bit early, but there are stories emerging in the build up. You can modify it to showcase video, specific sports, and of course track specific countries. As you can see, it can be put virtually anywhere on your site that will accept embed, and I'm sure many of you will like how it fits in a narrow column on a main page.
For my previous social media campaign, I integrated the widget into a dedicated Group. I was able to draw up the official logo for the group and it looked great! I also added the occassion to my Events and sent out broadcast invitations. Finally, I scheduled an open house chat event to coincide.
I would say it worked out great for my small little network at the time. A lot of inactive profiles came out of the woodworks, I added probably about 30 new members, and a handful of people took my lead and posted a lot of relevant articles and enjoyed discussions about some of the key moments.
With the stories came video. My personal favorites had to do with Michael Phelps winning one of his races by a hair, and especially Usain Bolt knocking the socks off the world of track and field. Looks like some of these players are back, and I'm sure there will be more surprises, new drama, and plenty to celebrate.
Now, technically, you're not supposed to go make and sell your own site's co-branded 2012 Olympic t-shirts, but you get the idea... the power of the moment creates great opportunities for both engagement and conversion.
My suggestions are to plan it out in advance, start a bit early, get the buzz going to align the Olympics with your site, creatively relate it to what you do, don't force it, and position what you do to be a success even if there's not the kind of response you would hope for. Chances are you could have a great time with your community just like I did. Go USA!!!
Looks like this widget is working great! So, just wondering... Did anyone take me up on this suggestion? How's it working out for you?