Alice Yoo is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of My Modern Metropolis, a Ning Network and community blog where artists, trendspotters and design lovers share today's best modern day experiences. Alice shares some great tips with Ning on welcoming new members and rewarding active members.
Why did you start My Modern Metropolis?
I started theMET because I wanted to create a place where artists, trendspotters and design lovers could share today's best modern day experiences. At our core, we focus on art, design and photography.
How would you describe your typical member?
Our typical member is creative, opinionated and open to new experiences. They're not only on top of current events but they're also interesting in spotting trends.
What is your strategy for welcoming new members? Tell us a little about the process.
We personally greet every new member of the site. We also respond to them if or when they reply. Everyday, we actively engage with them on the forum and blog section so that they know that there are real people behind the social network. In our Welcome section we also have a link called "say hello" where new members can introduce themselves to the group.
What has the feedback been from new members? Do you find they engage more when they are welcomed to the community?
The feedback has been phenomenal. Almost every time we welcome them they leave a comment on our page, thanking us. What's interesting is that a lot of the time we'll find out that members have been quietly visiting us for months. We've had more than a few members tell us that after they start to feel comfortable, they sign up. What this tells me is that trust builds over time.
How do you reward your members? Has this increased engagement?
We started a section about six months ago called Rock Star Bloggers. It's where we recognize our community members that write up their own blog posts. If we feature their post on the front page, we show their name and how many blog posts they've written for that month. After we put up that section we saw a huge increase in the number of members putting up their own posts. Not only did it spark competition, it gave our dedicated members some much deserved recognition.
How did you come up with the idea for theMET's Rock Star Bloggers?
We saw how other sites gave recognition to their members through badges or lists. Our Rock Star Bloggers list is the perfect way to show our members that we value them.
What had member feedback been? Has it promoted more activity?
Our dedicated members love the list. We've had many of them thank us for giving them recognition. It's definitely prompted more activity, as well. We saw a huge spike in custom blog posts coming from our members after we created this section.
What is the process for highlighting bloggers?
The process is really simple and straightforward. When we feature a blog post, we update our list. We add in the name of the blogger and we tally up how many posts get featured on the front page.
Any other tips you would like to add about promoting member engagement on your Ning Network?
• Every so often, we'll also write up a custom blog post called Met Member Spotlight where we introduce the community to a core member. We've found that this not only creates more of a community feel, it really gives recognition to the people who make the site what it is. Here's an example. <<a href="http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/met-member-spotlight-mark">http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/met-member-spotlight-mark>;• Granting admin status to core members is also a great way to keep your active members involved.• Your social network will only be as active as you make it. Members and visitors can see how much work you put into your site by how fresh and relevant your content is. This gives people a reason to come back.• Not only should the Creator lead discussions, they should also actively participate in their community by listening and responding to questions. This will keep your members engaged.• It takes a lot of time and effort to get members actively engaged. Though hundreds of thousands of visitors come to our site each month, it's only a handful that actively participate. Ultimately, it's important to remember that it's the quality of the content that's most important.