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.