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How Do You Promote Your Network?

I'd be really keen to find out how you promote your networks, especially those of you who have thousands of members.1) Do you pay for advertising on Facebook and Google ads and other places? Which other places?2) Or do you simply use Twitter, Facebook and other social media to find your target audience?3) Or do you use both?4) Which method/site brings in the most members for you?

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  • The uptick of twitter usage has been amazing to me. As someone whose been watching it as a Ning rep for over a year, it is crazy the increase in mentions of networks, and the conversations by networks members!

    I would be curious to know how much traffic it drives as well.

    • Here's the split of our traffic sources for the past 30 days:

      FOR TUDIABETES (in English)

      FOR ESTUDIABETES (in Spanish)

      As powerful as Twitter or Facebook may be to drive traffic, there is no substitute for good content that Google and other search engines can index and for a member base that comes back regularly through their bookmarks, etc.

      Also, note that the composition of referring sources varies by language. Twitter is nowhere as prevalent in Spanish for us as it is in English.
      • Manny,
        The Google stat is amazing. I run another website, non ning, and the majority of our traffic is from Google. What kind of changes did you make concerning SEO on tu diabetes? Did you change any of the URL rewrite rules?
  • NC for Hire
    Both, and many more free resources: Twitter, Facebook, Shoutem, StumbleUpon, EngineSeeker, Toolbars, Industry Blogs, Google Organic Searches, Press Releases, Blogs, Backlinks, Widgets, etc...

    The Ning Directory is heavily involved in the Twitter Community. And although we receive a good deal of traffic via our Tweets, it's still not comparable to other traffic sources. And, that may not be the "typical case". I'm only speaking of the numbers, for traffic acquired via Social Media. We actually receive a lot of traffic via the keywords "Ning Twitter". Plus, it's important to mention, although the traffic sources may not specifically give credit to a site visitor, via Twitter, those site visitors could come from another site that mentioned us via Twitter, therefore increasing the numbers. And I am certain, these numbers will go up more and more, over time.

    I'm still finding that organic results for Google keyword searches are the best for pushing traffic to a site. It takes a lot of work and due-diligence to gain and maintain, top Google keywords. But, it's very doable.

    A few more notes about Social Media and Twitter: I would be the last to poo-poo the importance of Twitter and all Social Media resources. I think it's an integral part of the overall formula for driving traffic - - in the now, and the future.

    Here's a typical day of traffic percentages and the sources:
    • Direct / Bookmark 34%
    • Searches 40%
    • Links 15%
    • Email 7%
    • Social media 4%

    You can see that Social Media is at the bottom. But, again, I believe it's critical to have an active Twitter account. And, I would venture to guess, about 90-150 of those visits have something to do with Twitter.

    I would be interested to see percentages from others. ;-)

    • Hey Jen,

      That's really interesting to see. I'm sure it varies by network, but search is pulling in a lot more traffic than I expected. Do you have any further breakdown on the various search engines?

      - Alex
      • NC for Hire
        Hi Alex,
        Although we definitely get hits via Yahoo and other Search Engines, it's not enough to register with Alexa percentages. I'm not really sure why these particular %'s don't add up to 100% for the total. You'll still see Google at the top. And interestingly, Twitter comes in second from this perspective. YAY NING and thanks! #4!

        On another note:
        These numbers demonstrate why I think you all should allow backlinks, when appropriate. ;-) Take notice of the % coming in from GetSatisfaction. This comment is based on your Guidelines, which for the most part, I am extremely happy to see. However, on the backlink topic: For example, let's say someone asks how to do something, and I can show them the example or tip on our site, I think those links should be allowed, here. Granted, I can totally understand why this may be too difficult to monitor, for those who would take advantage of the situation. And, some would post backlinks, totally inappropriately.

        Percent of total visits to preceded by a visit to the upstream site.
        * 32.77%
        * 10.49%
        * 9.79%
        * 8.49%
        * 6.99%
        * 5.59%
        * 4.20%
        * 4.20%
        * 3.50%
        * 2.80%

        Worth mentioning - - these numbers also demonstrate how important Social Media can be, overall, in reference to site traffic.

        • Awesome Jen. Again, this is very interesting to see. Backlinking definitely has its pros and cons. We'll keep an eye on it and see how things develop :)

          - Alex
      • NC for Hire
        Yes. Be sure to add your Network Ad. Most importantly, use their submission service for submitting your sites to various large, and good Search Engines. After the first submission, it's automated. They include some search engines, I wouldn't have thought to submit my sites.

        Too, did you add your EngineSeeker code to your Analytics Box?

        If you have done all this, and see no traffic, I'm very surprised. And if so, I would cancel the subscription. I've gotten traffic for every site I've ever submitted, mostly via the search engine submission app. And, this was after many other submissions I had already made. ES ramped it up, and quickly.

        And, I often purchase $20 here and there, for Google Ads. They have a unique way of purchasing inexpensive Google Ad space. It appears to be at odd time slots. But, that really helped a pet site I own.

        Hope this helps,
      • NC for Hire
        Hi Phil,
        It just hit me, I should explain more. You probably already know this, but wanted to make sure others reading our posts, do as well.

        Unless you purchase ads or keyword traffic directly from EngineSeeker, you will not see "direct" results. This tool is to help optimize your Search Engine keywords and placement, with many Search Engines. And, my hands-on experience has been, it's really made a great difference for my networks. Let me give you an example. If you created a brand new network today, and started submitting to Search Engines, you'd be lucky to be picked up or submitted, within 6 weeks (in my experience). ES speeds this up, and they follow the rules deemed forth, by SE like Google. I have tested this, many times.

        Unfortunately, there are a lot of unethical SEO companies out there. And, they will get you blacklisted by the major search engines, faster than you can say 'boo', LOL. The only reason I've suggested ES, is based on my own experience. Maybe it won't help you, the way it has me. What I really like about them, they are legit, and insanely reasonable. For the record, I have no affiliation with ES, whatsoever. I'm just a happy customer who's been using their service for years, with excellent results.

        BTW, did you notice all the features they offer like: Competition Analyzer, Crawler Optimization, Website Stats, Search Engine Submission (mentioned above), etc...?

        Let me know what happens. I'd be interested to hear about your experience.

        Best to you,
  • I would suggest targeting the movers and shakers of your network's niche. Find the active voices of your niche and personally invite them to join your network.
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