The Ning POV: How Custom Social Communities Can Change the World

There are over 90,000 social websites on Ning worldwide. As a social platform that integrates with major social tools, Ning is in a unique position to observe patterns across the entire social ecosystem. The new Ning Point of View (POV) Report examines trends in community engagement across the ever-changing social ecosystem that all inspired organizations and businesses can apply to spark change with as few as 20 people.

20 = The Magic Number

You may have 1000 “friends” who never visit but it only takes 20 people to evolve from one-way broadcasting from the community leader to meaningful many-to-many interactions. This is an encouraging finding especially for small businesses and non-profits with resource constraints. With as little as 20 people, you can bring an online community to a significant level of activity – when members spend an increasing amount of time on the site, and visit more regularly.

The Unique Combination of Social Tools Builds Engaged Communities

Nearly 50 percent of Ning sites integrate with external social applications. Facebook and Twitter tie for the most popular external social media platform integration and nearly one in five Ning sites integrate with Facebook Like. The most popular features on a Ning community are the ones that facilitate dialog and engagement – Inbox and Forum in addition to Blog, and Photo / video sharing.

What makes a Ning community successful is not one particular social tool, but rather, the unique combination of social tools that each site employs, presented in a visually stunning way that draws members in, inspire them to participate and keeps them coming back.

Creating Communities That Change the World

Social communities within Ning span a diverse interest set—from education, entertainment, business, cause, religion, to health and politics. The common thread running through all of the sites is a goal of community creation that sparks meaningful action and activity.

Of the top 20 social categories we looked at on Ning, the Education and Business & Brands categories took the first and second spot, respectively:

  • As natural community builders, educators are taking the lead on the social web, connecting with students in new ways and amplifying the power of their message.
  • Businesses see the power of building strong communities with their customers. They mobilize fans to be their ambassadors, creating private customer communities and collect product feedback.
    • Want to dig deeper in the Ning POV report? Check out our report and infographic. What do you think transform people on your Ning site from a community of shared interest to a community of action?

      About the Author:

      Christina Lee – who has written posts on Ning's Official Blog on Social Networking Sites.