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In this part of the tour of your social network’s Manage page, we’ll cover the options you have as the Network Creator for promoting your network to new people as well as keeping in touch with your current members.

These features will go a heck of a long way in helping you spread the word about your network to the people you want on it. In some cases, that’s just a few select folks. In others, it’s the whole wide world.

In the Promote Your Network section of the Manage page, you have three options:

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  • Broadcast Message – to send an email to your entire network.
  • Facebook Promotion – to enable your members to add your network’s photos, videos, and music to their Facebook profiles with a click.
  • Badges & Widgets – to copy and paste network badges, photo slideshows, video player, and music/podcasts from your network anywhere on the Internet.

These all come automatically when you create a social network on Ning, so let’s dive in…

The Broadcast Message

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When you click on the broadcast message link, you’ll be prompted to send a message. This message is broadcast to each and every one of your members. It goes to their “real-world” email address, not their network message in-box.

We’ve seen Network Creators use this broadcast message feature to announce contests and incentives for inviting more people into a network, to update members on the growth of the network (Exclusively Setters is great at this), and to just make simple announcements.

Facebook Promotion

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You can quickly and easily enable your members to add your network’s photo slideshows, video players, and music/podcasts to their Facebook profiles with a click. Once added to Facebook, users of the service can discover your network’s photos, videos, and music/podcasts, add these players to their pages on Facebook, as well as link back to your network with a click.

Promoting your network on Facebook requires a few upfront steps on your part, but it’s then super simple for your members to add your network’s stuff to the service and drive new people back to you.

Here’s a helpful screencast with more detail:
Find more videos like this on Ning Network Creators

Badges & Widgets

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Like Facebook promotion, Badges & Widgets are another fantastic way for new people to discover your network.

Badges & Widgets make it possible for someone on your network to take network badges, photo slideshows, video players, and music/podcasts, copy them, and paste them anywhere on the Internet. These Badges & Widgets are then branded for your network and, when people click on them, they are taken back to your social network on Ning.

What does “branded for your network” mean? It means that you can customize these network badges, photo slideshows, video players, and music/podcasts so that they look like a mini-version of your network.

Here’s an example:

The Main Page of my Santa Monica Beach Volleyball social network
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Photo Slideshow Widget from Santa Monica Beach Volleyball

Now here’s the photo slideshow widget from Santa Monica Beach Volleyball. I copied it from the “embed” link in the upper right hand corner that you see when you scroll your mouse over the photo below. I think just pasted that code directly into this blog post:
Find more photos like this on Santa Monica Beach Volleyball

As you can see, the photo slideshow widget shares the sand image and the branding from Santa Monica Beach Volleyball’s Main page. You can do this same customization and branding yourself by clicking on the Badges & Widgets link from your Manage page and customizing this page:

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Just choose a color or add an image for the border and upload a brand or logo for your widgets. Ideally, it will be a transparent logo, but you can do anything.