Be Obvious & Make Your Social Network Discoverable
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Be Obvious & Make Your Social Network Discoverable 1

The vast majority of people discover a new social network on Ning via invitations from their friends. This is the “viral distribution” mumbo jumbo you’ve been hearing about. Only it’s not actually mumbo jumbo. Rather, it is an incredibly powerful way for people to spread the word about a new social network they’ve created. If your social network is valuable to your members, they will spread the word too. But I digress…

Viral distribution isn’t the only way for people to discover your new social network on Ning and, with a few quick steps, you can dramatically increase the probability that someone finds you via a search engine like Google or even from Ning’s own new and improved search.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Go to your network’s Manage page.

2. Choose Network Information. At the moment, you can only access this page if you are the Network Creator, so if you are not the Network Creator, find them and get them to do this.

3. Fill out all the information in Network Information.

Be Obvious & Make Your Social Network Discoverable 2

Specifically, make sure that your social network’s title, description and keywords have something specific and uniquely related to your network. For example, we’ve seen a few high profile artist social networks on Ning not actually include their name anywhere in the title, tagline, description or keywords. This makes it all the more challenging for someone to discover this social network via search engines and, unnecessarily so, given how easy it is to add the additional information required to your social network.

One other tip here: if you want to use search engines to drive adoption of your social network, make your social network and all its pages public. This means that you shouldn’t just make the network’s Main page public and require sign in for viewing other pages or, worse, make your network private. While these settings work well for specific purposes, maximizing search engine optimization isn’t on the list.