Laura Oppenheimer
Laura Oppenheimer
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Member engagement happens when your members interact with you and with each other. Interaction includes posting or commenting on a blog, forum discussion, photo or video. It may take the form of becoming friends with another member, giving a gift or adding a comment to a profile. It’s all about participation.

Why It Matters

Member engagement is more than just social networking buzzwords. It’s the difference between a successful Ning Network and a stale Web site. It’s what makes your social network, well, social. And it’s about more than simply getting people to sign up.

Members who sign up once and then never come back — they don’t help your Ning Network in any way. Nor do members who sign up and then never post, choosing instead to simply read other peoples’ contributions. It doesn’t matter if there’s 100 members or 100,000 members. What matters is the number of members who are truly engaged.

Once you’ve maximized your member engagement, it creates a feedback loop: Your members post content, contribute to discussions and invite their friends. Their friends, in turn, do the same thing. It leads to more members on your Ning Network (and less work for you).

What You Get When Members Are Engaged

Having an active member base means more pageviews for your Ning Network, with leads to more ad revenue. Want some proof? Enrique Iglesias has more pageviews, with just over 30,000 members, than several Ning Networks that have more than 10 times that membership number. Why? Because his members are continually engaged with that’s going on.

Member engagement results in more members promoting your Ning Network to their friends, contacts and Twitter followers, which brings still more awareness to your Ning Network’s cause or topic. Engaged members really do act as evangelists for your Ning Network, helping to get the word out and promote it. It also means that, as a Network Creator, all the responsibility for contributing content doesn’t fall solely on you. And when issues arise between members, you can count on your most engaged members to help moderate your community.

Ready to Get Members Involved?

Whether you’re just getting started or your Ning Network is already up and running, everyone can use a healthy dose of new ideas.

First, create a hook. Second, make your main page work for you. And third, make your members the stars.

Ready to get started? Check out the new member engagement section on Creators. And then let us know how you are engaging your members in the comments below!