Although the content is undoubtedly the most valuable asset of your Ning network, the design is something to be taken very seriously as well. No matter how relevant and engaging your content is, no one would be particularly excited to browse an ugly website, right? The truth is, 38% of people give up engaging with a website if they find it unattractive. Obviously, as a network creator, you don’t want to lose this much audience. On the contrary, you want users to be happy about every single aspect of your creation.
If you’ve ever watched Project Runway, The Devil Wears Prada, or have been to a Barneys sample sale, you know that for many people around the world, fashion is king. Couple this passion with the dream of getting your 15 minutes of fame, and you’ve got yourself a competition that’s sure to cause a flurry of activity and drive engagement on your Ning Network.
One of the great things about having a social network on Ning is that it’s fully self-contained. You can host discussions or share videos and photos, all in one place. That said, many people have other websites and set up a social network as a way for members to get to know each other and join the conversation.
If you have another website or blog, you can create a seamless experience for members and visitors clicking between your social network and your other site. There are a number of built-in tools on Ning that give you the power to do this. Let’s start create a website on the Ning.
One of the great things about your social network on Ning is that you can easily make it the hub of your online presence. You can even set up your social network so it appears under your own domain name. Using your own domain name brands your social network and makes it a place people will seek out when they want to learn more about your brand.
Good Charlotte has taken advantage of this feature to make their social network the top place to get to know their fans and communicate band news. They’ve mapped their social network to their domain GoodCharlotte.com.
As we covered in The Perfect Social Network, your Latest Activity feature shows all the activity happening across your social networks as soon as it happens.
It is the single most important feature you can add for driving recurring usage by your members on your social network, especially as you get bigger. And by bigger, we actually mean everyone should use this feature. It’s how people quickly find the best, brightest and most recent stuff on your social network.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been asked the same question by a number of large brands:
“What’s the best way for us to incorporate social networking into our brand strategy?”
I think that there are a few ways to answer this question. First, social networking isn’t for everyone. Knowing what will and won’t work for your brand, your company, and your customers upfront is critical.