Oneupweb Reviews: Building Communities Using Ning

More and more celebrities are building their own communities on the Ning platform, which continues to have thousands of newly created social networks daily.

A recent partnership with Ning has allowed talent agency The Collective to begin creating specific communities for promising celebrities, such as Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen, singer Enrique Iglesias and movie actor John Leguizamo (The Happening and Moulin Rouge).

Staind, All American Rejects, 50 Cent and Plain White T’s are just a few other celebrities with their own social networks on Ning.

Celebrities have long understood the importance of managing their personal brand. So I wasn’t too surprised when a management company partnered with a social network. For many of you who haven’t heard of Ning, you may wonder “why this particular platform?”

Well, instead of being a tenant by just having a profile, these celebrities are now landlords of their own network. And in some ways, being a network creator allows for more flexible brand management.

By the Numbers –Who’s Using Ning?

These celebrities are joining the 1 million other Ning networks, of which 200,000 are regularly updated and 4,000 are added daily. Close to 5 million unique visitors were reported by ComScore in January.

Ning allows a business to fully customize a community geared toward its specific needs. So to some extent it’s not fair to compare Ning, a network creator, with other social networking sites. However, in order to obtain these outstanding graphs that show just how much Ning has grown, I’ve done just that.

Using Ning to Build Your Community

Ning offers businesses the opportunity for more personalized pages and extra support, which are two reasons why The Collective partnered with the network creator. Outside of being able to choose features, including customized widgets, unique member profiles, privacy options, forums, RSS feeds and much more, network creators have branding and visual design freedom.

While personalization still requires some extra thought and effort, creating a network is significantly easier than when Ning first arrived on the scene in 2004. Non-programmers can now use a simple click-and-point format to design a basic network with specific features that enhance their community. And businesses with programmers (and time) can use Ning’s open API to develop unique features.

Making personalization easier for both technical and non technical people addresses criticism the company received from TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington in 2006. Beyond that Ning has continued making improvements, including adding real-time features.

Overall, Ning is a flexible option that allows companies to customize communities of people interested in interacting with their brand. The fact that Ning sells different levels of service plans also helps any network creator manage the burden of extra work. And when combined with a linking strategy, Ning can help a company’s natural search positioning.

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