Larry Brauner

Chris Patterson, President & CEO of Interchanges.com and founder of inSocialMedia, is one of the busy people with whom I strive to keep in touch. He’s very enthusiastic about social media and a great people person as well.

When speaking with Chris last week about inSocialMedia, the 3,200 member Ning network he started to enable practitioners to discuss social media strategies, I agreed to join his site’s team. An avid social media strategist myself, to work on inSocialMedia is very exciting.

I’ll continue to moderate and develop several of my own Ning sites, Beyond Business Coaching, Let’s Follow Each Other and Online Kosher Networking.

Reasons You Must Use Ning

Knowing my passion for Twitter and Facebook, you might think I’d lose interest in Ning. I’ll explain now why this isn’t at all the case. These reasons (not in order of importance) are based upon my own personal experience and feedback I’ve received from other Ning users:

  1. Create a Community - Ning enables you to create your own social network, and Ning is free. There are also premium features which site owners can purchase if and when they want them.
  2. Use Ning with Ease - Ning is fairly intuitive and easy to use. Ning collects your basic personal information such as name, location, e-mail, password, and photo one time, and that information is used automatically at each Ning site you join.
  3. Customize Your Ning - Ning sites, and to a lesser extent members’ profile pages, can be easily customized without any programming. However, the Ning program code is open, so that site owners can achieve even greater customization with the help of a programmer or by installing plug-ins.
  4. Build a Niche - Ning sites are built around niches. Site members tend to share a common interest or characteristic. As the site grows, it retains its niche orientation.
  5. Publish a Blog -  Ning lets you post and syndicate internal blog entries, and lets you import external RSS feeds as well.
  6. Form a Group - Groups within Ning can serve as forums or as mini-blogs. They can also help segment a site and bring together members according to various interests or characteristics.
  7. Share Content - You can make friends across Ning sites and share content with them across sites. This happens to be my favorite feature, since it ties in with my macro approach to online social networking. UPDATE: NING HAS DROPPED THIS IMPORTANT FEATURE, however, you can still share content with all friends at the site on which the content is posted.
  8. Link Out - As far as I can tell, all Ning links are “do follow” and your SEO can benefit from pointing them back to your website or blog.
  9. Communicate - Ning offers a variety of communication modes such as profile comments, forum and group discussions, blog and blog comments, photos, videos, events, status updates and private messages. Site creators also have the option to enable chatting.
  10. Control Your Ning - Ning site administrators can choose which members and content to feature or to ban.

Since you’re reading this article, you must be interested in social media, so click here to join us at inSocialMedia. See you there.

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22 Responses to “10 Reasons You Must Use Ning”

  1. Malaysian Online Network on September 15th, 2009 10:39 pm

    Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing the article above. Yup, it’s great to network on Ning. Malaysian Online Network is based on Ning and connecting Malaysians to International networkers around the globe via sharing ideas and opportunities.

    Do join us there.

  2. Catherine White on September 15th, 2009 10:43 pm

    I love NING

  3. Sandee Robbins on September 15th, 2009 11:16 pm

    Thanks, Larry, for these concise and informative Ning features! I use Ning myself.

  4. Larry Brauner on September 16th, 2009 9:08 am

    Hope you’re doing okay health-wise Sandee. I miss speaking.

  5. Debbie Morgan on September 16th, 2009 12:39 pm

    Hi Larry! I’ve been a Ning user for quite some time and have enjoyed all the features you mention above. They’re great for the beginner and I’ve met lots of great people there…you’re one of them! Deb

  6. Larry Brauner on September 16th, 2009 1:29 pm

    Why did you have to make me blush Deb?

    Thank you.

  7. Dr. Erica Goodstone on September 16th, 2009 3:42 pm

    Great blog. Good explanation and reminder of the features and benefits of developing Ning sites.

  8. Market Segmentation on September 16th, 2009 3:47 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for this article about Ning and thanks for first introducing me to Ning.

    I enjoy several Ning sites, particularly your Beyond Business Coaching.

    Warmly,

    Linda P. Morton

  9. JOHNNY on September 16th, 2009 5:30 pm

    Thanks Larry very informative.

    JQ

  10. Steve on September 16th, 2009 11:16 pm

    Larry, I think it would be great to read a post from you about how you built up your communities on Ning. Of course, I am writing this before having searched your site map to see whether you have already written about this. I will look after I finish writing this comment :)

  11. Larry Brauner on September 16th, 2009 11:35 pm

    First of all Steve, I haven’t built any large communities. None of my Ning sites have more than a few hundred members at the present time.

    I have built them using the following approaches:

    • I share non-spammy content with my friends across all Ning sites. When they come to view the content, if the site looks interesting to them, they join.
    • I mention my sites in my articles.
    • I have a Connect page which lists sites where people can connect with me.

    Hope this information helps. Don’t think there’s enough to merit a completely new article.

  12. kelly on September 17th, 2009 3:56 am

    Hello, I am part of a Ning community that has a good few hundred users in my country, and I must say, it works excellently. I was one of the promoters of the network and am among the first five registered users. It had quite a success and we are very pleased with it.

  13. Will McCulloch on September 20th, 2009 12:29 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Ning is great - and I find that the response rate from messages sent out to group members is always good there-

    Best wishes from Hamburg

    Will

    P.S. If you can find the time to send me some information about Online-Social-Networking.com in a style similar to whatawebsite.org/2009/08/19/whatafindcom, well I’d love to create a blog post about this site ….

  14. David Corman on September 24th, 2009 6:42 am

    Valuable post. Ning is a great resource for SEO, social bookmarking, building community, and many other things.

    Do you know of other similar types of sites, networks, etc.?

  15. Larry Brauner on September 24th, 2009 2:56 pm

    These two are the closest ones to Ning that I know of and are worth investigation: GROU.PS and SocialGO

  16. Saglik on September 26th, 2009 9:46 pm

    Thanks Larry very informative.

  17. Dani Klein on October 1st, 2009 3:16 pm

    I dont know if I wholeheartedly agree.

    I believe that to start a Ning group for a niche isnt always fool proof.

    Why would people use Ning, and Facebook, and Twitter, etc?

    It’s yet another thing to log onto.

    Unless there is a reason for people to come back to it, I dont know that it’s worth the time.

  18. Larry Brauner on October 1st, 2009 4:40 pm

    I’m not sure about what you’re not agreeing with Dani, since I agree wholeheartedly with your points.

    While there is value to owning your own Ning site if you can make it work, there’s also great value in joining other people’s sites.

    I have done both, and many of the people in my overall network first connected with me at a Ning site.

    Many others who I first met through my blog later joined my Ning sites in order to better communicate with me.

  19. Emma on December 10th, 2009 10:46 am

    I have mixed views about Ning - I find it a pain to have to login to each network individually, rather than being able to login once & get to everything. However, I’m looking at it from the point of view of education - we already have a Virtual Learning Environment (WebCT for those that know) that effectively divides up learning material - I’d like students to be able to see how all their different subjects link together; if you have one Ning for each unit - then that makes it difficult. A more open tool like Facebook would allow the learners to see what was going on in all the subjects they learn. (not that I’d recommend FB for learning … just the structure of it!)

    However, i’ve just discovered now that it doesn’t seem to be possible to search Ning to find things you’re interested in. Which makes it hard for newbies to get to know what Ning can do, if they’ve not been invited to join an exising community.

  20. Larry Brauner on December 10th, 2009 5:25 pm

    Emma,

    Ning has lost a lot of its luster since I wrote this article. However, instead of using multiple sites, groups might be the answer.

    Using wikis instead of social networking sites might also be interesting.

  21. Deb on March 1st, 2010 3:15 am

    Thanks for the post… have just checked out Ning, and slowly finding my way around it, so can’t exactly form an opinion yet.

    You mention ‘groups’ might be the answer, I will look into that :)

    Thanks again, it’s been helpful,

    Cheers
    Deb

  22. grilaje usi on April 30th, 2011 5:11 am

    Thanks, Larry, I’m hearing about Ning for the first time.

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