February 25th, 2009
by Kate McMillan
By now you’re probably leveraging all those social networks out there to benefit your business. You’re on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. But what if you want to create your OWN social network? One that uses your own brand, and plays by your rules? There is an answer: Ning.
Your network on Ning can be public or private. Treat it like a watercooler or an exclusive event, the choice is up to you.
Ning was co-founded by Marc Andreeseen and here’s what it allows you to do:
- Brand your social network with your own logo and visual design.
- Define your own profile questions for incoming members from the Profile Questions page. Approve members before they join. Enable members to customize their profile pages with their own design, choice of widgets and OpenSocial profile applications. Customize advanced member search based on your network’s unique profile questions, including location. Access and export member data directly from your social network.
- A real-time stream of everything happening across your social network. Put it on the Main page or make it persistent on every network page by adding it to your network’s right hand column from the Features page. Choose the activities that are displayed.
- Add a text box to your network’s Main page via the Features page and copy and paste in your choice of widgets from the thousands available on the web today. For something more simple, use the text box for your weekly column, special promotions, or your own unique images and graphics.
- Pull in one or more RSS feeds from your blog, website or news source for an ongoing stream of information into your social network. All features for public social networks are also available via RSS off your network automatically.
- Add your own branded photos feature for your members to upload and share photos. Automatically enables your members to embed your network’s branded photo slideshows anywhere on the web and link back to your social network. Choose to moderate photos before they are posted.
- Add a rich single or multi-threaded discussion forum with categories, photos and attachments to your social network. Limit forum topic creation to you or open it up to all of your members.
- Add your own branded video feature for your members to upload and share videos. Automatically enable your members to embed your network’s branded video player anywhere on the web and link back to your social network. Choose to moderate videos before they are posted.
- Enable your members to see who’s online and chat in real-time.
- Put your members one-click away from adding your network’s branded videos, photos and music as Facebook applications. Enable via the Facebook option on your network’s Manage page.
- Enable groups on your social network with images, membership, comments and a discussion forum. Moderate groups before they are displayed or open it up to all of your members.
- Every member of your social network has both a profile and a blog on your social network. Display everyone’s blog posts as a tab or just feature specific blog posts on your network’s Main page via our unique Feature displays.
- You and your members can organize events and keep track of who’s attending. Limit event creation to you or open it up to all of your members.
- And if you choose to pay a monthly service fee, you get the ability to remove Ning promotion links, control the ads displayed, use your own domain name, and get more storage and bandwidth.
So, if your business could benefit from its own social network, this may be a great solution for you.