Over the last year we’ve helped several clients deploy social networks on the Ning platform. Our early Ning deployments were elegant, but traditional: we helped member organizations create rich, dynamic online member communities. Recently, we’ve been breaking out of that box.
A Lesson in Seeding Content
This implementation was a great example of how “seeding” (or “pre-populating”) a network with real content can kick-start a community. Partnering with our client, we created user accounts for every employee – corporate photo and all. They created a series of forum categories with several posts in each. The CEO posted his first entry on his internal blog. A small group of “Beta Testers” filled out their profiles and posted discussions and comments. Images from recent company events were uploaded as albums. Even a funny YouTube video comparing Banks to Credit Unions was embedded on the front page.
This up front energy and investment created an exceptional experience for new users once the official launch invitations went out. New members entered a community abuzz with activity, with almost two hundred colleagues already engaged. User photos were everywhere, items were already posted for sale in the “Buy and Sell” forum, there were posts about upcoming events, baby announcements, and more.
Needless to say, their social-network centric Intranet, or “Ning-tranet”, is off to a great start.
By Chris Murray
Chris has started several companies and been involved in sales, marketing, and product development strategy for several others. He has spent nearly fifteen years working with web technologies on projects of all shapes and sizes.