All Posts (163)

Unpopular Communities

I recently read "The Power of Unpopular" by Erika Napoletano, the no holds barred brand strategist who makes a splash in the marketing world with her frank, uncensored advice. While the advice in her book is primarily aimed at brands and companies, I found that much of the wisdom could easily be applied to online community. Here are my favorite takeaways for cultivating an "unpopular" community.
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Upcoming Webinar: The Community Lifecycle

The Online Community Lifecycle is the single most important thing a community manager can know. Attend our upcoming webinar on August 29th, and at the end of one hour you will have a full understanding of this concept. It might just completely change the way you approach your community.
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How do people hear about your community? Do you wait for people to join or approach them? The biggest influence upon someone’s likelihood of becoming a regular participant is their level of interest in the topic.
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There are three paths to gaining influence in your community: likability, reciprocity, and expertise. In this video, Richard Millington explains the benefits and pitfalls of each approach and reveals the reasons for cultivating an insider group. If you want to learn how to steer the direction of the community while keeping its members happy, watch this essential community management talk.
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We're excited to announce a free course for Ning Network Creators developed in collaboration with FeverBee, a top community management consultancy. In the course, you'll learn the skills, knowledge, and resources to build a thriving community. This self-paced course, which contains 10 lessons, covers the objectives of a community, understanding your audience, recruiting your first members, creating thriving discussions, developing content and facilitating exciting events. At the end of each lesson, you'll find a list of specific action points. These are elements that you can directly apply to your community efforts.
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Shamshir Rai Luthra is a welfare activist, community catalyst, and quotable visionary who has developed four Ning communities to spread his message of oneness through self-knowledge and self-expression. Read on for our interview.
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How does Whole Foods Markets balance its overall brand social media efforts with those of local markets? Director of Social Media and Digital Marketing Natanya Anderson shares insight on the overarching ideology and regional practices at BlogWell Bay Area.
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Your goal, and the goal of every community manager, is to progress their community through the lifecycle. If you achieve this, you maximise what your community can be, the benefit it brings to your organization, and the benefits that members gain from the community.
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You may know singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles from her recent radio hits (Love Song, King of Anything, Bottle It Up, or newest single, Brave) or from her judging stint on the third season of NBC's The Sing-Off. The members of the SaraBFans Community can tell you about her awesome Twitter interactions, her early college a capella days, and how awesome it is to see her live with a group of your best fan friends. The community's creator, Clément Grellier, took some time to answer our questions about how Sara Bareilles fans have made one of the best fan-run communities on the web.
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Back to School Community Reading

As August rolls around, the Back to School signs start going up and recommended reading lists start coming out. Did you spend your summer on beach reads like Nicholas Sparks and World War Z? Time to get back in the scholastic mindset. Here's our list of Back to School Reading for Community Managers.
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If there is one single thing every community manager should know about communities, the lifecycle is it. 

Using the lifecycle you can identify exactly where you are now and where you need to go next. 
In this series of posts, we're going to explain the full online community lifecycle.

 The maturity phase of the online community lifecycle begins when members of the community are generating 90% or more of activity/growth, and there is a limited sense of community.
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If there is one single thing every community manager should know about communities, the lifecycle is it. 

Using the lifecycle you can identify exactly where you are now and where you need to go next. 
In this series of posts, we're going to explain the full online community lifecycle.

 The establishment phase of the online community lifecycle begins when the community has reached critical mass.
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If there is one single thing every community manager should know about communities, the lifecycle is it. 

Using the lifecycle you can identify exactly where you are now and where you need to go next. 
In this series of posts, we're going to explain the full online community lifecycle.

 The inception stage begins when you begin interacting with the target audience and ends with the community achieving a critical mass of growth and activity.
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Lectures at home and homework during classroom time? Sounds like the education world turned upside down, right? Over at the Flipped Learning Network, that's just what they're trying to do: bring innovation to education by "turning learning on its head." Utilizing technologies such as screencasting and virtual textbooks, teachers of flipped classes attempt to reach every student like never before. Educators into Flipping their Classrooms gather together at the Flipped Learning Network's Ning Network, Flipped Classroom, where Jerry Overmyer, Mathematics and Science Outreach Coordinator for the Mathematics and Science Teaching Institute at the University of Northern Colorado, oversees the community of over thirteen thousand members. Jerry took some time to talk to us about Flipped Classroom and how to manage such a large community.
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The Online Community's Ecosystem

Your community lives within an ecosystem. This ecosystem is the broader topic, industry, area, field, group which encompasses the community. The ecosystem has a significant impact upon the community. It provides both inspiration for material in the community and opportunities to foster a closer sense of community.
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An online community is destined to fail if there is not enough interest in the concept for the community. So what does it take to create a community with a brilliant concept? Richard Millington explains.
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Community moderation is not just about removing the "bad stuff" in your community; it's about removing barriers to participation and facilitating motivation for members to interact with the rest of the community. By setting moderation objectives, you can more effectively mold your community's culture, resolve conflicts, and steer the community.
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You can’t mass-invite people to join your community. That’s spam. It’s ineffective and does more harm than good. Do you want a deleted e-mail to be someone’s first impression of your community? There are 3 very good and very effective ways to invite someone to join your community.
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Spanish singer-songwriter Enrique Iglesias can teach us a thing or two about community: He's recognized as one of the 50 most influential celebrities on the internet and there has been some semblance of an international fan forum present at EnriqueIglesias.com since the late 1990s. We caught up with Enrique's management team to chat about the engine that powers all that activity and the motivations behind the recent site redesign.
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Every few weeks, Ning invites a leading expert to discuss trending topics and best practices for community management. Watch the recordings here.

More than two million people have built a branded social network on Ning. Many of these customers now enjoy thriving online communities. You can find a few of those success stories here.

Learn what it takes to thrive and see what it is possible to achieve with Ning.


Growing a thriving online community is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

Our goal at Ning is to make building a community dead simple. We provide an incredibly reliable, popular, and easy-to-use platform so you can focus on cultivating your community.

Learn how to start your community in minutes.

Have you considered monetizing your community? Download your free copy of Monetizing Online Forums by Patrick O'Keefe to learn what methods are available, how to implement them, and how you can benefit today.