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Are you Ninging yet? Here's something definitely worth a look if you want to communicate more effectively (10 Oct 10)

Social networking is a lot more than Facebook and YouTube

We recently ran our course How to use social networking sites.

To help us prepare for it we asked delegates about their experience social networking sites and what their current communication problems were.

Ciara Goodwin, Housing Meetings Co-ordinator for London Borough of Croydon …

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Comment by Glen Tower Hamlets Partnership 04 Sep 09 at 12:43:49

Like all social networking sites, Ning can certainly be a useful tool, but it is little use if no-one knows it exists. Thought has to go into how it is advertised to the people you want taking part, as well as what will get them coming back for more.

And whatever the functionality, content is still king. If it's not coming from other users (which is the ideal situation), be prepared to put some up yourself otherwise it will die off pretty rapidly. This content needn't be well rounded and throughly researched articles, sometimes a quick update post about how the team are getting on is enough, anything to show that the site is regularly looked at and reviewed.

A final note on this, many sites have loads of different modules or different types of functionality you can add - unless you know you can maintain it and add more content regularly, don't add them! It's worse to have one ancient piece of content on display than to have none at all, it makes people think that you're not viewing the site and won't hear whatever they are saying.


Comment by Paul Luton Borough Council 07 Sep 09 at 17:07:13

Totally agree witht the importance of marketing the web site. I think that many people think that having a web site is the key. I am aware of a number of small businesses that have invested in websites but are extremently disappointed with the contribution it is making to sales. Thinking of the website as a shop, is an analogy my wife uses (a web designer) and without promoting the website, is like opening a shop in the middle of a field.


Comment by Hugh Networked Neighbourhoods 08 Sep 09 at 15:14:21

I'm in absolute agreement with you both around making sure a website gets known about. Too many people suffer from the "build it and they will come" delusion. It simply doesn't work.

Harringay Online was heavily marketed, mainly online. Today, two years after we launched, with a target popultaion of 15,000, we have a membership of 2,000.

We get about 250 visits a day from around 175 different people. That calculates out as better penetration than Newsnight and Channel 4 news.

So, it can be done, but as you say Glen, to make it work you have to put in the hours and hit the right buttons.

However, the rewards in terms of social impact appear to be worth it.

Why not join the discussion!

Or even better still offer your own advice and tell us about things that others can learn from.

We moderate comments lightly so bear with us and we'll get your thoughts listed as soon as we can.

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