Of all the popular social media marketing sites, Ning may not be as well known but things look like they’re quickly changing.
Ning is a social networking site with an appealing slogan – “Create your own social network for anything.” If I were to describe it, I would say that it’s a mish-mash of a blog, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and maybe even MySpace, all rolled into one.
Unlike other “free” services like Facebook, Ning has a different (paid) business model. This means that you’re more likely to see corporate and professional pages. Many people don’t like the idea of a paid service but I see that it has many advantages. For one, there’s not diluted with spambots and other bugs. Discussion and engagement seems more natural and enthusiastic.
Maybe that’s why it comes as no surprise that non-profits and other worthy causes have chosen Ning as its primary platform. Check out Martha Stewart’s Dreamers Into Doers and Amanda de Cadenet’s page dedicated to body image and other women’s issues. I see that these sites are strong examples of what Ning excels in. As for businesses, (especially small businesses), I’m not entirely sure the potential is all there yet, especially since it’s a paid service. But that is the point that Ning is trying to make as it’s straying away from being grouped as another Facebook or Twitter wannabe.
Ning has differentiated itself from competitors and in a major way. Revenue is reportedly up a whopping 400% from last year. Let’s see if Ning can continue to keep its thing going on and if it will catch on with more businesses.