Mighty Networks' CEO: The Future of Deep Interest Communities

  Gina Bianchini CEO Mighty Networks 

 Gina Bianchini CEO Mighty Networks 

Personal branding. Social networking. Content creation. T

These buzzwords have floated around the tech and business world for the past several years as part of the formula that entrepreneurs, brands, and businesses have used to gain a loyal base of customers and followers. But over that time, attention spans have become shorter. Sponsored advertising is overtaking native content on social media platforms. And the temptation of getting in front of as many eyes as possible can overshadow genuine engagement. 

Mighty Networks plans to change that. 

Mighty Networks promotes itself as "the fastest way to create and grow a community-powered brand" by providing an online platform for deep interest networks. With specialized algorithms and smart technology, the Mighty Networks app helps creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs (called hosts) foster communities between followers (called fans) who are passionate about similar interests, which can range from yoga to skydiving, to craft hairdressing. By homing in on one particular interest, Mighty Networks prioritizes quality over quantity of followers and enables real connections to develop as a result.

Through the app, hosts create a community through which they can deliver premium content-written posts, videos, and more-and behind-the-scenes experiences that will spark conversations and facilitate connections. Fans can search for new communities, post to a community page, or ask questions within the communities they join. 

Mighty Networks is the brainchild of Gina Bianchini, a Silicon Valley veteran, Stanford University graduate, and serial entrepreneur. She was previously the CEO of Ning, a social networking app she co-founded with Marc Andreessen and which grew to 90 million users across 300,000 active communities in entertainment, politics, and education. She was also co-founder and president of Harmonic Communications, and she was a former employee of CKS Group and Goldman Sachs.

While Mighty Networks is known as a way to host your community, the platform offers much more through what Bianchini calls "network effects."

"Network effects happen when a product or service gets more useful, the more people who use it," Bianchini said. "This simple dynamic--bringing people together into a network that gets more valuable, the more similar people who join--has created the most powerful brands you use every day: Facebook, LinkedIn, Uber, Airbnb, etc."

In creating Mighty Networks, Bianchini asked the simple question: "Why shouldn't every entrepreneur bringing people together around an interest get to have their network effects?" She believes that when a brand has its own network effects, it can grow faster, create something more meaningful for the people who have joined, and generate revenue from subscriptions, sponsors, courses, and events. Fans who love a community's content may even become "brand evangelists," further sharing the community's stories and brand with their networks and exponentially increasing growth.

The best part of the deal? Network effects, by definition, mean less work. 

"You don't have to throw yourself daily into the arena of Facebook to get people's attention or need to manage ten different services for your email, website, courses, events, etc. all on different platforms," said Bianchini. "If we do our job right, we want to be a software-as-a-service that seems too good to be true...and delivers!"

Unlike most social networks, Mighty Networks does not have traditional advertising or sponsored posts. The platform is currently funded by charging a small fee to amazing social networks that an entrepreneur or organization can brand, market, and monetize themselves.

"We think the future of brands is in creating their own network effects among their customers--a network that gets more valuable the more customers who use it--and that's an infinitely better option for generating revenue growth than hammering people with the same campaigns and messages," said Bianchini.

Bianchini cautions that current social media stats are pointing to a world where you will have to do more and more work for fewer and fewer organic results. And even when you pay to reach people, she points out; prices are going to continue to go up.  

"I'm not against social networks or don't believe they have an important role to play in building your brand," said Bianchini. "But given this environment, I'm a proponent of choosing one or two channels, and just spending money to get the best results." 

Bianchini has some significant goals for Mighty Networks in 2018. She plans to launch a series of online courses-a feature that many hosts and fans have requested-and paid groups within a Mighty Network. 

"I want for every brand, entrepreneur, organization, and online business to understand just how much better their product can be when they choose to build network effects instead of just a static website or store. It's incredible!" said Bianchini. "We're going to be passionately shouting from the mountain tops what netwwork effects can bring to an idea or an interest."