What is it, exactly?
More than any other tool we’ve reviewed here, this question—What is it?—has never been more important to answer succinctly here. Why? Because Mighty Network’s website doesn’t really do a great job of explaining it. The first thing the site copy boasts is that it is “So much more than a community platform,” which isn’t terribly descriptive. If you asked me what I was writing right now, and I told you “So much more than a bunch of words in paragraphs” I wouldn’t have answered your question. Scroll down, and you get a bit of information about what you can do with Mighty Networks: Bring your content and community together. So, cool. That sounds like social media. Which isn’t too far off.
What Mighty Networks is, exactly, is a way to create your own social network, one dedicated to the topic of your choice. That topic could be your company or brand. It could be your art or your music. It could be a cause that’s near and dear to you. Whatever it is that drives you can become the basis of a social platform powered by Mighty Networks.
If that were all it did, though, there wouldn’t be much to differentiate from Ning, the much more established platform designed to create personal social networks. This comparison is necessary, because Ning was co-founded by Gina Bianchini, the founder and CEO of Mighty Networks. Why come up with an idea, make it successful, and sell it for millions only to come up with the same idea and do it all over again? Because this newer idea has one more feature that actually makes the whole idea go from a pretty good one to a great one: an educational component.
This doesn’t mean that Mighty Network offers its customers educational opportunities for becoming successful in their endeavors (although they do actually do that). Rather, it means that its customers can create and offer their own educational courses to their respective communities. The applications of this ability are seemingly endless, but it seems especially perfect for Creators and Influencers. Social networks are awash in talented people offering How-To and other kinds of Tutorial videos—makeup, fashion, visual arts, cooking, and music are just some of the things that billions of people turn to YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram in order to learn. With Mighty Networks, these Creators can monetise these lessons directly instead of relying on their portion of ad revenue. And with communities that piggyback off the content of any given course (think of it like Facebook Page that engages members with assignments and challenges and feedback), they can generate revenue of the coveted Monthly Recurring kind.
What’s the Cost?
There are three levels of service offered that are ideal for small businesses, freelancers, and consultants—in addition to the Creators and Influencers who seem the most natural demographic for Mighty Networks. Beyond these levels is also a service called Mighty Pro, the chief difference of which is the fully branded white-labelled app you can create for mobile access to your network. Otherwise, networks can be accessed through Mighty Networks’s own branded app. In addition to the monthly fees, Mighty Networks also takes a percentage of your member subscription fees (after credit card processing fees):
- The Free Plan, $0/mo — Up to 3 “hosts” (admins) can manage your network of unlimited members, basic community platform features (member profiles, posting, commenting, messaging), community privacy settings, 5% member subscription fee, Community Design Masterclass offered at $349
- The Community Plan, $28/mo ($23/mo if billed annually) — Unlimited hosts, members, and moderators, custom domain, SEO friendly, all community features as above, plus customisable member categories, member leaderboard, member referrals, private groups within community, 3% member subscription fee, Community Design Masterclass offered at $149
- The Business Plan, $98.mo ($81/mo if billed annually) — All of the above, plus creation and sale of online courses, detailed analytics, Facebook and Google pixel tracking, 2% member subscription fee, Community Design Masterclass offered at $99.
For a complete list of features, you can check here.
Is It Easy to Setup and Use?
So easy. Logging into Mighty Networks for the first time leaves you with no questions as to how to proceed. You’re presented with a quick video to give you a general idea of what you can do with your new community, and then The Mighty Checklist.
The checklist is a great resource; not only does it give you an idea of what you need to do to get started, but it teaches you how to do it all each step of the way with contextual help and links to their support articles. Another excellent way that Mighty Networks grounds new users is to automatically enroll them in the Mighty Hosts network. The network is filled with posts about how to get the most out of your own network while connecting you with other people who are in the same boat. But it also serves as an example, showing you how you can use your own network to inform and connect with your audience.
Working your way through the settings to configure the backend workings of your network (including setting up subscription levels) couldn't be easier. The same goes for creating the content itself. Whether it’s a post or an online course, the editing tools work like a stripped down version of a content management system. “Stripped down” shouldn’t be taken as a knock; you have every tool you’d need to create your posts and lessons—including pre-fab templates—and to make them richly formatted with text and media.
Show Me the Money
Of course, the tech aspect could be completely automated and require nothing of you and it still wouldn’t be worth a damn if you don’t know how to create and build out your network. Mighty Networks has your back on that, too, with an abundance of resources beyond their Community Design Masterclass. The Mighty Hosts network itself got a special shout out from the Happy Startup School in a post on Medium describing the success of their switch from Facebook to Mighty Networks.
The case studies page at the Mighty Networks also showcases specific examples of success stories among their customers. Companies publishing these on their website as a form of testimonial isn’t anything new, And, mostly, these shouldn’t be used as evidence of a product’s greatness—any company can find one or two happy customers to use them as an example. It’s worth mentioning Mighty Networks’ case studies, though, simply for the sheer number of them. They currently host over 50 of them, and add a new one every Wednesday. These are valuable in showing customers both how well the platform can work, as well as how people are working with the platform.
The Bottom Line
Creators looking for new ways to monetise their social media fame have no shortage of tools and services to choose from in order to do that. In all cases, these services give them the ability to either provide exclusive content, or sell merch, or any number of other one-way transactions that turn followers into customers. Mighty Networks provides a much more community-oriented approach to achieve the same goal. Yes, you’ll be collecting monthly fees and one time payments from your subscribers and students, but not at the cost of abandoning your community.
Your followers will still have access to you and each other; the same kind of authentic interactions that made you popular on social media can make you money with Mighty Networks. And since you’re still broadcasting to and communicating with them—in other words, providing what they already love you for—your audience will never accuse you of “selling out.”
Ease of Use