How To Create A Social Network Platform In Five Steps
Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.
Since the creation of Facebook, the social media industry has been booming. Mark was the needed trigger and catalyst that pushed entrepreneurs to think, take risks and create a social network that is new and fresh.
Have you ever thought of building your own social network? If the answer is yes, then this article has all the details that will help you create one.
But how do you start a social network? Do you have the needed resources to create a social networking site? In this article, we bare it all and give you the right steps to succeed.
1. Define Your Target Audience – know Your Community
Paying attention to this phase and focusing all of your work and energy at the start will pay off in the end. First, you must define the core and then develop a social network website based on these parameters and values. Ask yourself what is social networking service anyway? Defining your target audience by using as many filters as you can, will help you establish your social media network on a solid ground later. As we said this phase is crucial and by doing it right you will lower the risk level of failure significantly. How to effectively define your target audience? You can choose between two approaches:
The internet is a very good place for information. You can find, collect and analyze, demographics, psychographics and behavioral habits of large masses of people. There are a lot of available resources out there that give away the right data. You just need to dig deeper. Google must be your starting point which will lead you whenever you need to go to grab that valuable piece of information. Online research can be time-consuming but it’s reliable and simple.
Test and learn
With this approach, you need a demo version prepared of your social media that you can test on real people and then prepare assumptions based on their behavior. This approach requires, arranging test people, preparing various interview questions and providing testing equipment. The downside is that it has costs attached to it, the good thing is that you will have 100% reliable results.
How to create a social network when you have limited resources and what approach you should use? It really depends on the development process and what data you really need. Choose wisely.
2. Develop Growth Strategy Based on Your Users
How to build a social network in a market full of competitors? To build it from scratch you need to first prepare your growth strategy. Your target audience is defined, you have all of the important data but now you need to make them aware of your service. Sounds really simple but this part is tricky too. Fortune is analyzing interesting concepts in the article about The real way to build a social network that can be valuable when implemented in reality.
The need to define consistent growth strategy aligned with your target audience comes from the fact that the destiny of your social network commercial success depends on it.
There are two things you can do:
Begin Small and slowly expand your base. Remember Facebook started local and small. They used the information available in their high school yearbook. They expanded after the network became hugely popular. Entrepreneurs know how to take a calculated risk. Mark is an amazing entrepreneur and business conscious person. You should be one too. You can start your social network even with help of white-labeled instruments, like Ning.
Go Big – Focus your efforts on large demographic and your marketing on a larger base at the very start. Twitter used this strategy and became hugely successful.
Unless you have a unique solution or idea you should always begin small. It’s a less risky success strategy. The Go Big approach will expose your social network to other competitors as well, so growth will be tougher.
3. Follow these Social Network Development Check Points
What is social network site but a complex software that needs the right team to be successfully developed? After you get all the needed information about your target audience and strategy and you know the features and the look, it’s time to communicate everything to your team of developers. Before you do that you need to check you have everything prepared. Here are some checkpoints you need to reconsider before you get in touch with your development team:
The Money – The development process is all about the money. Instagram had a $ 300.000 development budget and Facebook around $500.000. It depends on the complexity of the features you are trying to develop. If you are going for a simple functionality then your cost will be lower, around $ 100.000. Have this in mind.
The Platform – Is it going to be web-based only social network or are you planning on developing a mobile app too? You need to know these things before the big talk with your development people. Use the data from your market research to decide what to do. How to launch a social network on the market is tightly related to the preferences of your target audience.
Data Base Volume – Traffic Estimation – It’s not possible to estimate your traffic with a 100% accuracy. The estimated number that will be close to what will happen in reality will be a valuable info to your development team. Here are some database options you can use:
– Use MySQL or PostgreSQL for your structured data.
– NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB for a high-load and high traffic surges
Base your choice on your estimation.
4. Use Minimal and Simple Social Network UX Design
How to design a social network that will be user-friendly and functional?
Keep it minimal and simple. Why these two rules exist? Because users want to make a social network that is all about them, not you. The user experience matters. Create your own network that cares about their journey and the value they get out of it. Flashy social network designs like HI5 and Myspace did not seem to go very well on the market. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have one thing in common which is user-oriented design and ease of use. Online tools can help you too. For instance, Ning has a simple drag and drop builder that can save you a lot of time.
Here you can check a few steps needed to create your own social network. There are basic elements that you must think of before you start defining your social network front end. You must think of:
- The elements of a standard profile
- Chat options and features
- News Feed design
- Connect Buttons
- Engagement Buttons
- Comment Section Areas
- Social Groups options
- Setup Page Design
The UX design can be tricky. You must make sure your social network provides user-centric and enjoyable experience for your target audience. Consistency across all of the parts of your social network is a must. Heavy investment into quality app architecture is something you have to be prepared on time financially and structurally.
5. Promote Your Social Network Effectively
After all, is said and done and you have the final product in your hands, it’s time for promotion. Follow the AIDA marketing model. It’s an acronym used in marketing and it stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. Following these steps will help you communicate with your target audience in a way that better respond to their needs and desires. Implementing the basics of this model in your digital marketing strategy can do wonders. It may even have some AI within, as we are confidently moving to the computer powered world.
The final goal is to monetize your efforts in the market properly. Combine your passion with money earning:
- Advertising on your platform – banners, sponsored posts, sponsorships, brand mentions.
- Cooperation with other companies and influencers via affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing is a well-known monetization way;
- Sell digital products (like e-books, games, software, music, apps) and physical goods (paper books, electronics, craft, food);
- Event organizing: charging for participation or sponsorship;
- Freelance services like training, coaching, consulting;
- Donations – “Donate” button could be a good way of passive income;
Few concrete digital marketing solutions you can do to promote your social media network better:
- Build Your SEO strategy – SEO is equally important for social media network as to any other e-commerce site. There are a lot of experts on the market that can help you in building quality SEO strategy that will not cost you much but increase the ranking and the online exposure of your business.
- Use Lead Generation Tactics – Build a landing page and give free access to some premium features for free. This will help you build your database with leads which you can use later for newsletters and future cool updates about new functionalities. You may even try recent chatbots marketing strategies.
- Use another social network for promotion – Use your followers base to dig deeper and find out about their friends on other social media. Ask them to invite them manually. This means that you have to set an automatic invite system that can invite friends based on their email or social media profile. Facebook implemented this tactic for so long and later all of the popular social media networks did the same. It will really help you in building your community.
- Find the perfect name that will define social networking – Analyze popular names for social networks, find what is the best fit for your business and use it in the marketing campaign. The name is an equally important element of your marketing strategy.
Developing your own social network, it’s a process that can last up to six months at least. Following the five steps will let you slowly and on time transition from each phase. What is social networking service without their users? You know the answer, nothing. In every phase, always have in mind the needs of your target audience. Never forget that.
Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.
Watch SMW Live
SMW Insider is a premium video platform that streams more than 180+ hours of talks, presentations, and interviews from leading industry experts.
Write for Us
Interested in sharing your ideas and insights with the world? Become a SMW News contributor and reach 300k readers each month.