A social network strategized in the right way can definitely prove to be a successful startup. If you are able to hit the right chord with your target audiences, then the network can grow on its own, through sheer word of mouth publicity. With technological advancements, it is not a very challenging task to build a social network and make it live. But, creating a successful and profitable network is not that simple. Here are some useful tips for creating and running a successful social networking website.
1. Define Your Idea
The first and foremost step is to come up with a unique idea for your social networking site. You need to understand what the social networking site is going to accomplish for your target audience. You should have a theme for your social networking site. You need to add engaging and relevant content on the basis of this theme and build a community around it. Suppose you wish to create a social network around pets or gardening for that matter, then you must focus on the same and work towards building a bigger community. Your users must see you as an expert in the field you choose.
2. What Features Are You Looking For
Make a list of features that you wish to incorporate in your social media platform. Evaluate the features of current social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google plus etc. While you would want to create a unique platform, getting inspired from sites which are already doing well, can be really helpful. You need to add features that improve the interactivity and usability of the website.
3. Get Investors
Once you have a business plan in place, you should look out for venture capitalists to invest in your startup. This is crucial for you to be able to market your idea effectively and get the desired reach. Presenting your business plan and the monetization features in an effective manner is very important too.
Every social networking software has some specific technical requirements. Evaluate these before choosing the right one for your site. You must analyse the bandwidth and storage required by your site. With cloud-based hosting systems, one has to choose a domain and get going. Cloud solutions also have inbuilt features to charge a fee for user generated content. You also get extensive help on these platforms for creating your site. A cloud-based social network can be started from as low as $10/month.
5. Self-Hosted Solutions
One can choose from a range of self-hosted solutions as well. The hosted system can be customised according to specific business requirements. This option is very helpful in building highly customized social networking sites.
6. CMS Based Solutions
You also have the option of building a social networking site with CMS based platforms. This option too provides interesting customization features through plugins and modules. The CMS program has to be installed first and one can quickly start developing with the features of choice.
7. Search Engine Optimization
While developing a social network, one must ensure that it is optimized for all the relevant search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Adding keywords content relevant to your niche will help you get search rankings and visibility on your website.
This is another important method for reaching out to your target audiences. Sending out newsletters with the latest news and updates on your site is helpful in creating the desired level of engagement.
9. Paid Campaigns and PR
Running paid campaigns on search engines is also important to get the desired reach for your social website. Circulating stories in the top news sites, who can talk about the features and benefits of registering for your site, can help garner trials for your product. Adding unique and engaging content on your site will build upon the loyalty of the users.
Making your social networking site interesting and engaging is the key to its success. If you can get more and more users on your platform then it becomes easier to monetize it. Creating advertising options on the platform, similar to the way Facebook and other content websites are doing, will help in getting businesses to get lured into advertising on your website. If you are operating in a specific niche, then you can even consider selling products on your platform.
This article is written by Ved Raj. He is a business enthusiast. He writes about startups, remote teams and outsourcing. He is working as a Marketing Manager with ValueCoders, a leading provider of remote development teams. Follow him: Facebook | Twitter | Google+.
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