The news may overflow with stories about the social networking giants, such as Facebook and MySpace but a horde of companies are doing their best to reduce the fundamental features of these websites to mere commodities. These up-and-coming companies provide so-called ‘white label’ social networking platforms that enable their customers to build their own social networks, often from scratch and to tailor those networks to a range of purposes.
If you have a medium to large-sized online network, you might have noticed some of your contacts have been developing their own communities in the form of private groups, forums or social networks that are a mixture of free or paid memberships.
Pros of creating your own Social Network:
Driving Traffic to your Site- Let’s say that you start a forum on your domain. If you’re successful in creating a popular community, you’ll be driving a lot of traffic to your website. The traffic, in return, will lead to the next benefit.
Increasing Your Income- There are several ways to monetize a community. The direct approach is to actually charge your community membership fees for entry into the community or advanced privileges, such as the ability to promote themselves more within the community and premium content. If your community is tied into a business, having the additional traffic to your site is bound to lead to converting community members to clients, or getting clients to join the community so you can later up sell them with additional products or services.
Becoming an Authority- If you become a successful community leader, you could become an authority in your industry as the administrator of a thriving community.
Bookmarking Stories-Almost as bad as not remembering a great idea, is reading an article or story you know you’re customers will love and not being able to find it when you need it. Smartphones that are helpful with such features and also don’t cost you a bomb are the Gionee P5, Panasonic P95 and Moto G5S.
Cons of creating your own Social Network:
Startup Costs-Generally to maintain a community on your own site, you’ll have to invest in the development or customisation of community software, such as a forum program or social networking plugin.
Administration Time- The next major factor in maintaining your community is administration. This involves everything from managing the software platform to moderating the activity among members to be sure that there isn’t any abuse of community rules or harassment of other community members. Without this kind of administration, the community will quickly fall.
Sticky Members- It’s not just about getting people to sign up, but getting them to keep coming back to your community and participate as much as possible. Unfortunately, what people forget is that there are sometimes too many communities out there, and not enough time to devote all of them. So if your communities not at the top of its game and requires too much involvement, members might start dropping off in activity.
What you must do to have a Successful Social Network Community:
Start with Research- Before you jump into creating your own community, start by seeing what’s out there in a related niche, join those communities and then observe the activity. Note what you like and dislike about the way the community operates, from the platform to the members and the leaders. Note which communities keep you coming back for more and they do it.
Provide unique Value- Notice that it isn’t just value, but unique value. Think about the communities you researched and then try to figure out that one thing that no else is offering that you can. One example would be creating a community that’s more specifically focused by doing a little brainstorming.
Platforms for your On-site Community
Forums- If you’ve chosen to create a forum, the most popular is vBulletin. It has the most robust set of features and is most widely used.
Social Network-Want to go beyond a forum? Two popular platforms for building your own social network are Ning and BuddyPress.
With the numerous available resources today, creating a social media platform is easier than it was in the past. Doing a quality research is a must activity before you start with anything else. The right information can save you time and resources.
So if you follow these steps you will soon be on your way to growing a large and interactive social media community.