How to Start and run your own social network?
“The goal of social media is to turn customers into volunteer marketing army.” (Jay Baer)
It will not be wrong to say that the World Wide Web is a powerful tool since it allows people to communicate and interconnect in ways that couldn’t be dreamt of a few years ago. With the advent of social applications like Skype and social networks like Twitter and Facebook, it is really easy to communicate with people living in distant parts of the world. It is possible to meet up with friends that you haven’t seen in ages. You can make like-minded friends or even find something as deep as your soul mate.
Social Networking and its Popularity
Social networking sites are some of the most popularly visited online destinations at this moments. These online websites have coupled services together which makes it easy to filter out users based on your preferences. Social networking sites range from being enormous like Facebook and MySpace to smaller ones which aim to connect people of like-minded interests.
New dreamers, what do they think?
Many people think that since there are many social websites available online, they will not be able to thrive in such environment. However, that is not the case. Innovation is the key to success like Mark Zuckerberg proved when he launched Facebook. It is possible that a new social website that implements other brilliant ideas becomes the new social networking website of tomorrow.
Got excited? Now what exactly does it take to kick start a new social website?
Pick out your audience and design a theme
The first step in creating a new website is to check what audience it will cater to. If you aim at catering to the general public, then you must keep in mind that you will be tackling social networking giants like, Facebook and Hi5 who not only have a few years of head start but also have a user base in the millions.
Another option altogether is to create a website which revolves around a certain activity or a hobby. This requires you to give your website a central theme and members interested in that particularly, subject could then be targeted. Interested users are engaged users and as long as there is something interesting going on in your website, they will stick around and contribute their fair share.
Once, the theme is perfectly formulated in your head and you believe that theme is worth persuading and there will be a community waiting for the theme you picked out. Then you move on to the next step.
The Features you expect in your website
The next step is to think clearly of the features which you expect your site to offer, they can range from message and bulletin boards to individual profiles of members. These features could be bought from a vendor or (if you are a program designer) designed yourselves. Some of these features might even be available for free in an open-source format. However, there is one temptation that you must avoid and that is to include everything. Because, if you do that, your site will be a chaotic mess if the features are not properly organized and supervised.
The next step is to look for a website host. If you believe your idea will grow quickly and you will get a huge user base once your website gets online then you should look for a host that will supply you with enough storage and bandwidth. Mostly, website hosting isn’t free and if you are not lucky enough to find donate hosting services then you would need to buy hosting services which would require money.
One of the ways to raise money for your website is by seeking out venture capital. A venture capitalist is mainly a person or an organization that puts trust in your idea and invests money into your new business with hopes that they will receive profits as the business grows and succeeds. A few social websites including Twitter received their initial propulsion by Venture Capital.
Whatever your way and plan would be, it must always be remembered that no business plan is set in stone and after the initial success, you might need to revisit and (if needed) edit your plans for the future.
“In the digital space, attention is a currency. We earn it. We spend it.” (Brian Solis)
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