How to Build A Social Media Platform: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
Seems like we can't imagine the world without social media networks.
10:21 09 June 2020
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat - are always there to entertain you. But what if to have a look at this issue from another perspective? You are not a user, but a developer whose goal is to build a social network website from scratch. Today, this niche is the most promising one. Though it seems like it is occupied by such leaders as Facebook or Instagram, this doesn't mean you have no chances. Technology is constantly evolving and this means that new opportunities appear on an ongoing basis.
The first social networking site appeared more than 50 years ago, in the USA. It was the PLATO System that had a few stunning options, such as instant messaging, forum, bulletin boards, and much more! But what about today? According to the statistics, modern leaders are Facebook, Youtube, and Whatsapp.
In this comprehensive review, we'll try to understand the main problems of building social networks and provide you with true tips that might help you do this yourself.
Build A Social Media Platform Yourself: Overview of The Key Stages
In very deed, this process is not easy. It takes time, effort, professional skills, and money! So get comfortable and have a look at the key stages.
Identifying your targeted audience
Before you immerse yourself into the complicated project of developing a social media website, the first thing that you have to do is to define for whom it will work. To complete this mission, you need to do comprehensive online research, analyze, gather demographics, and the behavioral habits of people. This phase is time-consuming but you can’t miss it.
You should also pay enough attention to testing. After you develop a demo version, you should find real people to test it.
Create your own growth strategy
The modern market is overwhelmed with powerful competitors like Facebook, Twitter, or others. But this doesn’t mean your social network has no chances. But to achieve success, you need to start with thinking about your growth strategy. There are two basic principles that you might follow:
- Start out small and gradually increase your base. Just have a look at your main competitor, Facebook. It started as a small local web application and gradually expanded.
- Go Big. If the previous solution doesn’t meet your needs, you can concentrate your efforts on larger demographics. But in such a scenario, you need to have a unique idea and a certain goal that you should follow. The best example that illustrates this solution is Twitter.
Use minimal and clear UX design
Remember, users like simplicity. Moreover, users have no time to learn how your social networking site works. Therefore, to get more users, you need to make it simple, clear, and minimal. You should care about their values. All popular modern networks have a user-oriented design that is not cluttered with a wide array of useless features.
Check the list of mandatory features you can’t do without:
- Chat features;
- Comment section;
- A standard profile;
- A set up page;
- Engagement buttons.
If this list is not enough, you can gradually expand it, but it requires financial investments.
What about the options for self-expression?
The main goal of social networks is not only to get in touch with friends. It’s a place for self-expression where users want to feel unique, creative, and extraordinary. Make sure you add some options for customizing profiles, nicknames and more.
What are the main checkpoints that should be followed?
After you finally make a decision about your main development strategy, core audience, and the main options that you wish to add, it is high time to make a meeting with your developers. Have a look at a step-by-step list of the main checkpoints that always have to be considered.
- Unfortunately, if you don’t have money, you can’t start. Any development project begins with a discussion of the budget. For example, the development of Instagram required $300.000, Facebook - $500.000. And it’s early days!
- What about the platform? Before you create a social media website, you should decide whether your social network will be web-based or will also have a mobile application. If you want both, you need to invest more.
- Traffic Estimation. You shouldn’t miss this stage. To complete this mission, you can use such tools as PostgreSQL, MySQL, or MongoDB.
These are the key steps to follow for those who think of the development of a social networking website. But development is not enough. You can build a superb tool, but what’s next? How will you attract users? Let’s move on to discussing the promotion.
How To Attract Users To Your Social Network?
Promotion is a mandatory stage that also requires money. In current times, there are numerous marketing tools that you can use to make your network noticeable. They are as follows:
- Deal with other companies via affiliate programs. It goes without saying that affiliate marketing is a powerful tool that will make your project closer to your users.
- Develop digital products like software, games, or ebooks and sell them online. Selling branded physical goods is also a good idea.
- Organize various events and charge for sponsorship.
- Use freelance services;
- Develop a “donations” button; it’s a superb way to have a passive income.
- Develop your own SEO strategy and hire professionals in this niche.
- If you have some premium options, you can provide your users with free access to them. In doing so, you’ll develop a huge database with leads.
Remember that the process of building a social media site is not easy and may last for six months, depending on how many features you wish to add. In this case, planning is everything. You can’t start until you have a strategy to follow!