Connect with us

Business

How To Create A Social Network Platform In Five Steps

Social Media Week

Published

on

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:

Online Research

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:

  1. The elements of a standard profile
  2. Chat options and features
  3. News Feed design
  4. Connect Buttons
  5. Engagement Buttons
  6. Comment Section Areas
  7. Social Groups options
  8. 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:

  1. Advertising on your platform – banners, sponsored posts, sponsorships, brand mentions.
  2. Cooperation with other companies and influencers via affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing is a well-known monetization way;
  3. Sell digital products (like e-books, games, software, music, apps) and physical goods (paper books, electronics, craft, food);
  4. Event organizing: charging for participation or sponsorship;
  5. Freelance services like training, coaching, consulting;
  6. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world.

Advertisement

Business

Steve Jobs Shares the Secrets to Successful Team Leadership in This Throwback Video

Entrepreneur

Published

on

Though Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died six years ago, his outsized influence is certainly still felt. A recently surfaced video interview with the late CEO — which based on his haircut seems to place him in the mid-1980s — shows him sharing his views about best practices for hiring and what makes a great manager.

Up front, he says that the greatest employees are the ones who have the ability to manage themselves. But they can only do that if the leadership at the top is clear about what they want. “What leadership [is] having a vision, being able to articulate that so the people around you can understand it and getting a consensus on a common vision,” Jobs says.

Related: Steve Jobs Systematically Cultivated His Creativity. You Can Too.

Jobs goes on to explain that one of the most important jobs of someone in his position is recruiting new employees. He notes that he isn’t necessarily looking for someone who is an industry veteran, but rather someone who understands where technology is and where it could go in the future. He also recalls a moment when as the company was growing, that he and others executives thought they needed “professional managers,” but that ultimately turned out to not be the case.   

“We went out and hired a bunch of professional management [and] it didn’t work at all. Most of them were bozos,” Jobs says with his characteristic brutal candor. “They knew how to manage, but they didn’t know how to do anything. If you’re a great person, why do you want to work for somebody that you can’t learn anything from?”

Related: What the Creation of Apple’s iPhone Teaches Us About Innovation

Ultimately, he notes that the best team leaders are the ones that aren’t angling for power for power’s sake. “They are the great individual contributors who never, ever want to be a manager,” Jobs says. “But decide they have to be a manager because no one else is going to be able to do as good a job as them.”

Do you agree with Jobs’s assessment? Let us know in the comments and check out the full video below.

Continue Reading

Business

How to Keep Introverted Employees From Quietly Leaving Your Company — in Droves

Entrepreneur

Published

on

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has been around for decades. Employers use it to uncover job candidates’ personality strengths and place them in the right role. MBTI results also help identify natural leaders and great communicators.

Related: Introversion Is Not A Weakness, So Why Are You Treating It Like One?

Yet, there’s little talk about how people’s results impact their satisfaction once they’re in a job. When leaders ignore employees’ happiness, it’s hard to keep productive talent around.

Interestingly, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based publisher of the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator, CCP, Inc., conducted new research that dove into how personality impacts workplace well-being. It looked at five aspects of well-being: positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishments.

After surveying 3,113 participants, the company, in a September report, revealed that introverts have lower well-being in all of these areas. This isn’t all that surprising: An introvert is less likely to speak up about what’s negatively impacting him or her.

It is shocking, however, that employers aren’t being more proactive. If leaders don’t find a way to improve the workplace happiness of introverts, those people will leave and take all their unique skills with them.

Want to avoid that happening to you? Here are some ideas to help connect with the introverts in your office and better understand their wellness-related needs in the workplace:

Be a chameleon.

Many leaders make the mistake of managing everyone the same way and assuming the results will equate across the board. But there’s a huge flaw in that logic: Every person, in fact, perceives and processes guidance differently. Some need more help in certain situations; some need less. So, it’s up to leaders to customize their approach.

Leaders ignoring the needs of their introverts can hurt their overall workplace well-being. The reason: Introverted employees will feel less engaged and have a harder time reaching their goals. This may then lead to feelings of isolation and disappointment, negatively impacting these workers’ mental health.

Related: 6 Truths on Why Introverts Make Great Leaders

When managers recognize introverts’ differences, on the other hand, they can help those employees succeed, and feel more accomplished. For example, as New York-based co-founder of the digital agency Ready Set Rocket, Aaron Harvey, pointed out, introverts have trouble speaking in front of people. “If someone struggles in brainstorming sessions, simply stop by their desk in advance and ask them to be prepared with a few ideas around a specific topic,” Harvey advised in an email. “This can help them feel confident, joining a conversation that organically leads to real-time ideation.”

Consider other situations when introverts might feel that they are out of their element. For instance, consider ways in which shy employees might meet new people.

Talking with new clients, after all, probably makes them nervous. So, reduce their stress by having an extrovert they’re comfortable with tag along. Having a familiar face present will help get them through the situation.

Scrimmage employees’ skill sets.

Extroverts’ strengths are obvious. They’re good communicators, enjoy building relationships and freely share their ideas — all skills that contribute to their well-being. These traits make it easier for them to create a support system at work and to speak up about what skills they have to offer.

Introverts’ skills are more hidden, so leaders don’t always see what they bring to the table. Since introverts are less likely to communicate what responsibilities they’d like to take on, they’re left feeling unfulfilled.

Skills-assessment tools, like the MBTI, are a great solution. They reveal natural strengths and help managers assign introverts more meaningful work.

After realizing your introverts’ skills, give them more opportunities to use them. Assign tasks and projects that allow them to maximize their strengths. Fully and effectively contributing to the team will improve their feelings of meaning and accomplishment.

Arlington, Va.-based Greg Wester, senior vice president of marketing and business development at the mobile content discovery platform Mobile Posse, likes to mix it up with his employees. To help everyone on the team develop his or her skills, Wester told me, the company poses team challenges that mix introverts and extroverts.

“We’ve found that people are super competitive about winning,” he said by email. “The different types of exercises give people a variety of ways to participate, get involved and hopefully boost their well-being.”

Currently, Mobile Posses’ employees are working as teams to create themed videos. Each team has eight cross-functional, cross-personality employees. They’re all challenged to use their individual skills to create a video representing their perspective on a company core value or vision.

This approach to skill-building, Wester said, helps introverts connect with the entire team and gives them more confidence about their value in the organization.

Keep kindred spirits together.

While it’s good to have both types of personalities working together, introverts may become stressed if they’re paired only with extroverts.

For instance, imagine walking into a room where everyone is talking loudly and the words don’t make sense. The situation is overwhelming. This is how introverts feel when they’re surrounded by extroverts. It’s as though no one is speaking their language, and they feel isolated as a result.

What’s more, iIntroverts and extroverts communicate differently. To maintain well-being, introverts need to find like-minded people they can connect with and recharge their energy with.

Rick Gibbs, a performance specialist at the Kingwood, Tex.-based HR services company Insperity, pointed out that following personality assessments, introverts can find people who are like them and make healthy connections. “The process itself can help improve communication, build teams, and expand office friendships,” Gibbs said in an email. “More introverted employees will be able to identify others with similar communications styles.”

Related: How Thinking Like an Introvert Can Help You Get Ahead in Business

So think about conducting personality testing at your workplace. Then, hold a meeting where everyone can discuss his or her results. This will show introverts that they are not alone. They’ll be able to communicate better and deepen their relationships — and with them their personal well-being — at work.

Continue Reading

Business

Hard Work? It's Not All It's Cracked up to Be. It May Even Be Irrelevant. Here's Why.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

From a young age, we’re raised to believe that we can accomplish pretty much anything so long as we work hard enough to achieve it. And, for the most part, that makes sense, at least intuitively. If you study for three hours while your roommate studies for one, you’ll probably do better on the test. If you spend 50 hours at work every week while your peer spends 30, you’ll stand a better chance of getting a raise or a promotion.

This idea follows us at every stage of our lives, and it echoes a cornerstone belief of Western culture: As long as you work hard, you’re going to be successful. But there’s a problem with this philosophy: Hard work isn’t always enough.

The Netflix approach

This idea is hard to accept at first, if you’re a hard worker who invests major time and effort to get what you want in life. Perhaps then, it’s best to introduce the alternative notion, using a corporate example.

Netflix (yes, the company responsible for those late-night television binges) has found success in part because it abolished the idea of hard work being the sole determining factor in an employee’s progression within the company.

Netflix formally introduced this idea in a 2009 slide deck explaining the company’s culture, but the idea dates back to 2001. Since her departure from Netflix, the company’s former chief talent officer, Patty McCord, has been on podcasts and spoken in interviews about the rather different work ethic Neflix evolved.

After experiencing financial trouble in 2001, the company made a bold move to lay off a third of its employees — not based on how long they’d worked there or how hard they’d worked, but solely on what they contribute, and how they impact the company’s bottom line. This infuriated some long-time, hard-working employees, but those who remained ended up getting more done because they didn’t have to correct others’ mistakes, or work around unnecessary teammates.

Even after that initial layoff, Netflix paid almost no attention to employees’ hard work. It allowed unlimited vacation time and flexible hours, focusing on results and innovation instead of the number of hours worked or the effort spent. This system resulted in the letting go of many employees who’d worked hard and performed well. But it also resulted in the better performance of the company (and, in many ways, in less stress for the remaining employees).

The problems with hard work

The Netflix example may seem harsh, especially if you’ve based your career around working hard. What if you too were fired after a decade of putting in long hours and genuinely trying your best?

Still, there are three main problems with hard work that an alternative culture or approach could correct:

“Hard work” doesn’t equal “results.” First off, hard work doesn’t necessarily correlate with results. For example, it doesn’t matter if you put 100 hours in to the design of your landing page; if your site doesn’t convert,you may as well have spent one hour.

Hard work isn’t efficient work. Next, consider that hard work isn’t necessarily efficient work. If it takes the person next to you three hours to complete a task that you could have completed in an hour, that extra hard work may have actually cost the company unnecessary time and money.

Hard work doesn’t encourage innovation. Finally, focusing on hard work doesn’t encourage innovation or novelty. Instead, it encourages repetition and persistence. Those factors can be good, but you also need some drive to try new tactics, incorporate new ideas and learn new things in your life.

What to focus on Instead

None of this is meant to imply that hard work isn’t valuable — only that your hard work should be reserved for when it counts the most. So, as an individual (whether you’re a professional or an entrepreneur), what should you be focusing on instead?

Efficiency. Focus on your efficiency. Instead of spending more hours, emphasize doing more with the hours you already have. For example, you could automate certain processes, delegate work beneath your paygrade or find new strategies to accomplish more within a set time frame. You can also work on eliminating redundancies in your workflow, or on abandoning tasks, meetings, and projects that eat up your time unnecessarily.

Results. Focus on results, prioritizing the work that seems to yield the highest return on your time investment. What’s really going to help you succeed? Reduce or eliminate anything that doesn’t fall in line with that vision, and don’t be afraid to make cuts.

Improvement. Focus on improving yourself and your surroundings. Instead of working hard on level one, spend some effort trying to get to level two. Invest in yourself, learning new skills and gaining new experiences, and invest in your environment by training your employees and making sure you have the best tools available for the job.

Hard work is incredibly valuable, but we shouldn’t keep thinking of it as the most important factor for success. Instead, we should see it as one of many factors that can help us, but won’t, in itself, necessarily save our businesses.

Continue Reading

Trending