There are 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, and this number is only growing. An average person uses at least 4 to 5 social networks for multiple purposes ranging from communication to entertainment, and everything in between.
Developing a social networking site can be very intriguing, but it can be challenging if you do not have a development roadmap. Here are the essentials that you should consider before beginning the development of your social networking site.
Know your audience
Understanding your customers is the fundamental step in developing a successful social network. Target analysis will facilitate effective product promotion, reaching out to the right audience, and maximizing your resources.
You can use these points to analyze your audience:
- Demographics like age, gender, occupation, and location.
- Psychographics like behaviour, hobbies, and personality of your audience.
- Find out how your product will fulfill the needs of your target. You can achieve this through internet polls.
- You can design a beta version of the social network and test it with limited users.
Conduct competitor analysis
It is imperative to understand your competitors and their products while creating your own. Competitor analysis will help you define your brand’s marketing strategy and help you make informed decisions. You can use the following steps to analyze your competitors:
Identify your competitors – You can identify the strength of your competitors using market share as a metric.
Data collection – You can get information on your competitor’s market positioning, product offering, revenue model, user experience, customer acquisition, customer retention strategies, marketing efforts, SEO practices, digital footprints, and market distribution.
SWOT analysis – understand your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. You can use these findings to define your product’s USP.
Your products’ attributes determine its success. Developing a social network based on customer needs is vital for user acquisition and retention.
The following are the popular features of a social network:
- User profile customization
- Simple and interactive user interface
- Engaging content on user’s news feed
- In-app chatting and calling
- Push notifications
- Letting users share their location
- In-app advertisements and purchase
- Uncompromised privacy and security
- Creative text editors
Here is a list of the latest trends in social network development:
- Transient content
- Artificial intelligence and chatbots
- Augmented reality for face filters
- Live video streaming
- Exclusive video streamed content
- Multi-language support
Performance tuning and optimization of frontend and backend components are essential for the smooth functioning of a social network. Ionic Framework and React Native are excellent frameworks for mobile app development. The most popular and widely used frontend frameworks include AngularJS and ReactJS. The load time of your product has a direct impact on its performance. Use CDN and AWS CloudFront to make significant improvements to load time and load speed.
Backend development is related to scripting for the server. Node.js is a popular tool for backend development. It is used to create dynamic social media apps with chats, likes, and comments combined with superior data processing ability.
Communicate your product requirements clearly to the development team and have production deadlines set.
One of the primary goals of social network development is to generate revenue. Let us look at the pivotal ways to generate income through your social networking site.
Advertisements – according to Statista, “In 2019, social network advertising revenue in the United States amounted to 36.14 billion U.S. dollars. This figure is projected to further grow and surpass 50 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2021.” Ads through social networks have been a primary revenue model to companies. Ad size, placement, content, and delivery, play a prominent role in creating the intended customer base. Ads are very effective at driving higher CTRs. Conduct A/B testing of ads to identify the most effective ones. Customizing ads is a great way to address various user segments.
Sales – many companies sell using social networking sites. 71% of all sales professionals and 90% of top salespeople are already using social selling tools. Optimize your site for social selling to create a sustainable revenue model.
Affiliate network – this makes it possible for you to display links when your content applies to your affiliate.
Sponsored posts – this acts more like an advertisement but has an influencer to promote the product.
Donations – this is a great way to create passive income.
There are several ways to market your social network. The popular ways are influencer marketing, cross-platform marketing, exclusive membership, creating a blog, and creating digital advertisements.
You should consider the following points before deciding on a marketing strategy:
- Set your social media goals. It can be – to increase brand awareness or increase community engagement or lead generation. Having a social media goal will guide your budget. Social media goals identify your goal metrics and measure KPIs.
- Define your brand voice. Create a unique style and personality in communicating your brand. You can derive your brand voice by conducting a SWOT analysis. Create engaging content and delivery mechanism based on your brand’s strengths. Define the SEO strategy at this stage.Create a buyer persona and analyse what will keep your audience engaged.
- Create a social content calendar and post on the existing social networks. Keep the content engaging and avoid monotony.
- Amplify and boost your existing content periodically.
- Test the impact of your marketing strategies regularly.
There are numerous social network sites that are very successful because they followed best practices before investing their first dollar on development. As long as you have a solid development blueprint, it shouldn’t be hard to succeed in this competitive market.