Have you always wanted to start your own social networking platform? Do you find it interesting when people connect online? Then this article has been created to help you understand how this interest of yours can be converted into a fortune.
Looking at the top tech giant in the world today, you discover that one of the highest profit-generating businesses in tech is social networks. The like of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok has been recorded to hold the highest profit share when it comes to tech, other field includes, Fintech, eCommerce and many others.
The market size of social media giants measured by revenue, of the Social Networking Sites industry is $61.4bn in 2021. The market size of the Social Networking Sites industry is expected to increase 16.5% in 2021. You can find out more about this information using this link.
This information depicts the rate at which people are interested in connecting.
Apart from just being an online sensation, one of the many reasons why you should consider creating your own social network is that fact that human beings are social animals like any other living species on earth, it has also been discovered that as human beings we survive based on our personal relationships and networks all over the world.
In this article, I am going to be taken you through the whole step from zero to accomplishment on how to create your own social networking platform and also get an added advantage of the business model behind the social networking business.
What is a Social Networking Website?
Social networking websites are online communities created to help people in the offline world stay connected notwithstanding geographical distance, the difference in time, or other social barriers as it may be
Most social media websites are Powered by Web 2.0 technology, one of which makes them dialogical, and self-reliant on user-content feed. They offer a continuously updating diary and provide the ability to connect people using a software technology called Stream.
Examples of social networking websites include.
Facebook is a social networking site that makes it easy for you to connect and share with family and friends online, it was basically designed for college students.
Facebook was created in 2004 by American Mark Zuckerberg while he was enrolled at Harvard University. By 2006, anyone over the age of 13 with a valid email address could join Facebook.
Facebook became an internet sensation in less than three years of operation and so far so good, Today, it is the world’s largest social network, with more than 3 billion users worldwide.
Facebook has 2.80 billion monthly active users (Facebook, 2021). Recently is has been put to notice that It also has 1.84 billion users that are visiting the social networking site core products – which includes Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger. daily.
Facebook first cracked the one billion monthly active users mark in October 2012 becoming the first online platform to hit this mark since history and crossed the two billion active users mark almost five years later in June 2017.
Facebook has reached such a huge audience that it’s grown impossible for marketers to ignore. And since so many Facebook users visit the site daily, it makes them a great potential audience for your digital marketing efforts.
With Facebook’s massive reach and popularity among marketers, it’s no wonder that the bulk of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertisements.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, the company brought in $27.2 billion in ad revenue (Facebook, 2021). That puts its average revenue per user at $10.14.
In fact, Facebook made more in ad revenues in 2020 than it did the previous year. Totalling $84.2 billion for the year, that’s 21 per cent more than in 2019.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can start your business on Facebook, click the link below to get started.
Back when other social media platforms were attempting to do something different was when TikTok changed the whole ball game.
Before it became TikTok of today, Musical.ly was a popular short-form (15 seconds) video streaming and sharing app, with over 100 million users, up until August 2018.
The app allowed users to make funny or entertaining videos with the combination of a plethora of music and dialogue options, with which they could lip-sync and
In August 2018, the app was taken over by a Chinese company ByteDance and its users were moved to Tik Tok. All of the content and accounts that were present on Musical.ly were automatically transferred to the new Tik Tok app giving birth to the new evolution of social networking.
TikTok became an internet sensation when it became a platform that produced more influencers than the likes of Facebook, Instagram and many others.
Since its launch, the TikTok app’s popularity has been growing remarkably. In October 2018, it was the most downloaded photo and video app in the Apple store, globally and as of 2021, it has become the second most popular social networking platform after Facebook.
There have been so many reasons why TikTok became an internet sensation and one of them includes the fact it has a strong focus on localised content.
The app often runs local contests and challenges and captures local trends through the use of localised hashtags.
TikTok runs the “1 million audition” contest across several countries, separately.
For each contest, participants are given themes to create videos and then the top video creators are awarded.
This contest not only leads to the creation of thousands of local videos, for each country where it is held but also helps TikTok creators gain recognition and followers, thereby creating more influencers on the internet.
Check out this content to master the art of building your business on TikTok.
How to create a social networking website.
Since the conception of Facebook, the social media industry has been growing. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was the required 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 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. Choose a target market or niche.
The very first thing that you need to do before thinking of creating your own social network is to decide on the target market, audience or niche.
To be honest with you, it will be unwise to create a Facebook clone, thinking you will eventually beat Facebook or Twitter out of the market, of course, you can do it, but it entails proper market research and a whole new value proposition than what the present tech giants presently offers.
You need to ask some crucial questions such as; How is your social network different from the others in the market, what extra value-added service does your product intend to offer?.
The ability to effectively answer this question will help you tailor your social media platform to meet the needs of people.
Talking about niche and market size, one of the factors to consider is the fact that already existing social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter are targetting the general public, despite that we had other social media roll out their services tailored to a specific group of people such as Professionals(LinkedIn), Writers(Medium), web developers( Dev. to) and many more.
Just in case you intend to build a social media platform tailored to a general niche like Facebook and Twitter, you can decide to spice it up a bit like TikTok ( Video social platform), Clubhouse(Audio social Media platform) and many more.
2. Decide on engineering and infrastructure.
Now that you have mapped out your niche and desired market, the next thing to begin implementing is the design and engineering process. In this section, I am going to be walking through how to get started with this process.
User interface and User experience design is the first thing to do when it comes to planning out your engineering process.
UI design stands for “user interface.” The user interface is the graphical layout of an application. It consists of the buttons users click on, the text they read, the images, sliders, text entry fields, and all the rest of the items the user interacts with.
This covers screen layout, transitions, interface animations and every single micro-interaction. Any sort of visual element, interaction, or animation must all be designed.
On the other hand, UX stands for “user experience.” A user’s experience of the app is determined by how they interact with it. Is the experience sleek and intuitive or complex and confusing? Does navigating the app feel reasonable or does it feel unpredictable?
UI stands for user interfaces, while UX stands for user experience, both works hand in hand, though they do not carry any technicalities, they account for the future of any tech startup.
Just in case you do not understand what a UI/UX design is, in a layman language, see it as an architectural process needed to pilot the engineering process of your website/app or web project.
2. Frontend Web Development.
A front-end engineer, also known as a front-end web developer or designer, selects, installs and tests the user interface elements of a website.
The front-end developer focuses on the look and feels of the site, along with its functionality. Job candidates remain strong for front-end engineers, particularly those who have the skills necessary to develop websites that are accessible on mobile devices and desktop devices.
Front-end engineers work intimately with designers to make websites beautiful, functional, and fast.
This is one of the crucial sections of your team when it comes to designing your social network websites.
The front-end web development team ensures that the user interface of your project is ready for the end-users.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to get started as a frontend web developer, click the link below to get started.
3. Backend Web Development.
Back end Development refers to the server-side development of any web platform. The backend development teams usually deal with the server, database and security part of any web project.
Code written by back end developers is what communicates the database information to the Frontend Via a browser and a mobile app either IOS or Android.
4. Mobile App Development.
Mobile application development is the process of creating software applications that run on a mobile device, such as Android, IOs and Windows OS for mobile.
Therefore, the mobile development process involves designing installable software bundles, and executing backend services such as data access with an API, and testing the application on target devices such as IOS, android and Windows OS respectively
There are two dominant platforms in the modern smartphone market. One is the iOS platform from Apple Inc.
The iOS platform is the operating system that powers Apple’s popular line of iPhone smartphones. The second is Android designed and owned by Google.
Android has become so popular because so many other smartphone manufacturers choose it as their operating system.
One of the reasons why big tech has become so big in just a short period is because they make their platform accessible to all devices, which is where the creation of mobile applications comes into play.
Do you know that there are 14 billion mobile devices worldwide in 2020?
There are millions of apps on the Apple store and Google Play, this means that the future is mobile and you must think in that direction.
Before developing an app, you need to determine which type you’ll be creating. Here’s a breakdown of several types of mobile app development technologies with information about each.
1. Native applications.
Native apps allow you to build for a single operating system at a time, for example, if you decide to develop an IOS app, you have to subscribe to the IOS build tools using X-code and if you decide to build an android app then you make use of the android build tool called Android studio.
2. Hybrid apps.
3. Design an Activity Stream For your platform.
One particular feature that makes up a social network is the ability to see the activities of other people in your network.
For example, as I can see the posts and activities of those I follow, on the other hand, those that follow me can see my activity, also I get notified when you engage on my post or something related to on the platform.
This bi-directional flow of information and data is called an activity stream. To be honest with you building an activity stream is hectic work, more reason why you don’t see social media platforms being created every now and then unlike Fintech and other easy software business models.
It was recorded that as of 2015 Facebook had spent over $4 Billion on stream infrastructure alone, this goes a long way to tell how big the social media business is.
Developing an individual stream for your own social network will take too much time and in the end, you might end up being unproductive.
The good news is that there are third-party API that can help you handle all of this stress and just allows you concentrate on developing the most important section of your social network, and one of these is third-party API Is.
Stream (getstream.io) is a third-party API for building, scaling and personalizing feeds.
Over 500 companies rely on Stream for their production feed infrastructure including well-known names such as Product Hunt, Unsplash, Bandsintown, Fabric (part of Google), Vidyard, Hooq, Zoetis and PowerSchool.
With Streams, you get access to integrate social media features like notifications, activity Feeds, Following, and Chat into your platform.
In order to make use of Getstream.io, you need to sync the engineering team together. Streams come with a free plan, but you can upgrade as your platform grows.
GET STARTED – getstream.io
2. Get social.im
Get social is another alternative to stream that was created to help you scale your in-house stream infrastructure. Get social was created to help provide you with the necessary tool to set up your stream.
With Get social, you get to build all fuzzy stream stuff such as the ability to Build referral campaigns, Build in-app community, Automate in-app marketing, Re-engage with notifications, Connect your users, Enable content sharing, Measure marketing campaigns and Convert web to app users.
It does the same thing that Getstream.io does, just in case you seek out brand new alternatives.
GET STARTED – getsocial.im
3. Develop your own Stream Infrastructure.
Just in case you intend to develop your own stream on your own, you can decide to build it from scratch, mind you that this would consume a lot of engineering capacity.
The basic concept around developing your own stream is asynchronous programming, just the same concept that powers chat applications like Whatsapp, Messenger and many others, that same concept is used in the development of stream technology all over the world.
The downside of developing your own stream technology is the fact that the workload no your engineering team becomes messy, however starting out, you might not have that large development team and might not be able to pay for one.
You can start with a third-party stream framework and later move on to a custom-built stream engineering framework. To learn more about how Stream infrastructure works, click the link to get started
4. Monetize your platform.
The next step you need to consider when starting your own social media platform is the monetization side of things. Platforms like Facebook did not monetize their platform till about after six years of operation.
During that period they were able to stay afloat off the money from private investors before the Facebook ads manager was developed. The same goes for Google too, the Google search, YouTube and many other platforms were not monetized until the initial launch of the Google ads.
Consider the fact that you might not be able to access private investors in your early startup, you need to be able to strategise in such a way that you know how to start monetizing your platform.
There are various ways software companies can make money off their platform, in this section, I am going to making a full list of only two that are very popular nowadays.
When a business charges a recurring fee for its services and products, it follows a subscription model. The recurring charges can be on an annual or monthly basis. With the subscription model, businesses have the opportunity to lock the customers in for a long duration. It ensures a steady, recurring revenue stream.
The subscription business model allows end-users to pay a reoccurring fee to make use of your platform. To make integrate this monetization strategy you have to provide unique functionality and have tons of addictive users that can be found only on your app.
2. Native advertising.
Native advertising is the use of paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear.
Native ads are often found in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page. Native ads don’t look like ads, they are designed to match the user’s interest.
So many social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have utilized the use of native ads to monetize their respective platform and remains one of the liable ways to monetize any social network whatsoever.
You can decide to develop your native advertising platform alongside your backend or better still I recommend you make use of a third-party native advertising platform called Adzerk now known as Kevel.
Kevel (previously Adzerk) offers the infrastructure APIs required to quickly develop custom ad platforms for sponsored listings, internal promotions, native ads, and more.
I told you that it took Facebook almost 6 years before developing the Facebook ads manager platform that helps advertisers place ads by themselves, but with the Kever API, you can now do this in weeks instead of months.
TRY IT NOW – Kevel. co
5. Promote your platform.
The Blood of any business lies in promotion and marketing strategy. No one is going to know anything about you unless you get them to see it.
There can be good products, but bad marketing strategies kill them as fast as possible. The same goes vice-versa.
You don’t want to spend all this time and effort to create a product that will not hit the limelight, mind you, there are so many social media platforms that your platform is going to be competing with as far as the social media market is concerned.
You have to utilize strategic marketing and campaign to be able to at least win a market share of the social media space.
In this section, I am going to be telling you how you are going to promote your platform and get your social media platform to get a taste of the internet market share.
1. Influence marketing.
Influencer marketing involves a brand collaborating with an online influencer to market one of its products or services.
Mind you that the online influencer in question must be someone with huge followership and engagement on social media, such a person can then leverage on followership to convince people to sign up on your platform.
Influence marketing helps any brand to build trust and gain loyal followers.
It has also been discovered that more people are likely to purchase or use a product when it is recommended by someone.
You can source our social media influencers using the help of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and the likes of all.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to get started with social media influencing.
2. Social media marketing.
Social media marketing is another avenue to get an already existing database of users. Let me tell you, nowadays, everyone wants to try out something new, most people have always said that Facebook will always have the highest market share when it comes to the social media market, this was true, will TikTok came around and won the social media market share from Facebook.
Do not be discouraged, the social media market share will be opened for a long time, we live in a time where people love to connect the most and build a friendship.
This means that there would be a huge market for social media platforms to play.
There are various ways to utilize social media marketing and some of them includes the use of Facebook ads, Twitter ads ad many other social media platform that has an ad network integrated into them.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to get your businesses on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can click the link below to get started.
- How To Create A Successful Facebook Ad Campaign
- How To Grow Your Business On Facebook
- Google Ads Vs Facebook Ads, Which Is Best For My Business?