Many people are so used to hearing overflowing stories about the social networking giants such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. However, not many people know that there are several up-and-coming companies that are working really hard to reduce the fundamental features that are found on the popular networking sites to mere commodities. These companies offer what’s termed as ‘white label’ social networking platforms that allow users to build their own social networks from scratch and tailor those sites to a range of purposes.
If you are an app developer who intends to build a social networking app, there are various aspects that you should keep in mind. The following are the fundamentals of building a great social networking app:
Identify key audiences
A practical strategy in developing a social networking app starts by defining the key audiences and evaluating their social media readiness, as well as levels of participation. An app developer should determine whether he should build one network for all, or whether he should come with an app that is only ideal for a specific group of people. The more specific a developer is in defining the key audience, the greater the chance that his network will engage the audience’s common interests and needs.
Base your network on user-generated content
The key to having a better understanding of social media is to remember that what matters most will the transactions in this world is the content. The primary function of each and every networking site is to display user-generated content. Social networking sites draw people who have an aim of creating content. The users create profiles which they can individualize through text, blogs, photographs and other site applications and features. So, when creating a social networking site, a developer should design in such a manner to elicit reaction. The users should also be in a position to share content through tagging, bookmarking or using mini applications such as widgets. The sharing of content drives traffic to and from social networking sites, blogs as well as other social media implementations.
Define the network content
Allowing for user-generated content in itself is a worthy first step. However, it is not enough to make a social network powerful. What a developer should do is to give the content of the social network a foundational identity. This means defining what that content will be, and what form it will take. The main goal should be to develop networks that people will want to join. By offering users with the same kinds of content opportunities that they can get elsewhere is counterproductive. Popular social networks such as Facebook, Elftown and BTMS provide different kinds of foundational content, distinct ways of sharing that content and a distinctive experience. Each of these networking sites has a very unique identity that caters to a specific audience. Therefore, an app developer should focus more on creating a very unique social networking site with a different kind of foundational content.
Create a simple user interface
If you take a look at the most popular social networking sites, they usually have a very simple user interface. A user may find it inconvenient to spend time trying to understand how a social networking site works, whereas there are other networking sites that are very simple and nicely displayed. Therefore, an app developer should make sure that his social networking site has a simple user interface that is easy to navigate.
Use other social networking app’s weaknesses as your strengths
An app developer should think of all the things that the most popular social networking sites are doing wrong, and use them to his advantage when building his social networking app. If Facebook doesn’t offer a dislike button, then an app developer should decide that its time to have one on his social network. He should also come up with solutions or better way of doing simple things.
In order for you to come up with a competitive social networking site, you must observe the other social networking sites, learn how they work and the things that work and those that don’t. This will enable you to come up with a social networking app that has fewer flaws and more strength.
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Neeshu S, is a Technical Writer working at TechAhead Software, he is an avid reader and loves to spend his time reading science fiction novels. He can be contacted through LinkedIn.