Currently, Facebook rules the social media world. According to the 2017 survey, about 68% of U.S adults use Facebook, and more than 65 million businesses are owners of a Facebook fan page.
However, Facebook cannot satisfy the needs of everyone on the market, that’s why various social media channels exist. Here are some curious facts to back this up:
- In 2017, about 88% of businesses used Twitter for marketing purposes;
- YouTube reaches more adults than any other cable network in the U.S.;
- Instagram became the most popular social media channel among 32% of teenagers.
The market needs more options for personalization. Your target audience craves for a personal approach. Something more specific, something more exciting.
The obvious question is, why not create your own social network?
Reasons you need to create your own social network like Facebook
Sharing your hard-won visitors with other network sucks. Building your own social network is the solution.
Nowadays, you can build your own personalized social media website. Your network can be either product or service-centric, or you can build a standard review community for your target audience. Some businesses create customized social media to gather and research a white niche that is still not covered and can potentially bring a huge amount of people to one place.
The reason for creating a personalized social network can be simply the fact that you don’t like Facebook.
Eventually, it does not really matter what is the primary reason to build a website like Facebook: if your idea is good enough, it is worth trying and making it real.
How difficult is it to create a new social media?
What if you have a great idea for your own social network but your lack of coding skills and technical knowledge holds you back? The truth is, not everyone has a university degree in programming. But this doesn’t mean you should give up on your idea. There are a lot of online social media builders and market experts that can help you achieve your goals.
Nowadays, you can create a social network like Facebook with minimum costs and efforts. In fact, it has never been so easy to make your own social media as it is now.
Ning.com, for example, offers a great opportunity for creating different types of social media networks, including:
- Open social media channels or the ones limited to a specific audience;
- Networks that have free or paid content;
- Websites focused on a certain products or services, etc.
Ning can help you with anything.
8 Steps to Creating a Website Like Facebook
Come up with an idea.
Before launching into action, consider carefully what exactly you need a social network for. What objectives do you pursue? What audience are you aimed at? What value will your network bring to its members? First, you have to come up with a concept to build your further strategy around. Especially if you’re determined to make your network profitable, you will have to devise points that will set you apart from your potential competitors.
Choose your niche
The previous step leads you to determine your niche. Don’t attempt to cover all topics at once – focus on one particular subject and elaborate on it. It’s totally fine if your niche is narrow. In fact, it might even be your competitive edge. You can get started from this point and expand to other topics later when you establish your target audience.
Establish your audience
Establishing an audience is vital when you create a social networking website. It goes hand in hand with the previous step and is a matter of your choice. It is important to decide whether you are going to settle for a limited circle of individuals or go for a massive demographic. You will have higher chances to succeed with the former option because attempting to reach a huge audience at the very beginning is a quite unfeasible undertaking, even further complicated by major competitors on the market. So the best option for you will be inviting people you know first. Your community won’t be huge at launch, but this will be your basic audience that will allow you to grow further.
Get yourself a domain name and create your website
When you know your objectives and audience, the first thing you should do is find a proper domain name. The best solution is to buy a name that would match your network. You can learn more details about the process of finding the perfect domain name here. However, with Ning, you can start building your own social media channel by simply filling up a registration form. If you don’t have a domain name, you will be provided with a native one (your_network_name.ning.com). Hosting will also be included in your subscription plan.
Customize your website
Needless to say, your network should be unique, user-friendly, and memorable. For this reason, you need a general theme, logo, and a header picture that should be catchy and fit the purpose of your social media site perfectly.
Pick necessary features
You can then add all the features and options you need for creating your perfect social media network. This includes feed options, chat, audio and video applications, events, etc. Building a network with Ning, all you need to do is choose the desirable features by ticking the boxes on the list.
Tweak the design of your website
You certainly want your social network to look special. That’s why it is important to have many customization options. The design section on Ning has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, so you can try different design samples before choosing the right one that would be in line with your vision. You can create your own social media on the Ning 3.0 platform within a few minutes. This means that you can start networking almost immediately.
Develop content and promote your network
After you finish the process of creation, you need to add content, attract and retain users, and work on the growth of your network actively. There are many ways to promote your online community. Here are some of them:
- Integrate your network with popular social media like Facebook, Instagram, Google+, etc.; use such features as Liking, Social Sharing, and Social Sign-up;
- Create an activity feed to let everyone know what you’re doing;
- Send invitation emails, newsletters, and digests to both active and inactive members of your network;
- Optimize your content for search engines, obtain a semantic core and insert relevant keywords in your posts;
- Write and host guest posts;
- Create a dedicated mobile app;
- Advertise your network using Google AdSense, etc.
There are more options out there. Some of them are easy and some are complex and costly. You can choose the ones that fit your purposes and development strategy.
Benefits of owning a personal social network
Having your own social network can give you a lot in terms of personal development. It can make you more disciplined, organized, and consistent. Moreover, it will help you forge new relationships and make new friends. If you use your networking website to share your expertise in the subject-matter you are interested in, it’s just a great way to have lots of fun and keep in touch with those who share your enthusiasm.
What is more, creating your own social media channel is the best thing you can do for your business. By doing so, you will improve your targeting skills, reach your customers more effectively and get yourself a permanent source of feedback.
Personalized social websites have far more advantages than popular social media like Facebook. They are known for being customizable and flexible, allowing you to shape them the way that would let you achieve your goals. Among the most outstanding features you can benefit from are:
- Full control over your audience: when you own your network, you can obtain a lot of information about its members – who they are, what they are interested in. This gives you a leverage when it comes to targeted marketing. Moreover, you are free to decide who can and who can’t be a member of your network.
- Detailed customization: building your personal social network, you can determine how it looks, selecting a theme, background image, fonts, and many other aspects of your website’s design. That said, Ning offers a variety of comprehensive templates that can be further customized according to your preferences.
- A wide range of monetization options: as opposed to standard social media websites, personalized social networks offer numerous ways to make money from your content. For example, Ning provides options like Paid Access, Paid Membership, and Donations. You can also run ads on your site.
- Flexible content management: on your own network, it’s only you who decides what information is worth posting and in what form. You can run your blog, post photos, release video and audio materials, etc. Moreover, with decent SEO, your informational content will be listed in search results by major search engines, making you more visible on the web.
You can also add many other advantages like faster customer support, softer censorship policy, ability to integrate with other social media and 3-rd party online resources, various communication options, real-time activity feeds, etc. Creating a network on Ning, you can make use of all these features the way you see fit!
Hopefully, this article convinced you that creating a website like Facebook (or even better) is not that hard, especially when you have an interesting idea to build it upon. What your network’s special feature will be, is up to you. However, you can always count on Ning in everything related to building social networking websites from scratch.
Here you can get some more useful tips from the network creators who have already built their social media websites on the Ning platform.