Class-leading online community platform

Disciple creates fully customisable, branded apps for community builders. Since the day we introduced the first iteration of our trail-blazing app, we have engaged in a process of continual improvement and refinement.

The result is one of the best online community platforms on the market. One that prioritises flexibility and dependability and that offers innovative ways to monetize your community.

A Disciple online community platform will enable you to:

Generate revenue

Generate income by selling online courses, membership subscriptions, and exclusive content.

Drive engagement

Drive more engagement than typically seen on Facebook and Instagram.

Grow revenue by selling member subscriptions and in-app purchases.

Reclaim control

Bring your community together in a safe space that you own and control.

What is a social network?

what is social netwok

Before you can create a private social network app or website you need to have a solid understanding of what a social network is.

Not to be cheeky about it but a private social network is exactly what the name implies: a social media network that enables members to share information and conduct communication without having to expose themselves to the many downsides of public social media websites and forums.

A leading social network platform like the Disciple Media community app provides essentially the same features and tools you get on a public social media website like Facebook, while at the same time providing community leaders with greater control over member data and far more robust monetization options.

Simply put, a private social network benefits both users and community leaders by:

1. Providing users with a safe and secure place to interact with friends and other like-minded individuals, and;

2. Providing creators with more ways to enhance the user experience while optimizing monetization.

When you set up a social network using a free service like Facebook Groups you are able to do so seemingly for free. But as a wise person once said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. While the social media giants do not charge community leaders and other creators to set up their social network, this comes at a heavy price in other ways.

For instance, it is not unusual for a company like Facebook to earn more off of a community group hosted on their platform than the people who set up and nurture the group. That’s because Facebook reserves all the juiciest monetization options for itself.

The social media giants also have unrestricted access to member’s data and can and do use that data in myriad ways, including to enhance their own marketing efforts, thereby earning even more off a social network someone else set up.

When you set up a private social network you remove the hand of Big Brother from your community, members retain a higher degree of privacy and you determine exactly how the various components of the private social network will be monetized.

But more on the benefits of a private social network a little later. Right now, let’s look at what’s involved in planning a private social network

facebook Groups

Steps involved in planning your
private social network

A private social network can take your community to the next level. Here are the recommended steps you should take when planning your private social network.

Setting up a private social network is like any other type of project. If you are to achieve optimal results you need to define your goals before any of the heavy lifting begins. Goals provide a measuring stick you can use to judge your progress and provide motivation.

Typical goals for those setting up a private social media network include wanting to expand a business, wanting to increase engagement, wanting to generate an income, and wanting to protect community members from online bullying or harassment.

If you find yourself foundering a bit while trying to establish goals for your new private social networking website or app ask yourself the following questions:

  • What aspects of my current public social network setup are causing me stress or unhappiness?
  • What things do I want to do that my current public social network is preventing me from doing?
  • Will my members genuinely benefit from transitioning to a private social network?

The process of defining your goals will help you bring clarity to all your planning and efforts going forward, so it doesn’t pay to skip this step. Take your time, be honest and clear, and once you have your goals laid out in front of you move on to the next step.

Goals and purpose might seem on the surface like the same thing but there are subtle differences between the two. Goals provide a target or targets for you to aim at. Purpose is the reason your private social network exists.

The purpose of a given social media network will determine who that network attracts. For instance, if the purpose of your social network website or app is to promote animal rights, your target audience, and indeed the people you attract, are going to be passionate about that cause.

If, on the other hand, your purpose is to promote your band, you’re hopefully going to attract people who enjoy the kind of music you create, whether that’s rock, rap, jazz, classical or whatever. Now compare that to the goal of expanding your community by 50% in two years. That goal can apply to any type of social media network.

Because your purpose will be the determining factor regarding who you attract, and because there are only so many people drawn to a given niche, you need to try and attract as high a percentage of those people as possible.

That means you need to make sure your purpose is a compelling one and that the best platform for establishing a community around it is a private social network.

A member persona serves as a sounding board for ideas, concepts and even new directions you may want to take your social network. The member persona is a fictional person who represents your typical member. You can create a member persona or personas by mining data gleaned from members during the sign up process. You can fill in some of the blanks in the picture by studying user activity.

You may also want to create a member persona about your ideal member. While the typical member personifies the average of all the various user metrics, the ideal member has less to do with data currently being generated by users and everything to do with who you WANT to become a member of your online social media network.

The member persona may indicate that the average member of your social network is 28 and earns $40,000 per year. Your ideal member however, the one you aspire to attract for whatever reason, may be 35 and earn $63,000 per year. In that instance, the ideal member represents another goal that you will find yourself striving toward.

If you are to ultimately align your ideal member with your typical member you will need to clearly define that ideal member. You can do that by asking the following questions:

  • How old is your ideal member and why do you prefer that age?
  • Why would that person prefer a private social network site over a public one?
  • How can my private social network help that person achieve their goals?

So you’ve defined your goals, defined your purpose and have determined what both your typical and ideal members are like. Along the way, you’ve also gained insight into how your private social network app or website can help your ideal member realise their own goals.

Now it’s time to start thinking about the right platform for your social network. There are more than a few popular social media platforms out there but not all platforms are right for all types of social networks.

If you already have a relatively popular public social network, switching to a private social network should only be done for a compelling reason because there will be some disruptions. In fact, you will probably lose some of your current members in the process. Though if you choose the right platform and the transition goes well you should more than make up for any losses.

So just how do you choose the right private social network platform?

In order to entice current members to make the switch and then to attract new private network members once you do you will need to make sure the new platform has plenty to offer. That includes:

  • Plenty of customisation options.
  • Intuitive navigation and ease of use in general.
  • A platform that puts your branding front and centre.
  • Web and mobile app options.
  • Rock solid security.
  • A multitude of content delivery options.
  • Subgroups and direct messaging.
  • Leading edge community building tools.
  • The ability to conduct online courses.
  • Live streaming capability.
  • A variety of subscription options.
  • Virtual event hosting.
  • Private chat and more.

When something’s working people tend to want to stick with it. That’s only natural. So if members of your public social media network are going to switch to a private network there has to be a compelling reason or reasons for them to do so. Make sure you choose a platform that offers them all the features they currently enjoy, plus new ones whose benefits are easily understood.

Once you’ve completed all the above steps it’s time to lay out the welcome mat for your new private social media network. As we mentioned earlier it’s a given that some people are going to recoil and refuse to make the switch. 

Don’t take it personally and remember that any losses are likely to be short-lived, and you will be offering those who do switch a better overall user experience. Which should result in higher levels of user engagement.

Host your own social network with Disciple

host social netwrok

Twitter and Facebook may have helped to popularise social media, but when it comes to privacy, they have their limitations. If you want to have control over every aspect of a social platform, you’ll need to create a private social network of your own.

Whether you want to build a private social network for family & friends, fans, or followers, Disciple is the right choice. Closed social media platforms are a great way to establish and nurture an online community away from all the distracting noise found in public digital spaces filled with millions of users.

Disciple lets you host your own social network complete with all the features you need to help engage your users.

Disciple’s private social network creator is a one-stop-shop designed to help you create your community around what matters to you.

We believe that every community has a unique culture and its own set of wants and needs, so we put the control back in your hands.

We simplify creating a private social network with a set of easy-to-use tools and features, so you can focus your attention on reaching, engaging and monetising your audience. We guarantee the highest levels of security and compliance to ensure your community interacts in a safe, trusted and secure environment.

host social netwrok 2

Three reasons to create your private social network with an app

When it comes to creating your own social network nothing beats a Disciple Media self-contained community app. Here are three reasons a Disciple app rises above other social network platforms.

With Facebook or other social media sites, member data belongs to the social media giant. Not to the community leader. With a Disciple social network app, all the data related to and collected in relation to your users is yours.

This is crucial because having that data at your beck and call enables you to quickly and accurately determine what members are doing, what they like, what they avoid and other important facts. You can then put that information to use to refine the user experience and to make more useful content decisions.

A private social network app will allow your network members to get to know each other and you better. That’s because they (and you) will finally be free of the capricious and self-serving social media overlord arbitrarily imposing itself on them by banning members, selling personal data and changing their terms without warning.

In time members of the community will come to appreciate the new set up where community leaders are readily available, private communications stay private and they get a better user experience.

The amount and variety of content people are bombarded with by social media giants can be mind-numbing and downright confusing sometimes. It’s often hard to fathom where they come up with their recommendations and how they determine what ads to feed you. 

With your own private social network app that head-scratching situation will come to a merciful end. Any tailored content network members receive will be based solely on their app activity and interaction with both branded and user-generated content.

Having complete and unfettered access to app data will make it easier to understand what your social network members are up to, what they want, and what they like and dislike.

Why choose Disciple?

Creating a private social network with staying power is no easy task. There are myriad factors that weigh on the potential success or failure of a social network and the software solution you choose must be able to fulfil them all, else you build a house of cards.

Disciple Media was founded by people with a deep appreciation of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to social media apps and online communities. They took their many years of combined experience in the industry and fashioned a private social network solution that avoids the worst of Big Tech’s intrusive, exploitative tendencies, but kept and expanded upon the features that promote engagement, security and monetisation. Features such as…

Member profiles can be configured in such a way as to capture highly relevant information that will make it easier for members to connect with each other. You can also use them to segment your members into groups based on interests, location and other data.

All too often online community members, even friends and family, are forced to exit the community environment and open a third-party app if they want to send a private message to one another. Disciple’s private social network software puts an end to that sorry practice with integrated private messaging.

Commenting is the mortar that holds many an online community together. Commenting enables the fast and easy sharing of opinions, provides reliable feedback on new products and enables community leaders to take the pulse of the community. Our threaded comments will help you to achieve better engagement than ever before

Disciple’s push notifications allow you to notify as many or as few community members as you wish about exclusive content, upcoming events, community milestones and more. You can also use them to notify members when someone has responded to their threaded comment.

Between our leading-edge feature set, impressive moderation tools and wide-ranging monetisation options, Disciple Media’s private social network software is the go-to method for creating, nurturing and sustaining an online private social network.

The days of having to kowtow to Facebook and the like are over. Disciple puts the control back in your hands where it belongs.

Our fully-branded, platform gives you the power to launch, grow and monetise your community in the easiest way possible. Simply select the features and branding that suit your needs and in a few simple steps, you’ll have your own private social network.

  • Web, iOS & Android
  • Push notifications
  • Livestreaming
  • Monetisation
  • Multiple groups
  • Event Calendar

Our easy-to-use Console allows you to store and publish content, manage members and understand what makes your community tick. You control all aspects of your private social network from the Console.

  • Analytics
  • Member profiles
  • Member database
  • Scheduled posts
  • Integrations & API
  • Moderation tools

We take care of the technology, so you can focus on the success of your community


We built our public API, so you can integrate your community platform with your existing tools.


We regularly update the platform with new features and keep an eye on App Store guidelines, so you don’t have to.


We provide a secure, GDPR compliant community platform where you own and control your data.

If you are tired of social media giants telling you what you can do, when you can do it and how much you can make, all while retaining the power to suspend or ban YOUR social network members then it’s time to consider creating a private social network using a Disciple Media community app.

Community Stories

We’ve built beautiful apps for over 700 communities and helped them to engage over 2 million members. Find out how businesses like yours have used the Disciple platform to supercharge their communities!