Are you wondering how to make your own social network like Facebook?
Studies show there are over 3.6 billion social media users which is just short of half the global population using social media in some form.
This presents huge opportunities to develop new and better social networks that fill areas not currently met by existing social media platforms. People are more open to finding alternative ways to connect with people who share the same passion, hobby, or purpose.
What about Facebook? You may be asking yourself, so let’s address the elephant in the room (or blog post). As much as it tries, Facebook can’t be all things to all people, and sadly people are becoming increasingly frustrated with ads, trolling, lack of monetization options, and endless scandals.
This is exactly the reason why people are creating other social networks that offer people what they can’t get on Facebook.
- A niche community built with a specific purpose in mind,
- Different functionality (like monetization) not supported on Facebook,
- Or simply a platform that offers improved privacy settings.
The world is crammed full of reasons for people to gather together online, and we require many different social networks to reflect that.
In this guide, we’re going to walk you through how to make your own social network like Facebook (or even better than Facebook).
So let’s get started.
What is a social network?
A social network is a space dedicated to building interactions and personal relationships between users (these may be individuals, organizations, or brands) who choose to participate.
In our 21st century world, this usually comes in the form of a dedicated website or app. They aim to enable users to communicate with one another via various methods, such as posting messages, links, comments, images, and videos, etc.
The internet is full of social networks, and although there are plenty of crossovers, they can broadly be divided into the following groups:
Social networking sites
These are the social networks most people will be familiar with. They make communication and knowledge-sharing between users easier, often acting as a way for people to share information about themselves and discuss personal or news events. The most well-known are Facebook and Twitter, with other examples like LinkedIn that has a focus on users’ professional lives.
Media sharing platforms
A social network that allows users to share media such as images or videos. Users create and share media accompanied by comment sections for discussion. Popular examples of these social networks are Instagram and YouTube.
Discussion or information social networks are platforms that allow people to ask other users a question, link, or provide content for discussion. Quora and Reddit are examples of this type of social network.
Blog platforms offer users a space to express their thoughts and opinions with readers. It can be a platform for people to showcase their content without having to create a website from scratch. Medium and Tumblr are popular community blog social networks.
Why build your own social network?
There are plenty of advantages to building your own social network like Facebook. You get full control over every aspect of your social network and all the benefits that come with it. Your own social network can be customized to match the needs of your community, not filtered through Facebook’s platform.
Building your own social network means you get all the profits it produces yourself. You won’t have to spend time and money for the privilege of building an inferior social network controlled by outside influences.
It’s also fair to say that Facebook has some issues concerning privacy, the growing spread of misinformation and fake news on the platform, as well as how its algorithm builds the user’s Newsfeed.
Creating your own social network means it will be separate from the noise of the Facebook feed and gives you access to an audience who might be turned off by Facebook’s annoying privacy issues.
Benefits of your own social network
You get the opportunity to have full control over how it will be monetized through:
- paid membership,
- or a freemium model,
Your own social network allows you to integrate a monetization strategy that suits you.
Data analytics is an important tool for understanding your social network. They can help discover what content is successful, how users are interacting, and what the best strategy is to maximize user engagement.
Designing your own social network means you can develop tools that are specific to your aims. Using Facebook, you only get access to basic analytics that aren’t going to help you reach your goals.
You get to decide the content and how it gets delivered via your social network, i.e. which format it will take. You no longer need to be restricted by Facebook’s rules, and you can be flexible to match the requirements of the users on your network.
8 Steps to create your own social network like Facebook
Creating your own social network may seem like a difficult task but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 8 short and easy steps to turn your dream into reality.
1. What’s your idea?
To create a successful social network, you’re going to need a great idea. What is the purpose of your platform? And why would users choose to join your social network?
To be successful and build a profitable social network you’re going to need good, detailed answers to these questions.
2. Research and identify your target audience
Once you have your overall idea, you’ll need to research and identify your target audience. Who are the people you want to use your social network? What are their demographics? How are you going to reach them? And what existing platforms are you going to be competing with?
Detailed market research at the beginning of your social network will inform each of the following decisions.
3. Features and functionality
When building your social network, the fun part is deciding what it will be capable of. In other words, what features and functionality will it offer users? With your own social network, you’re in complete control to customize it for your specific purpose and target audience.
A feature that is core to any social network and requires significant thought is the feed of activity or content shown to users. This is what will keep users coming back to the social network.
Another factor to think about is the data produced by your users. What are your privacy policies regarding this and how can it be viewed and analyzed to help build a larger audience?
Integrating all your features and functionality into a simple and intuitive user interface is a difficult task. Ensure your social network’s design provides users with an enjoyable and fully-branded experience. This includes the visual style of your social network.
Even for an experienced programmer, building a social network from scratch would be an extremely daunting and expensive task. A much more manageable approach is to use a community platform that can easily do this for you at a much more affordable rate. The technology required to build a social network needs a team of experienced professionals to produce.
6. Content management
Once you’ve gone through the process of creating your social network, you’ll need a strategy for content and how it will be managed. What sort of community guidelines and rules will you use to ensure your social network reaches its goal?
7. Building your user base
An empty social network without any people isn’t a very sociable place. To establish your social network, you need to build a user base of engaged people that generate content and interact with one another.
You have already researched your target audience now you need to develop a marketing strategy to get them to join your social network.
If you’ve gone through steps 1-7 you will have invested significant time and money into building your own social network. It would be nice if you can now generate revenue from your social network.
Deciding the best strategy for monetizing a social network is a difficult process irrespective of your business model. Asking users to pay for services from launch from the get-go can lead to reduced growth. Working with an expert community-building platform provider removes all of the guesswork and helps you to apply a monetization model that has been tried and tested.
There are already many existing alternatives to Facebook out there. To compete, they have to market themselves in a way that highlights how they differ from Facebook. Whether that is improved privacy settings, different functionality, or as a social network focused on a specific niche.
As we’ve discussed Facebook is a big platform that tries to encompass every part of its users’ lives.
Many Facebook alternatives have found success by going the other direction and narrowing it down. This could mean creating a social network focussed on a specific hobby, activity, or worldview. This kind of social network centered around one subject can offer its audience a tailored experience that would be impossible to replicate on Facebook.
There are many SaaS platforms available that give you access to the technology required to build your own social network. These platforms can help integrate your required functionality and design to create a fully customized social network of your making.
Disciple has the technology to empower brands and creators to create their own social networks. As a leading community platform provider, our experts can build you a fully customized site and app to house your social network.
Host, grow, engage, and monetize your social network your own way. Whatever features and functionality you require, Disciple can help you integrate it all seamlessly.
There are many reasons to build your own social network as an alternative to Facebook. The main advantage is that you have more control over the community, especially data, and you can easily monetize your audience.