We show you how to create social network of your own in 5 simple steps.

It works for business owners, consultants, professionals, clubs, sports, hobbies.

Create social network

Whether you are a small business owner, consultant, or even an employee we have selected a proven 5-step plan for you to create social network of your own. This should be a part of your long-term strategic plan to build relationships with your customers and increase your reputation, brand awareness and loyalty.

We describe here what social networking skills you must have to be able to successfully create, grow, and profit from your social networking site.

But before we are going to describe the 5 points plan how to create social network you have to make a serious strategic decision: You have to decide whether you want to build a “branding community” or a “specific niche online community”.

The first option is to build a "branding community" or a marketing front end of your business. You can communicate with customers and ask their opinion on your products or services, engage your audience in conversation thus positioning yourself and your company in the eyes of customers, peers and other stakeholders. The good example is Starbucks and their branded online community.

The second option is to build a specific niche online community. What is the Grand plan here? You can create social network or an online community (or even several ones), turn it into a significant membership, and then sell the entire "virtual real estate" to companies related to the specific niche markets.

Here is the easy 5-step plan to create social network.

1. Select your niche

After you have decided that you are going for it, the very next thing you need to do is to choose your market or your niche. Whatever provides your motivation for choosing your niche, you'll have to know answers on the following questions:

- Do you know the niche in which you would like to start your social networking site and do you already know others inside the same market?

- Do you know what the target audience in a specific niche need, what their main challenges are that your site will solve.

- Can you listen to them via existing forums, groups?

- What is your budget?

An important thing to consider is that successful social networking sites are not really creating communities - most of the time, the community already exists. The site helps them facilitate conversation, organize events, achieve their goals more efficiently, share things, exchange knowledge, expand their network.

You need to get into something that you can enjoy, but it doesn't necessarily have to be the love of your life. You need to choose a market where people have needs and a wiliness to pay. The key to success for the small business owner is to master a niche that is in demand and at the same time has relatively low competition.

If you want to know what people want to buy and read about, then you have to conduct a keyword search. There are many ways you can go about doing this and there are many free tools available on the market to choose from. We discuss these tools in Select your Niche article .

2. You have to own a great domain name (preferably with all of its main variations, e.g. .com, .net, .org, .info, etc...), The second step in your journey to create social network is to register a good domain name including the net, org, .info and some of the main country specific variants (e.g.co.uk). All these variations can be pointed back to the main site.

This step is done mostly for the purpose of protecting the future asset, but it also ensures that if and when you sell the site in the future, you can convince the buyer that they will have exclusive access to the entire "brand".

Even if you don't plan to start building your business idea for a while, we still recommend that you secure a domain name for your idea. We're only talking here about $10 or so to register and renew a .com domain name each year.

So, if you're interested in owning your own social networking sites but don't quite know how to get started, go online and register a great domain name for it. You will only need to invest about $10 or so for each domain name you register and you will have taken the first step to building what could hopefully become a valuable online asset for you in the years to come.

3. Choose a social networking platform or social network script for your online community Here is our advise, if you are building a unique social networking site then by all means, build away.

But if you want to create social network site as a marketing tool for your current site we think it's better to use existing social networking platforms (white label sites) like Ning,

SocialGO or KickApps.

From a marketing point of view we think it's a better extension of your brand regardless of how large your company is.

In the past smaller sites had to use "shared sites" because the infrastructure was to expensive to duplicate.

Now site extensions such as Twitter, Facebook and Ning are all just different doorways to your product of service.

There are three following possibilities to consider:

1. Off the shelf products with ownership rights,

2. White label solutions,

3. In-house development of an entire social media platform,

You can learn about all these alternatives in the following articles of us: off the shelf alternatives, white label solutions, in-house development.

As a guideline, stay away from the free open source solutions unless you have the time and knowledge to develop everything yourself. In that respect, Joomla and Drupal are probably the most powerful systems available.

They are free, but will take you a while to understand if you having no prior experience with programming. Hiring a specialist programmer to build everything for you can turn out to be quite expensive. You can read here about all sourcing possibilities.

4. Establish a profitable and automated online business. We discuss here the following important elements: hosting, choosing a script to create social network

- Select dynamic social networking services that offers unique features.

- Select attractive social networking templates, appealing to your audience. For pretty much every type of social networking site, whether it be video sharing, information sharing, user review, music sharing, it is possible to buy an affordable out of the box social networking software solution.

- Select hosting service that guarantees you 99.99% up time.

5 Building the primary content, getting people to participate and growing an active membership and turning it into a large number of potential customers for products or services related to the niche market around which the community site was built.

If you own an existing website that enjoys a lot of traffic already, you could place an invitation to join your social networking site there or you can use your newsletter to actively promote your new social networking site or a business community.

If you are starting from scratch however, you can use another tactics like social network marketing or Google adwords campaign.

In both ways, you'll need to decide on an efficient manner to put interesting content on your site to attract both the search engines and visitors.

We recommend creating automatic widgets and news aggregators, RSS feeds on your site thematic. People will come back just to see whats new. Try to engage users in creating articles, discussions, blog posts, sharing videos or documents like white papers or review reports. You can integrate your blog into your online community site and publish some good articles on the subject.

Always listen to your members by using unique features like polls, quizzes, reviews and try to give them as much freedom as possible to take initiative. This is what will make your social networking site a success.

After you read this article, we recommend you to get our training program which will help you greatly in achieving your goal - create social network of your own and leverage it to your advantage.

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