Lesson 1 - Strategies to create a profitable social networking business and your first steps

Ready to start the first lesson?

I wonder what your thoughts are. Maybe you think "would a social networking site really suit my business or my hobby or my non profit organisation?" and "should I spend all my time now working on my social networking site and how to make it profitable", or even ... "do I have to compete with big sites like LinkedIn or Facebook? Or may be it is too late for me to enter this market?"

These are absolutely right questions and they're all worth asking.

And here is good news. You can make lots of money and be a guru in your specific niche. By starting an online community where people will want to come in every time they need information or they want to contact with other people on your network, you position yourself on top of mind of your audience.

There are two different strategic directions an owner of the social networking site can take:

The first option is to build a "branding community" or a 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 build 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.

To achieve this plan will require the successful combination of the following:

1) Owning a great domain name (preferably with all of its main variations, e.g. .com, .net, .org, .info, etc...),

2) Creating an established profitable and automated online business,

3) Growing an active membership and turning it into a relatively large database of potential customers for products or services related to the niche market around which the community site was built.

The above combination would make any site a very appealing proposition to companies looking for growth.

Now the next step is to set some targets, decide on the best strategies for achieving those targets, then start taking action.

The first step 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, I 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, which is a fairly low investment, 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.

We recommend using GoDaddy to register your domain name. You can get more information here:

Domain Sale! $6.89 .com at GoDaddy

For hosting your site I recommend Site Build It Webhosting which we use to build this site. The company has great support, tutorials, videos and can help you with your initial steps.

By the way ... if you are looking to register a new domain name, I've a good tip for you. Use the Google keyword tool or even better use the Brainstorm tool from SBI to find your keywords. After you have a list of keywords you are happy with, copy and paste it into GoDaddy bulk registration feature. By using only one click you can find out which domains are free for registration and which are already used.

We also recommend you to check out these great complimentary resources:

For your online networking success and until next time.

B2BPioneers Program