Social Media covers quite a lot. Within Social Media there is the Social Networking.
Facebook, hi5, MySpace, LinkedIn, bebo, Google+ are the big social networking sites.
This page is going to dedicated to Social Neworking sites and how it can be a profitable business to you.
So what is a Social Networking site?
A social network site is one where visitors can sign up as members and members can communicate through chat/internal email and share articles, thoughts through forums and blogs and share videos, audio and photos. Here are example of some social networking sites according to Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites
Here is Wikipedia's detailed description on what a social network is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network
How much does it cost to get a Social Networking website?
I charge $3,000 to $5,000 for a social networking site.
The prices vary depending on the funtionalities you would like on your site.
For instance, do you want your visitors wot be able to log into your site using their Facebook credentials?
Do you want your memebrs to be able to invite their friends on Facebook directly from within your site?
Do you want chat?
Do you want different levels of members who have different levels of access to various parts of your site?
Do you want forum?
Do you want paid membership?
Do you want event management calendar?
Do you want video sharing?
Do you want commenting system?
Do you want blogs?
Do you want audio sharing?
Do you want photo albums system?
The list can go on.
Social networking sites are harder and more time consuming to create than e-commerce websites.
However, social networking site could also have a higher return on investment if done correctly.
A social networking site does not require an inventory of physical products. So the actual startup cost for a social networking site will be a lot lesser than that for an online store website.
Look at the growth of Facebook as an example.
Can I make money with something like Facebook?
It all depends on who you are targetting. If you want to target everyone just like Facebook does then all you are doing is competing with Facebook. In other words, you are wasting your time by trying to move a mountain. There are other better ways to make money online. If you say your target market is just the teens you are still trying to compete with Facebook.
If you are targetting professionals and businesses only then you are up against LinkedIn.
So is there anything left for you to create as a social networking site?
Yes there is and there is plenty.
Dogster.com is for dog lovers. It has over 750,000 members. That might not seem like a lot of members but they are a very targetted bunch (they all love dogs).
They are known to have CPM of up to $20 in their homepage and up to $40 in their newsletters. If you don't know what that means dont' worry. Basically, it means they can make a lot of money through ad placement on their site.
Sermo.com is the largest online physician community. Obviously, the member doctors are not going to update their status and go aroud liking pictures of cute kittens on Sermo.com but it's still a social networking site. It's a site where doctors come together do share and discuss things that matter to doctors.
Here is an old CNN article from June of 2007 when Sermo.com was 8 months old. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/06/01/100050979/index.htm?source=yahoo_quote
According to the article Sermo makes half a million dollars ($500,0000) per month after mere 8 months of existence.
It does not make money through subscriptions or through advertising or job listings. It makes its money by charging institutional investors for opportunity to listen in on the conversation.
So what can you do with a bunch of doctors and their opinion?
Perhaps you and I might not care much but think of Pharmaceutical companies.
If you have a business mindset you have already understood my point.
There are other social networks for various other niches but there isn't a social network for quite a lot of niches that desperately require one.
Do you think the Mixed Martial Arts fan get enough mingling on Facebook? No. Most people on Facebook don't know what MMA or UFC is. Most people on Facebook, LinkedIn, Sermo, Dogster etc have never heard of Strikeforce or Chirs Cyborg or Brock Lesnar. Yes there are groups and pages and apps or Facebook dedicated to MMA, but the content is not enough. That's why MMA fans need their own social network.
Have you heard of CPV marketing online? It's to do with popups. Did you know that there are thousands of people who become members on a CPV marketing forums by paying over $100 every month?
I am actually a member in one of them myself. I think a CPV marketing could do with a small social network. Imagine video tutorials, forums, blogs, chats, events all in one place.
Heard of community.babycenter.com It's a community of parents and pregnant mothers. It's from diapers.com
How about those interested in knitting or parkour or latin dancing or belly dancing or green businesses or ...
You see, Facebook, LinkedIn and the likes can never ever fulfil the needs of those niche enthusiasts. Facebook and LinkedIn are too broad.
They don't have enough relevant content to gather a dedicated userbase in a particular niche. The future is in vertical social networks.
There is a big profits in creating online communities. It's not easy and quick but with enough passion and the right niche you might come out a winner.
Checkout a book called Smart Starups: How Entrepreneurs and Corporations can Profit by Starting Online Communities by David Silver.
If you are thinking ... "well how can I make money with just a community of a lot people but nothing to sell them"...then you need to understand web business better.
How do Google, Yahoo, Bing, CraigsList, Facebook, Sermo, Dogster, ActiveRain, MySpace, hi5 and many many other sites make money if they are not selling anything?
Have you purchased anything on Facebook?
Then how did the founder Mark Zuckerberg become worth $17.5 billion in 4 years?
FREE is the new profit.
Bring in a lot of people together on your site and keep them on your site for free. Then figure out ways to monetize on the traffic.
That's Social Network business in a nutshell.
Here are a couple of social networking sites I have created.
I have done many, many, many more e-commerce sites.
I am sure you have questions and it's a little boring reading pages after pages of information.
If you are thinking of getting an ecommerce site but are not ready yet, at least get the domain name.
Domain name is www.something.com. It costs about $10 for the whole year and you can buy it using a credit card online anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Buy your domain today. Buy it right now. Stop everything else you are doing and buy a domain.
Why the rush?
Because, good domains are purchased by others every single day. Don't be surprised if the domain you want or your company name is already taken.
Actually check out our article on purchasing a good domain name before you go and purchase a domain.
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