Since its initial launch in 2004, Facebook has grown tremendously; it went from being a social network for Universities to being a public platform that has literally changed the way we communicate. Many startups want to mimic their success by creating social sites that are way too familiar to Facebook and since it nearly has 1 million active users, no one needs a second Facebook.
Thinking outside the box can leave you struggling especially since your example is of a social success that covers a wide range of things people can do besides simply chatting. Fortunately for Facebook it has been able to be a broad social network and it worked for them, enabling users to chat, play games, share photos, videos and thoughts in groups, on pages and their own profiles; makes it even harder for a startup to know which direction they should take with the hopes of making it in the social sphere.
You’re doing it wrong.
Facebook is not the social site you need to model your social startup after; instead you need to come up with something brand new, something that taps into one topic, one enjoyment that is relatable to the masses. You need to create a niche social startup, Facebook is already covering a wide range of areas, and therefore you need to focus on just one.
The stats don’t lie.
If you need proof that niche social startups is the route that is necessary for success, all you need to do is look at the data for sites like Pinterest and Instagram.
In a recent study by the marketing services company, Experian, they were able to find that both social sharing photo sites were the most popular globally, becoming two of twenty of the most popular social sites in Singapore, the UK and North America.
Their popularity has grown substantially in the past year to even recent months and will continue to grow since they are feeding the needs of their users.
But they are both photo-sharing sites.
Although Pinterest and Instagram are photo-sharing social sites, they are tapping into the one language we can all understand world-wide and that is pictures. This is where their similarity begins and ends, since Pinterest is a site to share interests through using photos and creating boards to match those interests and Instagram is directed towards people who like to take photos and share them instantly from a mobile device. The two have used one niche to create two incredibly different startups.
Their use of looking for the gaps of what is lacking on other social networks and creating startups that surround one idea instead of many have captured the interest of its users, users that are continuously growing.
As a startup, these are the type of ideal models you need to search for to see that one idea can be a success. This doesn’t mean go out and create another photo-sharing site, we need innovation. It simply means that there are other gaps that need filling and to look for those instead of trying to be the next Facebook.
Erin Ryan is a writer for various blogs and a Social Media Promotional Director who has a keen understanding of the power of Social Media for business and fervently stays up-to-date with the Social Media Industry. Erin enjoys teaching and helping people and businesses on how to use and connect through Social Media. You can connect with Erin Ryan on Twitter.