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Topic: Strategy

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Business Strategy For Social Networking Site

Posted by tiwari.ved27 on 250 Points
I want to create a social networking site exclusively for college students.Since every student is from some institute, so my dilemma is should i focus my business planning keeping institutes in mind or keeping students in mind i.e should i offer something to institutes & motivate them to invite students to join my site or should i directly target students & ask them to create a group page for their institute.this site will be like a facebook for students . plz suggest.

  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    Since college students are already members of a number of social networking sites, why would they want to join your new site? How will your site be better/different from existing sites? How will you get critical mass of the site to ensure it's worth the time for the students to participate?
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Accepted
    Facebook for students. Er ... Facebook was created in the first instance FOR students.

    What makes your idea different, more compelling, or wider reaching?

    What will your platform deliver or provide that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest don't already cover? Which colleges would you aim your platform at? Which students?

    If I'm a student, what benefits do I get from joining that I don't already get from other social networks?

  • Posted by Peter (henna gaijin) on Accepted
    Your question boils down in many ways to demand generation versus repeat customers.

    Making it so that the institute helps you get students is demand generation. But putting in things that the institute likes probably won't be things the students necessarily like, so won't help keep them.

    If you do a system the students like, then they will keep using the site. So you have the trouble of getting them on in the first place, but once they are there, they stay there

    I haven't done a study on it, but it seems that all of the successful social networks focused on what the users want and provided that. Then they found ways to monetize it in the background - relatively unobtrusive advertising, selling user data, or the like. This would lead me to believe that focusing on the students would be the way to go.

    This also would help you get around the issues brought up in prior messages - that social networking sites are a crowded market, so you will need to provide something innovative to make people want to use yours.
  • Posted by tiwari.ved27 on Author
    Hey Gary @Gary Bloomer

    The basis of this thought for creating social networking site for students is the affinity towards the members of same domain i.e students. Every student is curious to be in touch with the same subject student of other institutes.They want to interact/ get connected with each other.

    Since this platform will cater all the core needs of students like

    1:Discussion forum & QnA forum (like quora), where user can get suggestion & feedback from more relevant users.
    2: job manager (option of linkedin),where his resume will be viewed by specific set of employers i.e those who are looking for freshers or interns.

    3:free classified option for selling books, searching room mates or buying cheap used stuff),

    4: live news that too with their own interest level so no need to search & scroll all news. Only get updated with that news which is of the interest level.

    5: file repository option to download ebooks,articles, projects etc which was uploaded by their peers only.

    6: Poll option.

    All this will be on the platform of social network that means they can enjoy the same set of access & social connection what they are having in facebook but may be with more relevant contacts alongwith the above mentioned features.

    I want to make it a one point solution for all exclusive need of students.

    Coming back to your first point that is facebook, so now a days facebook is such an open platform that the affection & individuality of user is diluted. Although we all are having acoount in FB but on relevancy & affection ground we are actually connected & concerned for hardly 25-30% of our contacts.

    Since all these are relevant requirement of students, i am assuming that student would love to participate on this as its completely free.

  • Posted by tiwari.ved27 on Author
    @ Peter,

    Thanks peter for your suggestion but in connection to the same suggestion my apprehension is will the institute won't object (may be legally) if some user or may be we(admin) are creating a group in the name of institute.

    Can it be advisable that we create a group page for every institute & whenever some new user join he can get the option of his institute as drop down ?

    or Can we ask the user to create a group for their institute but not sure how many user will take a pain to create group page of their institute ?

    Also One more query should i keep an option of inviting/allowing alumni to join this network, as then it becomes another facebook an open forum. ?

    plz suggest.

  • Posted by dubois on Member
    Jay and Gary ask some good fundamental questions for which you should develop good answers ASAP. But your question is really kind of a "push" versus "pull" marketing dilemma.

    Do you "push" students to the platform by reaching students directly, or get the institutes to "pull" their students into the platform. The answer probably is, "both." At least until you've tested which method is most cost effective for reaching your goals.

    If institutes are cooperative, that could be a great way to reach their students. You'll need a good WIIFM message for institutes in that case, and a whole second layer of marketing communications for them.

    If institutes compete for students, they might not be enthusiastic about a platform that mixes their students with those in other institutes. (I'm trying to discern from your comments whether you'd have a platform for each institute, or one for everybody. I could see the value of a borderless platform as a better student resource, but a branded private platform as a better value prop for institutes.)

    Best of luck with this!
  • Posted by tiwari.ved27 on Author
    @Denis DuBois

    Thanks Denis, you have helped to fine tune my marketing approach.
    Also Jay n Garry questions had given an introspective look towards this business model.

    One apprehension which i raised above i.e

    "Should i keep an option of inviting/allowing alumni to join this network, as they can open the job opportunity doors for their junior batch mate but on flip side as then it becomes another Facebook an open forum. ?"

    I will appreciate if you throw some light on this aspect also.

  • Posted by dubois on Accepted
    Could you give grads a grace period of say 6 months and then ask them to pay for access, helping to fund the platform for full-time students? Can you recruit alumni as mentors for students, or some similarly helpful role?
  • Posted by matthewmnex on Accepted
    The idea of a social media community dedicated to s specific subset or group of society is a good one. It can and has been done successfuly.

    However, think carefully about your business model. Where will the revenue come from?

    Students have no money to spend and frankly they are happy on FB.

    Go for a community that you are passionate about or a passionate community that hobbyists or enthusiasts are already spending money. Golf. Fitness. Car racing whatever fuels your passion.

    If your passion is just making money then choose a community that his very passionate about what they do.

    Forget the students :)

  • Posted by tiwari.ved27 on Author
    Thanks matthewmnex.

    Agree with your thought that student wont pay as they don't have money...for that reason i am offering everything free for students.

    My revenue model depends mainly location & category specific advertisement income.

    My passion is not only making money...but to create something for this subgroup of society.

  • Posted by tiwari.ved27 on Author
    my biggest apprehension is how to bring these user segment in my site when there is already a platform like fb not because fb is vast platform but users are adapted with the features n functionalities of fb.

    is it advisable to create a similar kind of user interface like fb or a different user interface ?
    Also any suggestion to bring this user segment in my site.

  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    Maybe you need some in-depth interviews with your target audience to see what they like and dislike about Facebook, and what's on their wish list (unmet needs) when it comes to social media platforms. This is tricky research, because they are probably not consciously aware of their unmet needs. Nevertheless, a skilled market research professional knows how to tease this information out.
  • Posted by telemoxie on Member
    If I am reading this correctly, You say that you want to replace existing social media solutions for students with a single program which will do everything. You want to take on and replace established And entrenched industry leaders.

    You are planning to offer him better and more comprehensive service and these huge companies who have established platforms, hundreds of millions of dollars, cans of millions of customers, and thousands of employees.

    I'm curious, what do you think your odds are of succeeding?
  • Posted by tiwari.ved27 on Author
    Thanks Telemoxie.
    I think if only money & infrastructure have been the criteria of success, then probably none of the startup would have created... Every startup would had been struggled in their initial days.Its about the idea & need of that idea.
    Now lets come to the practical aspect so i agree with your point that in the market of these biggies, as a startup i have very minimal chances of success but i strongly believe that the user don't come looking at the infrastructure, they come because of convenience & their comfort level. Moreover i am not competing with the infrastructure of these biggies but with their idea.
    The day first 1000 user started "Quora" do you think was it be same status what it is on today in terms of infrastructure & technology ?
    The day Facebook was started "Orkut" was already their & widely spread in the market & today you know the status ?
    The country where i live "India" no such social network site is available yet whereas the student population in India is 34 million (approx)

  • Posted by telemoxie on Accepted
    If this were my project, I would begin with a much tighter focus. Rather than take on everybody on all fronts, I would pick one or two shortcomings of current solutions, and I would also likely Begin by targeting highly focused demographic, and hope to sell out to one of the big players within two years. Good luck.
  • Posted by tiwari.ved27 on Author
    Thanks Telemoxie,
    I got your point and trust me in last couple of days i am working on the similar line to make it more focused & identifiable.

  • Posted by Aaira on Accepted

    Focus on a subset.. like other users say.. If student be your focus, then one focus could be career planning. Read Assessments, Psychometric testing, career tips, blogs, resume making.. Tight focus on this.. will get you eye balls.

    Another tip.. Find a partner.. You will need someone to share ideas, success, failures and more. Write your daily goals/deadlines..

    Good luck
  • Posted by tiwari.ved27 on Author
    Thanks Aaira,

    We will definately keep this in Mind.

  • Posted by Shelley Ryan on Moderator
    Hi Everyone,

    I am closing this question since there hasn't been much recent activity.

    Thanks for participating!


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