I’m getting asked a few times a week to recommend a White Label Social Networking Site by excited entrepreneurial or the corporate evangelist. I mainly get asked because of this list I made of the players, and my frequent commenting on the topic.
Given that there is over 60 of them, I don’t believe anyone has an accurate idea of which one ‘is the best’ and considering they are releasing upgrades are versions a few times a year, keeping up is a full time job, there’s where an industry analyst can step up and lead.
I can never answer you over email or over a single phone call, why? Because there are different tools for different needs. It would be very irresponsible of me to recommend SoNet without first understanding your business objectives, your community needs, and gathering your technological requirements.
Every company has different business, user and technology needs. I’ve observed that the different White Label Social Networking vendors are starting to segment into different strengths and focus, therefore there is no “perfect” vendor
So I recommend the following checklist before you get started on this very important decision (How important? This is the infrastructure for your customer base, you’d better choose wisely)
Questions to answer before contacting any White Label Social Networking site (feel free to add additional checkoff points below)
1) What business problem are you trying to fix? What’s broken? What does success look like (without mentioning features)
2) There are different tools for different problems, Are you sure a Social Networking site will fix this?
3) Where are your community/market/users currently?
4) Not sure? Then look again, don’t proceed farther until you find them.
5) Have you considered joining that community before creating your own? You know of the Walmart 10 week fiasco right? Trying to recreate MySpace doesn’t make sense because it already exists.
6) How open/closed to you want your community? Think about long term, does it scale?
7) What incentive are you creating with this SoNet that will drive users to your site and share?
8. How do you plan to kick start your community, you know that just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come
9) Consider joining the Web Strategy Group in Facebook to meet other web decision makers, you’ll be able to ask questions in the forum.
10) Leave a comment below if you’ve suggestions.
I’m a big believer in using my blog (a one to many communication tool) to make my life efficient, so I may refer you to this post in request.
Consultants please read
Are you a consultant that focuses on evaluating, choosing, and implementing a solution? I encourage you to leave a thoughtful comment below that adds additional knowledge that will showcase and impress others, please no raw pitches. Perhaps add some addition points a buyer should look for.