There is a plethora of social networking products these days. Some are successful and some are not. So what do you do to build a successful social networking product?

Here are few things that you can do:

1) Facilitate content creation

When it comes to social, content is the king. Single most important factor in success of social product is community driven content. Consumers would love the product if it has good content. Content creates stickiness. Users would abandon the product if they don’t find new content no matter how great the product is.

Make sure that content creation is easy and simple in your product. Twitter is successful because content creation is simple – 140 chars. Additionally it has Retweet that makes content creation very easy. Users can just Retweet if they don’t have anything original to say. Facebook facilitates content creation by supporting multiple media types. Users can upload a picture, post a link or just like someone’s status or pictures. Foursquare is successful because it lets you create content by simply checking-in. The mantra is “don’t make me think”. If users have to think and toil for content creation, they wont.

2) Leverage other social networks

The irony with social networking products is that their success facilitates success of their competitor. Twitter and Facebook already have a large social graph. Leverage that to reach out to your potential users. Instagram did that beautifully. Instagram allowed users to share the pictures on Twitter & Facebook by a simple link. When users clicked on the link, Instagram not only presented the picture beautifully but also showed users how they themselves can take such beautiful pictures by using Instagram.

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Quora did that elegantly too by letting you post a link to Twitter when you ask a question or answer a question.

3) Build Bacn in your product

Bacn is something that brings back your users to your product. Typically it is an e-mail that is sent out to users to alert them of activities. Here is an encyclopedia link of Bacn. Remember Bacn is not a spam and users benefits from it by knowing what is new. Traditionally Bacn has been e-mail but it could even be push notifications in smart phones. Use e-mails and push notifications intelligently to generate traffic and activity.

4) Focus on UX/UI

Last but not the least, make sure that you have absolutely rocking UX and UI. There will be at least three other products with similar concept and your differentiating factor would be UX/UI. The consumers must fall in love with your product and it should be extremely easy to use. Path is a very good example of sleek UX/UI.

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These are few key ingredients of a winning social networking product. What are others? Do share your insights/comments.

[This is a guest post written by Rajat Garg. Rajat works as Director of Product Management at Bubble Motion. You can find more about his thoughts on his blog.]

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