Most of the software products offered by Program Tom LTD are missing the secret ingredient of success – for one reason or another – being social. Making something social increases the popularity automatically. When a lot of people use something – the product could generate money if the appropriate strategy is applied. For one reason or another We’ve rarely included the functionalities. In some deeper sense they are tricking and manipulating people psychologically to engage in the products.
You see, the software in itself is just a tool, it is gray, it is soulless, it is inhumane. Even if it is colorful, shiny, cool, innovative, modern. All these words that describe the software and its execution are the magic that puts a fairly dust in the people’s heads.
From functional point of view, here are the features that a software should include to be social at least in some small or indirect way:
Anything could have a comment even the comment itself. To make it easier most implementations allow up to two levels with the exception of Twitter and several others projects.
Rating paired with a comment, feedback or simple opinion – are also very popular information block attached to whatever – software, places, products of all kinds, people, etc.
3. Tagging other users
One of the keys to make some product social is allowing interaction of the users between each other within the specific data records or content of the platform.
- The possibility of a Group Chat was part of the earliest instant messaging software. Even in old service like email – people could send messages to all participants simultaneously.
- Join forces with others in content. Marking others in the Photos in the early version of Facebook was the key feature that made it so addictive in some sense and consequently – successful. Tagging and interacting with others in comments, opinions, photos, events, check-ins and more is one of the psychological tickle that makes people come back. People need to be right – otherwise they are not calm.
Similar to direct tagging is the ability of a new platform to import the connections, contacts, friends or whatever /label you place here/ – from other platforms. Having all your friends in the new place is another key to being actually meaningful for most people.
4. Numbers of likes, followers, fans, views & other statistics.
People are competitive. They like to measure and compare stuff with one another and trick themselves and others – of success – by some custom, rarely important, often privately owned scale. The sums and counts are miracle numbers of things in a 3rd party database that could trick users. But, if you implement them and use them properly, you could figure out – what functionality, what module, what part of a software, service or website is of importance to the users and clients and invest time and effort in them.
5. Games, Contests, Questions
As a users of the big platforms, to trick people to interact with your content and beat the algorithm – product owners are able to spread the world about their offers by creating games and contests. One example is – giving stuff for free. It may look counter-productive but, if the cards are played well, the balance is not only covered but goes in positive direction. And when the actual product or service is digital – the cost price is very very low.
Another thing that people don’t like to do is wait. Nowadays – with the abundance of constantly flowing information – the attention window for a single thing is very very short. Try to use Push Notifications to force the users to react fast – to a post, picture, comment or else – the content is drowned deep in the news feed and loses popularity. It is still there, but it gets irrelevant. Using push notifications – an app could inform instantly others about an interaction of some of the participants. The reaction time gets much, much shorter and the possibility of making something viral – real. The only trick here is to create the content that “click” in the people’s heads, so they feel the need to interact.
7. Feeling of ownership of the profile and the content
When users post content around the Internet, they could get the feeling that everything is theirs. All their registrations, all the images, posts, comments, articles, videos are their possession because they are accessed with their user profile’s credentials. And while in some sense it is true, if it is not copied from someone else of course, by clicking the submit [or any equivalent label] button, the users give permission to the site to do whatever they like with it. There are some GDPR restrictions in place from some time now, but these rules are just for legal and philosophical make-up. Appling full control of the users over the content is hard. And when you are on the Service Creating side – these rules are just another requirement to fulfill to be legally compliant.
The key of increasing the feeling of ownership is making the content publicly accessible first and then moderating it. This lack of pre-access to others – verification is a key feature to inject the feeling of ownership to the profile.
Other ways to make the content look like owned by the users are appropriate texts in the labels, menus and input forms. Another trick is to place the profile image next to the input form. It will make users act subconsciously and they will think that their profile is actually them-themselves.
8. Making Money
Because we live in an economic world – money is important aspect of life. Implement a feature to allow users to make money somehow from the software. This is another key to trigger users to come back to it. While people live under the economic system, money will be required every day for our basic human needs. These needs assure repeatability in the long run.
9. Endless content feed
A central place in every big social platform is a list “full” of endless content. This content is generated by the users. This type of services somewhere in past were named WEB 2.0. The tricky part for this feature is, the new items to be relevant to the current user or to trick him to interact. Otherwise, it is unprioritized flow of stuff. Facebook, using the friends list graph, was able to do it relatively more addictive. For the current moment (October 2020) very few other places or products are archiving this personalization good enough.
Probably, including few of these features will increase the user base. Notice in the big Internet Platforms, that the successful ones have included all of the aspects to make themselves social. I’m seeing all the features in Facebook. Making money (the marketplace) is missing currently (7.10.2020) in Instagram. There are few thing more missing in LinkedIn, Twitter or the newest kids in the block – like Snapchat, Tik Tok.
Nobody is going to be the next “Zuckerberg”, until a platform or a service doesn’t have all the above features. There are others tricky psychological magic spells, that marketers know. But, this is for another article.