Two years back my last CEO said something which has stuck with me till now. Ashish Kashyap, CEO of ibibo while discussing how we could increase the return users on ibibo had said: “Any social network is like a party. Users will enjoy logging in daily only if your friends are already in the social network.”

He was right….imagine, would you be a willing participant in a party where you are alone? You won’t – even if there were free food & booze. If you had your friends in the party, you would form your small group and have fun.

Today’s article on Socialfloss is about how we can create a happening party in your social platform by forming a network of real world friends.

It is no secret that Social Networks (in which Newsfeeds are the most innovative of inventions) are a runaway success because of two reasons which have been part of the human psyche since our cave days. The two characteristics being – need for voyeurism & need for keeping with the Joneses.

If we humans didn’t have these two needs…Facebook wouldn’t be a hit it is today. In fact, Newsfeeds within Facebook and other social networks are the tool that help a man (or a woman) satisfy his/her these two needs. And behind these Newsfeeds, is the algorithm that decides which friend activity needs to be shown to you when.

But even before we discuss the Newsfeed algorithm, we need to discuss the friends first.

Since we human beings have no voyeuristic needs towards strangers (except when the strangers are celebrities or are porn stars) or have no compulsion of keeping up with the strangers ….a social network’s success & logitivity depends on how soon it connects a user to his/her real friends from offline world.

If your platform isn’t able to replicate the user’s real life online….he won’t be willing to stay on your platform long.

Have given below a quick flow chart to show how this can be done.

Remember, there is a lot that goes beyond what is depicted in the flow chart but that’s out of the scope of this article for the simple reason that documenting all that would take a lifetime.

Also, remember that the best way to suggest friends is to convince your existing users to suggest friends to their friends who join the network for the first time – this beats all other algorithms hands down.

Also, don’t forget to identify which of your user’s real friends aren’t already on your network and ask your user to invite them onboard.

Connecting disconnected friends:

In a country like India, where not everybody is already online….there will be influencers from the fringes (Small towns, first graduates in family etc) who will end up being the first users of your platform. They aren’t expected to have a lot of friends on your platform – for the sake of such users you might also want to introduce what I would label as disconnected friend suggestions.

These are people who aren’t actually connected in real life, but you expect them to find a linking towards each other because of some similarities they share. This could be the school, college, gym, even city. You can also stretch it if you want by including people who read the same books, people who saw the same movies etc.

Then again….connecting disconnected friends is Option No. 2….to be taken up after you are done connecting the real world friends.