What is a platform? Your platform may vary from someone else’s platform. It is not one singular tool or application that you use, but your entire business model, facilitating the communication between a consumer and producer.
There are 9 different types of platforms. Although all platforms share the same business model of communicating transactions between multiple groups, or multiple users, the business types can differ significantly. Here are 9 types with a brief description and an example of the platform:
- Service marketplace – an exchange of services (Airbnb)
- Product marketplace – exchange of physical products (Amazon)
- Payment platform – a platform for payment exchanges (PayPal)
- Investment platform – investments that can incorporate loan or equity exchanges (Fidelity)
- Social networks – Social interaction and friending/following platforms (Facebook)
- Communication platform – Direct communication (WhatsApp)
- Development platform – Software developing (Linux)
- Content platform – Discovery and interaction focused on media and people (YouTube)
- Gaming platform – multiple users, competitive or cooperative gaming (Fortnite)
Determine which online platform your business categorizes, and learn some tips and strategies on how to develop and expand this platform.
Not all platforms will attract the same user base. Once you’ve determined your market, you now want to determine your audience. Yes, you want to have the whole world using your market, but you need to start and focus first. You’ll want to gain a strong audience, whether that’s based on gender, age, culture, or profession. If you don’t focus and are trying to make your platform appeals to too many users, you may end up not being attractive enough to any users to use your platform at all. Focus and try to engage a core audience who will continue to use your service, niche markets will be the ones that continue to engage and return. When you have this core group, others can come and go, but you’ll have the security of consistency.
Once you know your business type and you’ve established your audience, it’s time to create content for them. This can vary from things like new technologies for tech platforms to huge selections of games on a social gaming platform. You may not even have to create the content yourself in a model built on content, but you may need to have creators using your platform and ensuring others are engaged the way YouTube promotes different channels. The better your content and the frequency that you continue to create and update will keep your users coming back and your business growing.
Let’s face it, everything these days is done through cellular devices. Because of this, you’ll need to ensure you have a properly optimized platform for all mobile devices. A business without mobile accessibility will have a hard time keeping up in the age of fast-moving technology, so ensure your users are able to engage your platform through their phones. If you don’t, your platform will be left behind and could crash before it even has a chance to take off.
Advertising is key to help your business grow. Sure, some major companies get away without having to create frequent commercial ads to keep customers talking about them, but one way or another there are marketing campaigns for every platform. Whether it’s through older methods of print, radio or television, or through the many social media platforms, you have the tools and options to get people seeing, hearing, and talking about you.
Another way of getting people engaged within your community. There are reviews for everything as seen here; from gaming platforms to retail portals, and social media platforms, reviews can contribute to building trust between users and producers. Having unbiased opinions on your online platform allows your community to build trust with one another and the products that are being exchanged or about the users on these platforms. It engages your customers to build that community that will keep people returning.
Ensure that your platform has security measures in place. The less secure your platform is, the fewer people will want to use or return to it. The more measures you take, having multi-step authorization, for example, the more trust you will build with your consumers. Don’t short out on security features as having your platform hacked will be one of the easiest ways to lose trust and lose your community. The earlier you have strong security measures in place, the easier it will be to grow faster.
There are many other factors that you can consider when growing your platform in addition to the ones listed above. They hugely involve taking the parties involved and those using your platform into consideration, so you want to tailor the experience to them. Continue to put the user at the forefront of your development and you’ll grow in no time.