Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the three main social media platforms that guide most of the traffic from a wide audience. Yet, those media platforms have rules, agendas, and limitations that can be constricting to certain businesses, people, and viewpoints. Whether it is the lack of individuality inherent in these easily recognizable social networks, or simply because the company or cause sees something greater, utilizing a social networking content monitoring system (CMS) platform to create a social network is an intriguing option.

Here are five of the best social networking CMS platforms available use today.

SocialEngine

SocialEngine started in 2007 and was co-founded by Charlotte Genevier and Alex Benzer. Originally, this now open-source social networking CMS was created simply to help businesses create their own branded social network platform. This system boasts having no limits in customization, in-depth analytics, built-in security, and anti-spam.

SocialEngine also has two distinct options when it comes to specifically how you want to build your social network.

SocialEngine PHP:

SocialEngine PHP is designed to be downloaded and utilized in a format that is created completely by the individual user. Having a license to utilize this software means that the social network that a person creates is completely their own. Since this product was the first out of the duo, it is an extremely in-depth, extremely analytical, completely personalized response from your social network platform.

SocialEngine Cloud:

SocialEngine Cloud boasts an instant setup, total social integration and, while less in-depth and slightly less customizable than it’s PHP counterpart, it is also a simple, faster way to start an online network. The cloud version is easy to link to existing websites and if you need more than one social network, this platform can be enabled to host different social networking accounts.

Pros:

The biggest advantages that SocialEngine is known for is their customization and the ownership of the data that is put on the network. While SocialEngine hosts the platform on which the social network is built, all the contents, in addition to the network itself, is owned by the user.

Cons:

The biggest issue with SocialEngine is that many third-party plug-ins are not compatible with the platform. Therefore, the customization, although vast, can be dampened significantly by this inability.

Also, there are reports that despite multiple users complaining about this and other issues, the platform is slow to initiate change.

phpFox

In January of 2018, phpFox released its latest and biggest update, phpFox 4.6.0. This tells users that this is a platform that is keeping up with the times and always improving. Regardless of how good software is, complacency can hastily become their terminal downward spiral into tech history.

Therefore, one of the biggest ways phpFox continues to stay afloat is their focus on relevance; which is a theme that is inherent throughout their website and platform design.

phpFox has a free demo that allows their potential social networking creators to try out their basic service before committing to buying a license.

Pros:

The highlights of this system are their affordability, the abundance of features and their user-friendly interface.

With a one-time fee of their three-tiered system that allows social networkers to choose the capability of their network, such as whether to have video chat, makes it highly affordable.

The abundance of features makes customization and the ability to make a platform unique easy and accessible. Many of these features are available in the first tier of their pricing.

Last, the user-friendly interface, that has recognizable similarities to Facebook, make it appealing to the eye and recognizable.

Cons:

The biggest issue with phpFox is the customer service. While this platform has good representatives who are helpful, once you get ahold of them, the help is generally frustrated by their service pricing and schedule.

Customers who wish to get in touch with the company to help them with an issue must pay for their service (even those on the highest pricing tier).

Additionally, their scheduling for customer service representatives is strictly between business hours. This means that globalization of this platform is at a major disadvantage and, more importantly for the individual networker if you have a pressing issue after they close, or on the weekend, help will likely not arrive until the next business day.

eXo

The idea for eXo was conceived in 2002 and was initially supposed to be an open-source project. However, after a lot of hard work and determination, in 2003, the project morphed into a company, taking on the US Department of Defense as their first client.

For the pricing platform of eXo, there are three main options, which are decided by the number of people who utilize your platform.

The first is the Professional Plan, which is available up to 200 users. The second option is the Enterprise plan, which services up to 1,000 users. The third option is the Enterprise Plus tier, which hosts an unlimited number of users.

Pros:

Considering that many users tend to have a good experience with eXo, there are many benefits to utilizing this platform. However, these pros are the most common:

eXo is hailed for having excellent content management, high sociability tools, and easy to use customization.

Strikingly

eXo has a reputation for being a complete platform, having perfected the balance between a social and collaborative effort. While there are a pleasing amount of add-on and exclusive features that can be easily integrated into the user’s social network, the open source programming gives users the freedom to build their network exactly as they see fit.

Plus, the customer service is always helpful, with a quick and detailed response (at no additional cost).

Cons:

The only true disadvantage that eXo has on a wide scale, is that they offer so much, sometimes some of the larger features can slow the network down. While this is possible to fix, the completeness of such a true open source network makes it hard for some new users to navigate.

BoonEx

BoonEx was started in 2001 by Andrew and Julia Boon. Originally, the couple only sought to focus on the software community. However, over the span of a decade, which is now reaching close to twenty years, the company has morphed into a reliable social CMS platform.

The company’s main product is often what people refer to the company as Dolphin.

With the full name of BoonEx Dolphin, this platform has gone through four major updates, the most current of which is Dolphin Pro.

*Fun Fact: With each update, the company ‘adopts’ a dolphin and pays for its care, in addition supporting many other animal, environmental, and human disability foundations.

Pros:

BoonEx is hailed for withstanding the test of time and updating itself to stay relevant. Some unique pros for this system are the membership ads, the ability to create a blog right on the platform and the ability to collect payments.

The way that their ad space is filled up is by the members. This keeps the network growing and expanding, while individual networkers are getting noticed on the platform that they chose to work with.

Also, in addition to being fully customizable, both with templates and social media connectivity, BoonEx also allows networkers to plan and present their own content. Members are easily able to add and update blogs to their network, create custom RSS feeds and even share documents.

Third, BoonEx allows network users to collect payments through their social network. It is easy to set up and makes the network, especially for a charity or other like-minded idea, look extremely put together and professional. For some networks, this could change the entire way they operate, simply by the ease of being paid right through the social network they created.

Cons:

The major issue with this platform is the lack of options for certain functions, such as templates. While they do have a marketplace that negates that con slightly, having to pay for something as simple as a template, when a networker is already paying for a membership is cause for annoyance.

NING

NING started in 2004 and is proud to be one of the major CMS platforms in the industry. The company boasts a simple, customizable, drag and drop design that is completely socially integrated, mobile, and refined by up to date SEO and analytics features.

Even though they are a company conceived in the USA, their globalization is on point, with the ability to read the contents of their website in six different languages proudly displayed on their website.

Pros:

The benefits of using NING are that they have a reputation to be easy to work, the content tends to show up high on Google searches, and the platform can easily be monetized.

The NING platform is synonymous with being easy to work with and seamless in its customization. This platform is always striving to keep up its relevance and achieves this goal through apps, plenty of features and affordability.

Secondly, NING focuses its efforts on staying SEO savvy, which helps the contents for all the platform’s users to show up high on Google searches. This is useful, both for seasoned networkers and those who are still trying to build their user base.

Additionally, NING is one of the CMS platforms that has made monetization of the network a priority. If a possible networker is looking to sell ad space, this is a good option, especially for those who are just starting out.

Cons:

NING is not without faults, however. While it has its benefits, there are also a few complaints among the users.

The first of which is that although the packages are affordable, they come with limited bandwidth, which once a networker has exceeded, they must upgrade their package. This tends to get frustrating extremely quick.

Secondly, since the NING site is integrated with each individual social network on the platform, there is a higher possibility for spamming. To rectify this situation, NING limited the number of friend requests a networker can send to fifty. This helped a little bit but the aggravation for the legitimate networker was heightened.

Also, another one of the most prevalent issues that users seem to have with NING is that the platform has a reputation for being inexpensive. While it is far from looking cheap, some people seem to have that opinion of the platform. Thus, if the networker intends to use the platform for its monetary capabilities, they might be faced with issues, simply because of the affordability of the platform.

Nevertheless, if a networker can build a reputable social platform, it won’t matter where the site is hosted.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no CMS platform on this list that is necessarily better than another. At the end of the day, there is a social networking CMS platform that is better suited for every business. After all, each business is unique and therefore, deserves to choose an equally unique platform on which they host their social network. However, hopefully, this list has shed some light on the options that are available and helped make that decision a little more manageable.

Ecwid
Mike Johnston
Mike is the founder and editor of CMS Critic. He consults with vendors and the public to help them find the right products for their websites and businesses. When he's not working here, he's off mixing cocktails for his wife's website, The Kitchen Magpie. You can check out some of his great cocktail shots over on Instagram.

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