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Social media apps are vital for user engagement, product marketing and business growth. Considering the myriad number of platforms out there, how can you compete and create your own top-class social media app that makes your brand and your company stand out? Technology is developing rapidly, so there are many great ideas to try out and new opportunities to avail.

With a host of factors contributing to growth, the share of the social apps in the app market is currently expanding fast. While searching for the coping mechanism under the pressure caused by the pandemic, people demonstrate a deeper engagement in using online socializing platforms, which, according to GlobalWebIndex Report, could see the biggest post-pandemic boosts

Translated into facts and numbers, the market of social media app development is defined as follows:

Social Media App Benefits for Users 

Offering a social media app to your users has numerous advantages.

  • User loyalty – Your app would attract more users, forcing them to remember your brand and thus, become more loyal, especially if your social media app is top-notch.
  • Brand awareness – When promoting your app, you are indirectly marketing and getting leads for your brand as well.
  • Greater traffic – Social apps can increase website traffic which may lead to higher ranks on SERPs and improved credibility.

Creating a social media app

Developing a connection with the existing platform

Users already have a presence on anyone or even multiple social media platforms, and creating accounts on too many of them can actually be annoying. Your app can generate a better user response if it allows users to log in through their credentials on other similar platforms. So integrate your app with other social media services, reducing the number of user registration steps.

Offering opportunities for expressing and sharing

Every social media user thinks they are unique and want to show off their creativity and skills to the world. Your app should offer certain features that can help a user introduce a personal touch and express their thoughts, beliefs, and opinions. 

So offer features that allow users to customize their nicknames, backgrounds, profile pictures and other display aspects of their public profile or page.

Below, we discuss the feature sets common in social media apps alongside giving the main definitions and reasons for including them in the app functionality.  

GOT AN IDEA FOR A SOCIAL MEDIA APP? LET'S DISCUSS!

Building a network

What’s the core purpose of any social media app or software? it is to connect with other users on the platform. Your app should only allow users to connect and make friends, and should also offer a means to invite friends not on the platform through a single click or step process.

Arranging the feed

Newsfeeds are ruined by almost every social media platform, showcasing the content generated by users. Photos, audios, videos, statuses, and even location check-ins should be combined together into an easy-to-go-through news feed. Also offer options that allow users to share other user’s content and posts, express their opinion through comments and show their liking or disliking.

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Types of Social Media Apps 

The most popular social media apps include the following types: 

  • Social networks – Social networks are used for communication purposes and are divided into different categories like personal networking, professional networking, and dating. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Badoo are respective examples.
  • Social media sharing networks –Social  Media sharing networks offer an opportunity for sharing photos and videos such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, and Instagram. Content scaling is a distinguishable feature – some of these platforms only allow users to publish short videos that are automatically deleted after 24 hours whereas others even offer features to set up a user’s own personal video channel.
  • Consumer reviews – consumer reviews bring together the various opinions of existing product and services users in a single place, allowing potential ones to form their own opinions, and accordingly decide if they should or shouldn’t buy the product. For instance, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor let users leave recommendations and comments for locally established businesses.
  • Discussion forums – Communities, Q&A services, and forums are among the first-ever kinds of social media platforms, the core pursuit of which is to share knowledge. Modern choices include Quora, Stackoverflow and Reddit.
  • Social publishing platforms – these include blogging platforms where a user can publish text, images, videos, and other media. Twitter and Medium are examples.
  • Bookmarking and content curation platforms - Pinterest, Scoop.it and StumbleUpon are popular bookmarking services through which a user can collect the content of interest in their personal libraries. This content can be followed and viewed by other members.

  • Interest-based social networks - This sort of social networking connects people who share the same interests. Users usually pursue the same hobbies and are willing to share the related experiences or set up their own social network when signing up for this type of platform. The best examples of such apps are introduced by SuperClub (for foodies), Goodreads(for avid readers), Golden (for volunteers), Citysocializer (for locating people sharing the same interests). 

Establishing a means of private communication

While a lot of information on a social media platform is public, your app should allow users to communicate privately with each other. And this communication should be secure.

UNDERSTANDING THE MAIN PHASES OF SOCIAL MEDIA APP DEVELOPMENT

Strategy

During this phase, study the basic idea and analyze competitors. Develop a persona of potential users and define key performance indicators and their acceptable levels.

When asking the question of how to create a social media app, first of all, there comes a stage of building strategies. At this stage, the business analysis turns a project idea into a deliverable highly detailed plan based on marketing and scientific research. Business analyst’s expertise ensures the validity of a project concept in comparison to competitors’ products.  The outcomes of research presented in marketing research reports and related documents are vital for stepping into the next stages of design and development productively.

Design

The designing stage can be broken down into several steps like sketching, wireframing and prototyping. During sketching, you develop a basic outline of the application, understand the logic behind and figure out the total number of screens and the manner in which they should interact with each other. Wireframing is another important design step that provides a skeletal structure of the app and gives you an idea of the offered user experience. The prototyping stage involves developing a working app model so as to understand the product better and thus, minimize changes in the MVP version. 


Development and Quality Assurance

App design and development should generally be conducted simultaneously. Once you have come up with a prototype, start by building a backend, configuring servers, databases and other required components. Later on, develop the front end: focus on user experience and try to improve it in any way possible.

The tech stack is to be picked up among multiple tech options defined by the specific requirements of your project and its scale. 

In particular, when creating a social media app, you may opt for:

Mobile development: Android - Java, iOS - Swift, cross platform - React Native, Flutter

Front-end development: Angular, ReactJS

Back-end development: Node.js, PHP, Phyton; Databases - Postgres, MySQL; API - Swagger; Chat: Socket.io

Hosting: AWS

Geolocation: Google Maps

Storage: Amazon S3

Search: Elastic Search

Social authorization: Facebook SDK, Twitter SDK

Push notifications: Apple Push Notification Service, Firebase Cloud Messaging

Analytics: Google Analytics

There is also a question of choosing the platform. Which one is the best? Choices include iOS, Android. Yes, down the road, you should launch your app for all popular platforms, but in actuality,  it is advisable to start with a single platform that supports features you want in the app and is available on various devices.

Additionally, at the stage of development, for securing the best results, the thing to consider is staffing the team with the following experts:   

Continue testing the application manually and automatically during this phase. 

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Publishing and Marketing

The publishing stage involves creating promotional materials such as screens, user manual, and video guides. When your app is fully developed and usable, you’ll also have to market and promote it among the masses. 

Essential Features of a social media app

Your social media is likely to be more successful if it offers the following features of social networking, which are what the users look for and are an inherent part of all social platforms.

 

Social authorization

Ideally, the user should have a choice among multiple sign in options. For instance, the apps  offer to sign in with an email and password, or phone number, or by using Google account. Facilitating the procedure, apps include integration with Amazon accounts, etc.

Feed

This feature assists users in receiving all the updates and news from friends, groups and profiles the user is subscribed to. In lots of apps, the news feed displays on the home screen of the social media app.

Post creation

Creating the post that includes adding multimedia content is the major intention that users demonstrate when they sign in the social media app. Creating the post must be an easy and enjoyable experience that provides users with immediate feedback from their contacts and at the same time ensures privacy of the shared information if the user wishes to claim it. 

Post likes, comments, shares

The feedback from the contacts in response to the posted and shared content comes in many ways: the more channels of creating the adequate feedback the app provides, the more engaged the user feels. Traditionally, the options users are exposed to include likes (with variations of ‘love’, ‘support’, etc.), making comments and instant sharing. 

User following

The options include a choice among to follow and unfollow, to keep privacy when following and followed, to get instant updates from the contacts users follow or set scenarios for visibility accordingly. 

Add or remove friends

After a user adds contacts from their profile, they should also have an option for making changes or deleting them.

User profile

By clicking on the user profile icon in the launch, the user should easily see the menu and options provided in the profile page including the general information, syncing data across other accounts and confidentiality. 

Search

In case the user wants to find profiles of other users or search for particular content, the filters in search come truly helpful and guarantee to enhance the user experience. 

Chat

The apps that allow for instant messaging (IM) and other chatting options supported with voice or video messages will create an additional channel for deepened user engagement.   

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Push notifications

Your special media app must be able to consolidate all user activity onto a single screen or view. Moreover, the content of other users should be easily discoverable and generated continuously over the news feed.

Group or community creating

Your app should contain the ability to add/edit groups and communities.

Additionally, you will need to create an admin panel (CMS) that ensures user management. Activating an admin panel means general management functions like blocking, editing, or deleting users.

It can also detect the number of user posts, analyze data on new users, and generate detailed reports. 

Overall, the main functions of the admin panel include:

  • Admin authorization
  • Admin management
  • User management
  • Reported user management
  • Analytics. 

How To Calculate The Cost of My Social Media App 

The cost associated with building a social media app depends on a host of factors including:  

  • The platform the customer picks for the app development (Web app, native mobile or cross-platform app)
  • The expert team you work with and their pricing 
  • The scope of features you choose for the project
  • The rates set for hiring team experts in the particular geolocation
  • The project tech stack

Overall, the initial cost of developing MVP starts with $50,000. 

Do not hesitate to contact us at sales@codeit.us, and we will consult you for free on a cost estimate of your project.

Tracking performance

Great, so you’ve finally developed an app that apparently seems popular and is being utilized by a large number of users. But how sure can you be? Metrics are important for evaluating app performance, assessing user engagement and figuring out improvement opportunities. Generally, any identified issues and bugs are addressed in subsequent versions.

Performance metrics can be divided into five main groups: sales, marketing, finance, user and acquisition.  Here are some of the most important KPIs that should definitely be tracked.

Metric Description
CPI The Cost per Install or CPI is determined by tracking user installations generated through advertising. 

CPI = Total Advertising Costs/Total Number of Installs

CAC Customer Acquisition Cost or CAC measures the overall marketing efforts required to attract potential customers. 
User Activation User activation reflects the total number of active users: values are compared with total downloads. 
User Retention User Retention is the total number of users who return after their first visit. Whenever new app versions are launched, be sure to check out the retention rate because it’ll help you know if your app appeals to existing customers or not. 
Churn Rate Churn rate measures the total number of users who don’t use their social accounts anymore. 
User Engagement  User engagement measures actions that reflect a user’s interest in an application. For instance, Session Length is the time duration between a user starting and leaving an application. The greater this value is, the more interested the user would be in your app.  
Burn Rate  The monthly amount being invested in the app every month such as server costs, marketing costs, and staff costs. 

Monetization Models For Social Media Apps 

To aim at creating a profitable social media app, there are several monetization strategies to choose from:

  • Advertisements
  • Premium features
  • Venture Capital

Let’s break them down to basics:

Advertisements

Allowing social media advertising is the most common means of generating revenue for app owners. For instance, paid advertising on Facebook appeals to lots of businesses as the immediate way to reach the audience.

Premium features

Almost all the key players on the social media app market enable users to get access to premium subscriptions and unlock additional features. For example, YouTube offers premium content add-free on the paid plan. 

Venture capital

It is a well-known story that Facebook started with venture capitalist Peter Thiel making  a $500,000 angel investment in the social network for 10.2% of the company. Initially, the objective is to monetize the social media app or merge with a bigger player.

Remember:

  • Name matters. So come up with a really good one that entices your audience
  • Regard the latest trends that the audience is expecting to be incorporated in the concept of your app. In particular, among the most popular trends are AR and face filters, AI and chatbots, video content, options for realizing social storytelling scenarios, social commerce, and establishing private communities, and live streaming. 

  • You can attract more users when you market your app through a well defined and cleverly crafted plan. Utilize various promotional channels, both online and offline, to spread the word. Also, contact various bloggers and influencers, and see how they can help you promote your app.
  • Start by developing a minimum viable product or MVP version first which would contain the minimum set of core features offering the maximum value to your users. Roll out the developed app, test the idea, analyze the results, and use them to come up with subsequent versions. This approach reduces time, costs and efforts significantly allowing you to launch the app more quickly and effectively.
  • Ensure that you have extra features in your application which aren’t offered by similar social media platforms and services.  Come up with unique selling points and focus on them from the very beginning.
  • Create a dedicated website for your app that should be powerful and compel visitors to download your app.  And when done, design a landing page targeted to result in a higher conversion rate.
  • As good as your app may be, users will likely reduce their usage after some time. So keep reminding them that you exist by providing notifications through various means. But schedule them at a time when your targeted audience is likely to be free. In case, they haven’t signed into or launched your app for quite a while, you can send them a friendly reminder and highlight essential features.
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Our Expertise:

Take a look at social media and networking projects we had a pleasure to work on:

SocialGeoApp - a highly intuitive geo-messaging mobile app;

Rankly - a social top list community;

WellHello - an adult-related platform for online dating;

Brewed - a subscription-based portal that provides B2C networking services.

To Conclude 

Socializing online is expected to get a further boost in post-pandemic reality, which means that demand for the social app development service will be on the rise. Our expert social media app developers can boast of the successful completion of several social media app projects. 

Hence, with CodeIT team having proved its expertise in native and cross-platform social app development projects, you can rely on achieving the desirable result timely and creating  the social media app of high quality.


👍What are the main types of social media apps?

Social networks are used for communication purposes and are divided into different categories like personal networking, professional networking, and dating. 

Social media sharing networks offer an opportunity for sharing photos and videos. 

Consumer reviews bring together the various opinions of existing product and services users in a single place, allowing potential ones to form their own opinions, and accordingly decide if they should or shouldn’t buy the product. 

Discussion forums – communities, Q&A services, and forums are among the first-ever kinds of social media platforms, the core pursuit of which is to share knowledge. 

Social publishing platforms – these include blogging platforms where a user can publish text, images, videos, and other media. 

Bookmarking and content curation platforms - bookmarking services through which a user can collect the content of interest in their personal libraries. This content can be followed and viewed by other members.

Interest-based social networks - this sort of social networking connects people who share the same interests. 


👍What features should be included in a social media app?

The basic MVP includes the following features: 

  • Social authorization
  • Feed
  • Post creation
  • Post likes, comments, shares
  • User following
  • Add or remove friends
  • User profile
  • Search
  • Chat
  • Push notifications


👍How to create a social media app?

Development of a social media application requires the following steps:

  • Discovery Phase
  • Define the set of required features
  • Prototyping and wireframing
  • UX/UI design
  • Pick the best suited platform and tech stack
  • Build and launch an MVP
  • Publishing and Marketing

Choosing the right software development company is a key factor in project success.


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