Nowadays, it’s impossible to comprehend a world without social media and how it has impacted us. For better or worse, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have changed the way we interact with each other online. Perhaps they eat up more of our time than we’d like to admit. But on the other hand, they’ve revolutionized the way we consume and share content. Furthermore, these platforms are opening up many invaluable opportunities for creatives, developers, and businesses.
1. Why You Should Develop A Social Media App
Whether you’re an appreneur or running a large organization, it’s time to take a serious look at social media. And there are many good reasons why you’d want to do this, considering the current online landscape. Chances are you’re already active on one or more social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Moreover, you probably have family members, friends, and work colleagues that are plugged into their favorite social channels too.
If we briefly look at numbers, consider the juggernaut Facebook, which boasts 2.89 billion monthly active users by the 2nd quarter of 2021. With such extensive reach, Facebook has become the leading platform among relationship networks. Many people love engaging with friends and loved ones here, given the platform’s powerful features that facilitate user retention.
Of course, it would be a Herculean task to develop a social media app to compete with the likes of Facebook, especially for a startup. But it’s not necessary to copy Facebook to find success with a social channel. It’s best to find a niche that serves a need, which appeals to a sizable audience. For example, a corporate social channel could serve as an effective tool for connecting all workers within the organization. And users outside the organization won’t be able to access this channel, making it a manageable project for a smaller developer.
2. Determine The Type Of Social Media App You Want To Create
As we mentioned earlier, your social channel must serve a need. Otherwise, you’ll waste resources on a project that won’t attract users and ROI. So, carefully consider what type of social media app will find its place with today’s users. Here’s a quick rundown of the types of apps you can create moving forward:
- Bookmarking Sites – Users that enjoy consuming or curating online content make use of bookmarking sites regularly. These include services such as Flipboard, Mix, and Pinterest.
- Discussion Forums – The granddaddy of social media platforms that have a proven track record for attracting enthusiastic users. A few key examples include Digg, Quora, and Reddit.
- Media Sharing Platforms – Content creators, graphic designers, and photographers love to share their work online using media sharing platforms. A few popular services that can handle image and video sharing include Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
- Microblogging Services – Bloggers and content creators enjoy the convenience of sharing their thoughts and content on these platforms. Popular services include Medium, Tumblr, and Twitter.
- Relationship Networks – These are among the most popular social media platforms due to their high user engagement. Users love to socialize and connect with others on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tinder.
- Review Sites – Users have become accustomed to rating businesses, products, or travel destinations and leaving comments about their experiences. Review sites that facilitate this include Tripadvisor, Trustpilot, and Yelp.
3. Understanding Your Target Audience
When developing and releasing an app, it’s crucial to understand your audience as intimately as possible. Thus, it’s always a good idea to have target audience templates and examples handy. These templates will detail your potential users’ age, gender, demographics, education, income, hobbies, and interests. By conducting a detailed target audience analysis, you’ll likely craft a social media app that hits the mark.
4. Plan Your App’s Workflow In Detail
Social media apps are complex, which means that you shouldn’t skimp on any of the details. Furthermore, you’re aiming at creating an app with user retention in mind, so plan carefully!
Start by sketching a basic outline of your app, and determine the number of screens and subsequent user interaction. Then, wireframe your app so that your development team can accurately visualize how it will look and feel on mobile devices. If necessary, develop a prototype so that all stakeholders will know how the app will be like when released. And these stakeholders can then request changes and tweaks to improve the app further.
Finally, finetune the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) of your app so that it complies with current standards. Also, consider your target audience and what type of UX/UI best fits their needs and expectations. If you’re targeting a younger audience, they’ll appreciate a bolder and more colorful design language. And an older audience will prefer a more utilitarian approach to your app’s design.
5. Consider All The Functionality That Your App Requires
Earlier, we mentioned that social media apps are complex, and we weren’t kidding about this matter. To make your app palatable to today’s users, you’ll need to implement several essential features. And while it may not be necessary to integrate all these features listed below, you’ll probably need most of them:
- App Management – Establishing a web portal for managing users and data via the app.
- Customization – Allow users the ability to customize backgrounds, colors, profile pictures, and nicknames to improve user retention.
- Data Sources Integration – Implementing data from existing and multiple sources.
- Data Types – May include audio, video, and photo content, including data, lists, and text.
- Geolocation – Acquire location data based on a user’s device location by integrating Apple’s and Google’s geolocation APIs.
- In-App Communication – Allows a user to communicate with other users, comment on posts, and share content on social media.
- Network Building – Implementing an algorithm and search features that make it easy for users to connect with friends, family, and like-minded people.
- News Feed – Users can update their status and upload content on their news feed to share with others.
- Payment Systems – If your app has a payment component, you’ll need to integrate various payment APIs. These may include Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal, to name a few.
- Security – Enabling encryption to protect user data while complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- Social Media Integrations – Make it easy for users to login into your app using their preferred platforms and to share content.
- User Interaction – The various ways your app will communicate with the user: email, push notifications, or SMS.
- User Management – Initiating the basic registration process by requesting a user’s email or social media account.
6. Implementing Analytics To Monitor User Retention And Engagement
Ensure that you’ve implemented analytics in your app to monitor its performance and user engagement. You’ll want to keep track of how many active users you have compared to your overall downloads. Also, keep tabs on your user retention and churn rates, especially when rolling out new features and updates. And determine user engagement by analyzing all the actions they take during each session.
Creating a compelling social media app requires careful planning and extensive knowledge of the numerous platform-specific APIs and integrations. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you develop fantastic mobile apps and social experiences.