Today only the lazy don’t pay proper attention to actual social trends to support one’s business. One of such means is building a social network application that would serve your company right. This is a great mechanism that facilitates interaction with existing clients, broadening client base and exploring and satisfying true needs of your target audience. Although it may seem that all potential of social networks has already been explored, a great number of social networking apps being created over recent years testifies to the opposite. So, in this article, we want to talk about social media app development and the difficulties that may be encountered within such projects.
How to make a social networking app?
Social media application development implies a three-level architecture that consists of backend, database and mobile client. The client part contains the key features that characterize a mobile application as a social network: profiles, connections and feeds.
The most part of social network apps are profile-oriented. From technical point of view, it means that the core of social networks app development is constituted of personal information of application’s members. The simplest way to create a user profile is to associate the application with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account already utilized by the user. Another option for users is to provide their email and password for signing up, however, some people may be reluctant to opt for this. It’s clear that profiles are something that is used by people to individualize their pages and express themselves, so an app should have personalization tools, like processing and laying effects on the photos; choosing background colors and wallpapers; custom and animated personal space where interests and preferences are indicated, etc. Social media application development is in some ways different from other app categories.
To create a social network app that will elicit the interest of users, it is worth remembering that not every single social app is profile-centric. Some of them are fueled by user-generated content. It means that people are connected by means of sharing and viewing the content. For instance, YouTube users upload, watch and comment videos; Flickr and Pinterest are focused in uploading photos and pictures, you name it.
Also, people get connected by means of:
• Groups – common values and interests;
• Events – when it’s time to meet in real life;
• Search – optimal way to discover something new;
• Recommendations – to widen one’s horizons;
• Messaging – direct communication.
In order to stir up interest to social media app services, the one needs to contain a feed, which may consist of user-generated posts and stories, audio and video files, photos, pictures etc., uploaded by users or curated by administrators.
All abovementioned features serve for users’ self-expression and self-esteem boost. That’s why it’s important to build a social network app that will provide tools that help to make user-generated content look unique, simplify the course of content sharing and ability to target peculiar audiences.
What do people want to see in a social media app?
• Possibility to quote other people’s posts, make comments and like posts.
• To attach files etc.
• Posting updates and attaching photos, videos and other media files.
• Allow to use HTML to utilize different colors and fonts of their posts.
• Ability to restrict comments depending on a profile type or status.
• Ability to follow other people and be followed.
• Create and manage events, with possibility to integrate them with a calendar and giving both administrators and users rights to invite people to events.
• Possibility to create public and private events, including recurring ones. The latter option is important for communities that hold events and meetings on a regular basis.
• Map integration. Some platforms allow spotting the event on a map service like Google Maps, which helps alleged participants easier find the venue.
• Facilities to create smaller groups within a large community, providing group administrators with the ability to modify the features of their groups.
• Provide enough storage and bandwidth for transferring various types of files.
• To allow admins to set restrictions as for size and type of uploaded files.
• Tools for organization of uploaded files and integrated media players.
• Offer real time communication facility.
• Provide functionality to express opinions and vote regarding specific subject.
• Usage of hashtags for organization and classification of related posts.
• Push and email notifications for staying tuned and better control.
• In order to obtain tangible results from social media activity, it is important to have metrics mechanisms enabled, like clicks rates, likes, retweets etc. Google Analytics from Facebook or Chartbeat from Twitter provide good insight of content’s work.
Read also: Mobile App Analytics Tools
Some promising players of a social space – 2016
Social media app developers and marketers prophesize that in 2016 there would be several cross platform social media solutions that would be rapidly conquering the market, and maybe they would be able to compete such mastodons like Instagram or Pinterest:
• Peach – new mobile application-based social network from co-founder of Vine. Sweet design, traditional feed and ‘magic words’ (they allow users to access frequently used functions like typing “g” letter to send GIF picture, “c” calls calendar etc.) make this app a palatable one.
• Yik Yak. This social media app is also available for iOS and Android and it allows its users anonymously create and view threads, which are located in 5-mile radius, as well as to vote up and down for them.
• Hyper. This free photo-sharing app operates with hashtags and geotags and helps nearby located people with common interests find some new things. It includes voting mechanism that allows users to express their opinions on this or that phenomenon.
Read also: how to make an app like instagram
How can social media presence be of help for my business?
Developing a social media app pursues various aims, which include attracting of new customers and entertaining existing ones, data collection, app monetization, increasing brand awareness, creating exciting user experience, holding promo actions and giveaways, organizing contests.
To bet these profits, one should be aware of some core principles of good social media application design, which provide excellent user experience and keep your customers loyal:
• Down-the-line user experience and interface. An app should have attractive look and be easy-to-use.
• Business intelligence. You should provide integration of your app with strong and reliable external data sources. This will reduce costs for coding as a bonus.
• Engage your customers: encourage them to give frequent and real-time feedbacks, help them finding good deals and offer personalized offers, provide your customers with useful browsing tools to search through your goods catalogue from their mobile devices.
Read also: How Retail Business Can Use Mobile Apps?
How to monetize your social media presence?
1. The first, and the most obvious way to make money on your social media app is to allow companies to post advertisements on your site. This is a time proven strategy that works on popular sources.
2. Another path is to implement a membership fee for users. Although this is not a popular tactic, some social networks use it effectively (for instance, online dating sites).
3. If you have your own products, promote them on your social app site. However, do not limit yourself with egocentric trends, but also sign up with some affiliate network (like Affiliate Window or Avantlink) to post links if your content is relevant to your affiliate.
4. Organize in-app purchases. For example, if your app implies some games, make some power ups or coins not free.
5. Know your users and your market, concentrate on user growth, constantly test the waters to be fully aware of status quo on your market.
6. Build brand awareness, engage your audience and offer special promotions to generate traffic, boost user activity and create prospects for future.
Social media app development cost depends on various things – specific functional services you choose to develop, design refining, and, of course, a team of specialists that would process your request. Knowledge of API of large social networks and development platform is a prerequisite of successful social media app building. We fully understand it, and being a social media app development company, are glad to share these tips with the ones who is interested in outlining their social media presence. And we, in our turn, are create a social media app, that would be well-optimized, feature-rich, useful and engaging. We are not saying that the steps in the social app development described above – is a complete guide to action, it’s just our vision of the issue. Therefore, if you have any questions about how to make a social media app – feel free to contact us and we will answer all your questions.