How to Build a Social Media App 2019

From a business perspective, the niche of social media is one of the most promising markets. Of course, this segment is densely occupied with dominant players, but the rapid development of technology is continually opening up new opportunities for the realization of new ideas.

First social media site goes back to 1970s, back when the University of Illinois has developed the PLATO System, which had such features as online forums, bulletin boards, instant messaging, and many other features. 

Fast forward to 2019, we have thousands of social media platforms to choose from (with key leaders like Facebook or Twitter). According to App Annie Report Social Media Network 2019 Statistics, the social media statistics 2019 show the following leaders in various countries:

Canada US UK France Germany
WhatsApp Messenger Snapchat WhatsApp Messenger Snapchat WhatsApp Messenger
Snapchat Facebook Snapchat WhatsApp Messenger Snapchat
Instagram Instagram Instagram Instagram Instagram
Facebook Facebook Messenger Facebook Facebook Facebook
Facebook Messenger Pinterest Facebook Messenger Facebook Messenger Facebook Messenger

When creating social media, it is necessary to understand that having a mobile application is a prerequisite for the successful project. Also, when we talk about the costs, you should keep in mind that most of the time and cost are related to the backend (what happens in the shadows and makes the app/web project work).

Social networks app development can be provided from scratch or as an add-in to the existing web version. At the APP Solutions, we can work with either option, since we have experience with coming into the development process at any project lifecycle stage. 

Check out the infographic to find out how much does social media app development cost (basic functionality and one platform - Android or iOS):

How to Create a Social Media App

1. Connecting with existing social media networks

The fewer steps separate the user from the full-fledged interaction with an application, the better. They have already left their details in a ton of other social media apps; there is no need to force them to do it again. It is better to cut down the way to the new experience to one button “Connect with” or "Login using" one of the existing apps.

2. Opportunities for self-expression

Every user wants to feel unique and to show the world how creative, extraordinary and outside-the-box he is. Social media app should include some features that can help with this like customizing of profile pictures, backgrounds, nicknames, etc.

3. Creating a network

Any social media makes sense for the user only if there are his friends or interesting people. Therefore, social media app developers should work through the perfect algorithm of friends graph and the system that lets to invite friends with one click.

4. Arranging the newsfeed

Nearly every social network requires news feeds. Content is the king, and rightly so. Users generate an enormous amount of data themselves: check-ins, statuses, video, audio and photo uploads. Even more, they share someone else's content. It makes it possible to assert themselves and express their opinion (which is one of the benefits of social media - you can make yourself be heard.)

When we start to develop a social media app for Android and iOS, we take this into account and offer the arranging the news feed that best fits the specificity of social media app.

[Newsfeed of All Square Portfolio app project by The App Solutions]

5. Interaction with other services

To give your customers a better user experience interacting with the platform, you have to create a system for integrating existing services into your network. This way, users don't have to choose among numerous services because they are already interconnected. Speaking of third-party services, we are referring to:

  • Relationship networks

    Networks that are used to build communication between people. There are several categories: personal networking (Facebook),  professional networking (Linkedin), and dating services (Badoo or Tinder).

  • Media sharing networks

    This type of social media gives users the opportunity to exchange video and photo content. These include Flickr, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Snapchat. A distinctive feature is the scaling of content. For instance, some offer to publish short videos; others allow creating their own video channel.

  • Online reviews

    These social media are a huge base of data that helps users to gather all the necessary information to make purchasing decisions. For example, Yelp and Urbanspoon are based on geolocation and the ability to leave comments and recommendations on local business.

  • Discussion forums

    Communities, forums, Q&A-services are one of the first forms of social media. Modern representatives of this type include Quora, Reddit, and Digg. At the core mechanics of the interaction between users is the need for knowledge sharing.

  • Social publishing platforms

    For this type of social media services related to blogging and micro-blogging platforms where users create and publish text and media content. These include such popular platforms as Twitter, Medium, and Tumblr.

  • Bookmarking sites

    StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Flipboard are services where the user collects the content in the personal library, which can be followed by other members of the community. Typically, these social media study interests to offer more relevant content.

  • Interest-based networks

    The most attractive opportunity that provides social networks is to find like-minded people with similar interests. For example, Last.fm is a network for music lovers, Goodreads is for lovers of literature.

    It should also be considered the option of integrating your service in all existing networks so that publications of users in your social media app could be cross-posted to other social networks. It will bring a user`s friends to your social network.

6. Private communication

No matter how thrilling is the experience of public user interaction, there are always things that need to be discussed privately. Social networking apps should contain built-in services for secure private communication. This way, your users will not go to third-party resources and will spend more time in your application. Read our article to know why data privacy matters.

So you have an app idea, you have an understanding of the essentials of the app. What’s next? How to make a social media app? We proceed to the direct creation of applications.

The APP Solutions as a social media app development company sticks to the native app development. It allows us to get a higher performance of the new social app on Android and iOS, ensures a better UI/UX and gives full access to the built-in services of the mobile device.

Secondly, when working on such a large-scale project, our social media app developers offer to start with the MVP or minimum viable product. MVP is a product with a minimum core set of functionality that quickly lets to send the product to the market to test the idea. This approach helps to announce the product rapidly, while dramatically saving time and money. Once validation is finished, we start to finalize product: add features, and design, improve UI/UX. After this, the application is available in the market for another cycle of validation and testing.

MVP Scheme Stages of Development

Five Steps of Social Media Application Development

At the APP Solutions, our professional team we have adopted a workflow that makes the most sense from the technological and business points of view and we follow these critical phases in creating successful social media app. 

Creating a Strategy

At this stage, we thoroughly study the idea and the competitive field, analyze the requirements, draw up a portrait of the target audience and establish the key performance indicators that are to be achieved. All this helps to find a unique niche while developing a social media app for mobile.

Design an App's workflow

The design itself consists of several steps:

  • Sketching

    Very quick basic outlines of future application. They help assess the future logic of the project, the number of screens and the interaction between them.

  • Wireframing

    It is one of the most important steps of a design process as it helps the development team to visualize the skeletal structure of social media application. It gives a structure view of the app and the experience that will get the end user.

  • Prototyping

    A created prototype is a working model of a future application. It provides both for the customer and for developers the better understanding of the product. It is much easier to edit an idea and bring changes to it before the coding process is started.

  • Design App Skins

    At this stage, we convert wireframes in the social app design. We are carefully studying existing solutions, watching the latest trends and elaborating UI/UX to provide the best of possible solutions.

Development & Quality Assurance for iOS and for Android

Development and design process usually run together in the life cycle of a social media mobile app. When the prototyping of the app is done, we build its back-end by setting up servers, databases, APIs and working out perfect storage solutions.

We deliver the product that meets all technical requirements, user guidelines, and platform standards. Our iOS and Android engineers recommend our clients the native social media app development to get better performance of the application.

(You can calculate the development cost online using our cost calculator.)

At every stage of development, we provide manual and automatic testing of every part of the program and their correct interaction in the program. (By the way, testing is not simply done to make sure the developers didn't write any errors into the code, but to test the UX of the project.)

Publishing & Marketing the App

Our professional team also ensures the process of publishing, creates all promotional materials including screens, video guides and the effective description of the application. All this helps social apps for business to stand out at the Apple Store and Google Play Market.

Also, about marketing. When you come up with an idea for a mobile app or a web project, remember that the development costs are only a part of the project cost. You should also take into account basic marketing needs and costs. What way to choose in promoting your own app is up to you, but don't just start thinking about it AFTER your app is in the app store. 

Support

After the project is released to the application markets, we ensure our clients with all types of support and updates implementation.

Quantitative Metrics for Social Media Application

For business analysis of social media mobile app, we highly recommend sticking to the metrics that grant tracking engagement and help to make actionable solutions.

We can divide them into five groups: financial, user, acquisition, sales and marketing. Depending on the type and purpose of the application, there are always a unique number of instruments. But here are some essential ones:

Acquisition: CPI & CAC

Cost Per Install (CPI) is calculated by tracking installs of users that came from advertising. It is counted by dividing advertising costs by the number of application`s installs.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a sum of the total amount of all marketing efforts that are needed to attract a client. It is one of determining factors that show if the company has a viable business model. This indicator of business scaling possibilities.

User activation

Active users in comparison to downloads. Activation actions/parameters are customized for each app.

User Retention and Churn rate

User retention is measured as a proportion of users who returned to the app based on the date of their first visit. If the new update is released, it is crucial to check if retention has changed, because it helps to find out what is working and what is not in the new version.

Churn rate shows the number of customers who have stopped using the social media mobile app. The less it shows, the better.

User engagement

User engagement is a number of target actions that are taken in the app. Among them are Session Length and Interval.

The first one shows the time between the user entered the application and left it, the second demonstrates the time between two sessions.

Traction

It is quantitative evidence of the market demand for the product. In other words, it shows patterns of the month to month growth of users.

Burn rate

The amount of money the mobile app is consuming (burning) each month like server costs, marketing, staff, etc. It shows a number of the necessary resources at the disposal that is required to plan further growth and fundraising.

How to Make a Social Media App

Social media app development is no easy task. But we do believe that good ideas, our experience, and the strong professional team of social media makers are enough to create a successful project that would reach your business goals and bring truly loyal users.

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