HOW TO MAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA APP FOR YOUR COMMUNITY
Apr 05 2021
The industry of mobile app development for social media is continuously growing. For example, Instagram is visited by over 500 million people every day. And it’s never too late to come up to the market with a new exciting idea. Most people are always open to something new – just look at the enormous popularity of TikTok with 1.5 billion installations or Clubhouse that is currently #5 in the “Social Networking” category of Apple’s App Store and will be released on Android soon in 2021. These days, you can build a digital network for entertainment and communication (e.g., to post short videos and find like-minded people), for business (e.g., a real estate social network), for sharing opinions, etc. Do you want to create your own mobile app for social media? This article will provide you with essential information on the industry’s specifics and trends.
Table of contents
YOUR RESEARCH ON SOCIAL MEDIA APPS
Before making a plan for how you will make your app, it’s helpful to gather more information on different social media, the prominent trends, and users’ expectations. You should also discover what metrics are useful to assess the popularity and how to make money with an app.
Why Is a Social Media App Worth Creating?
“Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationship”
Indeed, social media are different from classical newspapers or TV channels. You need to create a community and actually engage with people, which gives you lots of challenges and even more benefits. 1. Interacting with your community directly. Once you create your own platform and a social media app, you establish the rules and communicate quickly and effectively, without any mediators. 2. Advanced user analytics. When you make a social media app, you can better understand your community, use smarter target strategies, and operate all social media marketing tools. 3. Built-in e-commerce options. With a customized social media app, you can easily monetize certain functions or add one-click purchases. 4. Safe spaces for creative and innovative ideas. Post and comment length, content types, functionality, or design conception – there are no limitations if you create and run a social media app by yourself. 5. Maximized reach and no distractions. If you make a bespoke app, you can operate social algorithms to show users more quality content based on their interests. There won’t be any distracting information (ads, news, memes) from widespread media, just you and your community.
Advantages of making an app for social networking
All of these will be the result of bespoke mobile app development for social media. You need to elaborate your business idea and find a team of experienced designers and developers. And first of all, choose the niche to create a social media app.
What Are the Types of Social Media Apps?
“Social media: forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)”
Mobile app development has a long history. The very first online social networking websites were launched decades ago, from GeoCities in 1994 to Classmates.com in 1995 and SixDegrees.com in 1997. These days, there are over 200 functioning and dozens of defunct social media websites all over the world. Many have mobile apps, web-based or native. Each of these platforms belongs to a specific niche, fulfills different audiences’ needs, and enables particular ways of social media marketing.
Why is it essential for you to find out various types of these apps? This information helps to understand each niche’s specifics and find the big competitors. The more you know about the domain you’re going to enter, the easier it becomes for you to notice all pros and cons in the existing apps. A thorough analysis will help you work out the plan to succeed in mobile app development.
|App’s Type||Why Special||Real Example|
|Social networks or Relationship networks||Connect people on a personal basis. Users share information about themselves and build personal brands.||Twitter
|Business networks||Focused on business-related or job-related interactions between professionals.|
|Media sharing networks||Users produce and share various media files like photos, videos, GIFs, etc.||Youtube
|Content curation networks or Bookmarking networks||Users discover, share, and save different content, from pictures to articles.||Pinterest
|Interest-based networks||Users find people with shared interests, hobbies, or experiences.||Goodreads
|Consumer review networks||People read and write reviews on businesses, products, services, or places.||Yelp
|Anonymous social networks||Aimed at the youth, allow them to interact anonymously by sharing content, asking and answering questions, etc.||Whisper
|Community forums and Discussion boards||Users ask and answer questions, share experiences and ideas.||Quora
|Blogging platforms||Users create blogs and publish content, search for other blogs, read and comment.||Medium
|Social gaming platforms and virtual worlds||Connect people via voice or text chats in a computer-simulated environment with avatars, storylines, and gaming tasks. May work within social networks or use independent platforms.||Happy Farm
|Audio social networks||Enable voice-only communication in real-time||Clubhouse
These are the main types of popular social media. Each has specific functionality and design worth studying closer if you want to create your own social media app.
How Do Social Media Work today?
“The first rule of social media is that everything changes all the time. What won’t change is the community’s desire to network”
It’s true, everything changes, and social media trends of 2019 may not work as effectively in 2022. Why is it vital to watch these tendencies? They show what users are interested in, and that allows you to stay up-to-date with their expectations when you create a social media app.
What becomes a game-changer in 2022: VR technologies – virtual universes are a fresh trend of 2022. Will they stay longer? More videos – short like TikToks and Instagram Stories or longer like YouTube content, easy to find and convenient to watch. More face filters – people enjoy this feature since 2019 and don't seem to stop. Ephemeral content – used by Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat, this content disappears from users’ feeds after some time (usually up to 24 hours), encouraging people to be more active on social apps. Gen Z – social media generally focuses on youth, and current research says that today’s most influential group are people born after 1998. Maximum interactivity – quizzes, games, AR and VR, 360-degree videos, and other innovative technologies to add more fun. Live streaming – all popular social media, from YouTube to Reddit, have implemented this feature. Voice-only content – people have more interest in it these days as they stay at home and work remotely.
The most prominent trends for 2020-2021
What earlier trends are still relevant: Chatbots and artificial intelligence technology – though these trends appeared in 2017, they remain in demand among social media apps users. Brands’ engagement with customers – people more often use social media as quickly working client support, while companies invest in reliable social media presence. Social commerce – Facebook, Instagram, and others offer multiple tools for businesses and allow people to buy goods and services directly via social media. Blogging on social media – people and brands publishing engaging content and share it with as many users as possible.
Once you have chosen a niche for your social media app, it will be easier to select its features and marketing strategies.
How to Promote a Social Media App?
“Why use social media? Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell”
The most engaging part of social media is that they tell stories. It makes them perfect marketing tools for any project, as long as you gathered a vast community. How do you attract lots of people to your app? This question is worth asking before you start mobile app development and even before you decide on a business model and functionality.
|Marketing channels||How to use|
|Your website||Put creative banners on your website encouraging users to check out a native app and install it from a store.|
|Content marketing||Make posts in your blog, infographics, downloadable PDFs, E-books, videos, etc. This content should be interesting for your customers and contain call-to-actions to try an app.|
|Your social media||Promote a new app with your followers or email list. Use creative text content and quality illustrations to encourage potential users.|
|Referral links||Message your app’s active users and encourage them to invite more people in exchange for something exciting.|
|Influencers in your niche||Find some influencers in your niche, contact them and see what kind of partnership you can have so that an influencer promotes your app to their followers.|
|Your PR channels||If you know some journalists or bloggers, reach out to them. Perhaps their audience will be interested in a piece about your app, with a download link.|
|Advertising campaign||Use tools like Google ads or some other social networks to attract targeted audiences to joining your community via an app.|
You can use two or more of these channels to let people know about your app and encourage them to download it.
How Do You Monetize an App?
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is”
It’s vital to plan not only how to build a social media app but also how to return your investments. There are five major ways to make money with an app. In-app purchases in the form of online courses, E-books, videos, music, podcasts, etc. Users will pay to unlock digital products they’re interested in. Paid subscriptions with different tiers offering additional and more valuable content for your community. For example, you make a real estate social network and allow users to see property owners’ contact information after purchasing a paid subscription. App-based subscribing work effortless with Apple and Google payment systems. Physical merchandises for your community, in the form of clothes or accessories with slogans, printed books, postcards, artworks, etc. It’s worth having a Shopify integration or a fully-fledged online store. Sponsored content to promote other companies within your community. We advise you to be transparent about sponsorship and choose ethical businesses. Events and tickets with an integration to a ticketing platform. You can promote potentially interesting events within your social app’s users and get a percentage from ticket selling.
Here are some recent stats showing that social media is one of the most effective tools for introducing specific audiences to brands, services, and products.
These are the most effective ways to introduce brands and products on social media
- Research products or brands on social media: 43% globally and around 50% of youth
- Discover brands or products through recommendations from influencers: over 25%
- Find new product via social media ads: about 30%
- Likely to purchase a product when seeing a “Buy” button: around 15%
- Likely to buy a product when seeing lots of likes and positive comments: over 25%
Consider these stats before you discuss mobile app development with specialists. It may help you choose the more appropriate design and functionality. Once you created a social media app and gathered a community, there are plenty of money-making opportunities to choose from.
What Metrics Can You Use?
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends”
Before you create a social media app, it’s useful to think about different ways to measure the impact. Here are some key metrics for a social media app.
This is how you measure your success
- CPI (Cost Per Install) shows how many times your app has been installed during an advertising campaign;
- CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) shows how much was spent to engage a user to download your app;
- User activation shows how many active users your app have in comparison to the total number of those who downloaded it;
- User retention shows the number of people using your app compared to those who have stopped or deleted it;
- User engagement shows in-app statistics on how many actions users take, how much time they spend on your app and how often they open it.
Keeping track of these numbers will help you assess your app’s progress and plan further improvements or extensions.
“Social networks aren’t about websites. They’re about experiences”
People crave exciting experiences in a digital world, especially now, during quarantines and lockdowns in many countries. New social media apps can give users more opportunities to keep in touch with friends and make business connections remotely. If you think your idea has the potential to entertain many people and even make their lives better, go for it! Do some research, create an app’s prototype, hire developers, and release an MVP to see how people react to this first version. Exceed Team can help you with that.
Most popular questions
What types of social media apps are there?
As of today, there are ten types:
- Social networks
- Business networks
- Media sharing networks
- Interest-based networks
- Consumer review networks
- Anonymous social networks
- Community forums
- Blogging platforms
- Social gaming platforms
- Audio social networks
What are the most important metrics to assess if a social media app brings value?
- CPI or Cost Per Install
- CAC or Customer Acquisition Cost
- User activation
- User retention
- User engagement
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