Currently, 72 percent of the population uses some kind of social media platform.
Are you hoping to win over some members of this group? Do you want to create a unique social media app that does more than any other options on the market?
If you’re interested in creating a social media app but aren’t sure how to get started, keep reading. Outlined below are the steps you need to take to plan, develop, and launch a successful app.
Get to Know Your Audience
If you want to create a social media app that people will want to download and use regularly, you first need to think about your audience.
Who is your target demographic? Who are you trying to serve with your social media app?
Some people make the mistake of being too general when it comes to identifying their target audience. They might even go so far as to say that they want “everyone” to use their app.
Why Shouldn’t You Market to Everyone?
Eventually, yes, you can expand your reach and bring more people into the fold. In general, though, it’s better to start by developing your app with a very specific group of people in mind.
For example, Facebook started as a social media app for college students. Obviously, it’s come a long way since then, but in the beginning, it was designed for a smaller audience.
Who, specifically, is in your target audience? Do you want to create a social media app for stay-at-home moms? Twenty-somethings who have moved to a new city and need to make friends?
By narrowing down your audience, you can make sure you’re creating an app that is likely to appeal to them. If you start with something that’s too broad or vague, you’ll end up not appealing to anyone at all.
Choose the Right Type of App
Once you know who you’re trying to reach with your social media app, start thinking about how you can design your app so that it serves them and addresses a particular pain point that they’re struggling with. Then, consider which type of app is most likely to help them when it comes to solving that issue.
The following are some of the most popular types of social media apps you might want to create:
When most people think of social media apps, they think of network-building apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
These types of apps help users to build and strengthen relationships between friends, family members, coworkers, and industry professionals. They’re designed to facilitate conversations, share information, and keep everyone in the loop.
Image and Video Sharing Apps
Social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok are all meant to help people share content (videos, images, etc.) with their followers.
Conversations and discussions do still happen on these platforms, similar to network-building apps like Facebook. However, their main purpose is media sharing and visual content creation.
Content Curation Apps
Speaking of content creation, a similar type of app that you might want to consider is a content curation app. Content curation allows users to find and store information from the web so that everything they want to reference is in one dedicated location.
Examples of content curation apps include Pinterest, We Heart It, and Flipboard. These apps include some messaging and content sharing components, but they’re primarily designed to collect images and information for future reference.
Community Discussion Apps
Apps like Reddit and Quora are designed to facilitate deep community discussion.
These platforms help to connect like-minded people from all over the world, and they host discussions about a wide range of topics. They also allow for a sense of anonymity, which can make it easier for people to open up and share their views without fear of judgment.
Review and Testimonial Apps
Most people don’t consider apps like Yelp or TripAdvisor to be social media apps. There is a social component to review and testimonial platforms, though, and they provide opportunities for users to learn from other consumers with similar interests.
Choose the Right Features
Once you know what kind of app you want to create, your next job is to start brainstorming a list of features you want it to include.
It doesn’t matter if you want to develop a network-building app or a testimonial app. Regardless of the type of app you’re making, there are some basic features that pretty much every social media platform must have, including the following:
Every social media app must allow users a chance to create their own profiles.
This profile should include basic information like the person’s name/username and their photo/avatar. You may also want to include space for additional details, such as their website or a brief bio.
Next, users need to have the ability to publish posts or share content. Whether they’re sharing news, pictures, or just their general thoughts on a specific topic, it should be easy for them to do this.
The best social media apps use push notifications to let people know when they’ve received comments on their posts, have been tagged in other people’s posts, etc. These notifications encourage users to check the app regularly and continue using it.
A search bar helps users to find groups, topics, or people that interest them. It also makes the app more user-friendly.
It should be easy for users to find “friends” or follow people while using your app. Even if people have to send requests before they can connect with certain individuals, it should still be easy for them to do this.
The news feed is the central hub for your social media app. It makes it easy for users to see what’s going on with their friends, family, or colleagues.
Chat or Messaging
Your social media app should include some kind of private messaging system. At a minimum, it’s best if users can chat back and forth privately, without other users knowing what’s going on. It’s even better if the app features voice or video calling options, too.
Groups and Subgroups
Most social media apps include the ability to establish groups and subgroups. For example, Facebook allows you to create groups for people who share an interest in a specific hobby, want to learn about a specific topic, etc.
Consider including this feature in your app so that you can help people foster deeper connections.
Moderation tools make it harder for people to use your social media app for evil instead of good. Moderation tools help you to ban certain types of comments or language, for example, so that people aren’t being harmed or harassed while using the app.
These days, people love to go live. Lots of social media apps include the option to live stream videos and connect with other users in real-time.
Good social media apps are customizable. Users should be able to tailor their profiles, newsfeeds, and notifications to fit their needs and preferences.
A secure social media app is a good social media app. Implement processes like two-step authorization to keep users’ personal information locked down and prevent data breaches.
Finally, your social media app should include analytics and easy access to user data. This helps you get a sense of who’s using your app, where they’re located, and the types of devices they’re using.
You can also provide analytics access to your users so they can monitor who’s engaging with their posts. That way, they can tailor their content to better fit their own audience’s needs.
Consider Advanced Features
For most social media apps, the features listed above are non-negotiable. If people can’t create and customize a profile for the app, for example, or trust that it offers good security, they’re not going to want to use it.
Beyond these essential features, there are also some more advanced features that you might want to consider including. These features aren’t necessary, of course. However, they can distinguish your app from other social media platforms and help you to attract your target audience.
Here are some examples:
Augmented reality creates a more interactive experience for social media app users. One of the most common examples of augmented reality in the social media app world is face filters.
If your app is very visual and includes a lot of picture or video-sharing, you may want to include face filters and other augmented reality features to boost engagement and keep people coming back for more.
Chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence (or AI) and can predict and respond to user questions and requests.
Chatbots help you to level up your social media app’s customer service options. They also ensure that users always have access to basic information (such as tips on how to navigate the app) whenever they need it.
Ephemeral content is social media content that disappears after a certain amount of time (usually 24 hours). An example of this is Instagram Stories.
If you want to give your social media app users more opportunities to share content beyond simply posting pictures or text to their feed, the option to add ephemeral content is a good feature to offer.
Assess Your Finances
It costs money to build a social media app (or any app, for that matter). Most high-quality app development services start at around $20K.
Make sure you have a plan in place for how you’re going to pay for our app. Consider, too, the fact that adding advanced features will also increase the development costs.
Some app developers may offer to help you create your social media app for a lot less than the $20K mentioned above. Keep in mind, though, that you get what you pay for.
If you opt for a cheaper app developer, you might spend less upfront, but there’s also a good chance that you’re not going to get the kind of finished product you’d originally envisioned.
Remember, too, that a cheaply made app may have more problems in the future, from usability issues to security breaches.
These challenges aren’t just nuisances for you and the people using your app. They can also be expensive to fix.
You might end up spending more going for a cheap developer initially than you would have if you have invested in an experienced professional from the beginning.
Identify a Money-Making Strategy
In addition to thinking about how you’re going to pay for the app, you also need to consider how you’re going to make money from it. There are lots of ways that you can make your app profitable, including the following:
Subscription models charge app users a monthly fee in exchange for access to the app.
Subscriptions help you to generate monthly income and experience some consistency when it comes to app revenue. As a bonus, the Google Play and Apple App Stores also make it very easy for people to subscribe and unsubscribe.
A freemium model provides app users with access to a free version of your app and an upgraded version that they can pay to use. A freemium model is a popular approach that allows people to test out the app and see whether or not they like it before they commit to the paid version.
Some social media apps include in-app purchase options. These purchases may provide people with access to different features or digital products, for example, that can enhance their experience while using the app.
Ads and Sponsored Content
Ads and sponsored content are also good options for generating revenue without having to charge your social media app users any additional fees.
Some users find ads annoying, but many people are willing to put up with them in exchange for a free product. For those who complain about ads, you may want to offer an upgraded, ad-free tier that they can access for a fee.
Contact an App Developer
Once you’ve figured out who your target audience is, what features you want your app to include, and how you’re going to make money from it, your next job is to contact an app developer.
Do your research to find an app developer who has experience creating social media apps. Ask to look at their portfolio, too, to see what kinds of apps they’ve worked on in the past. This can help you decide if they’re a good fit for your app.
Make a list of developers you’d like to work with, then arrange a consultation with each one. That way, you can feel confident that you’re hiring the best person for the job, and you’ll have an easier time choosing someone who can work with your budget and offers the kind of services you need to make sure your app is a success.
Once you’ve chosen an app developer, they’ll get to work right away turning your vision into a reality.
Create a Marketing Plan
As your app is being developed, you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to market and promote it. Some app development agencies also offer marketing services to help you through this stage.
Either way, though, it’s up to you to use the information you’ve gathered about your audience to come up with a marketing plan that is most likely to attract them to your app.
Where are you going to promote the app? What social media platforms are you going to use? Will you design a landing page where people can sign up for your email list to be alerted when the app is launched?
Figure these things out now so you can spread the word about your app and feel confident that people are going to download and start using it as soon as it’s on the market.
Test and Assess Your App
Once your app is complete, you’ll be ready to launch it on the app store. This isn’t the end of the road, though.
You and your app developer(s) should be monitoring the app’s performance to see how many people are downloading it, how many people are using it, how many people are signing up for subscriptions, etc.
Use this period to assess the app and make plans for how you can improve it in the future.
Seek and Implement User Feedback
Finally, invite app users to leave reviews and provide feedback on the app. Then, take that information and use it to make the app better.
Remember, all feedback is good feedback, especially when you’re launching a brand new social media app. The more information you get from your users, the easier it’ll be to improve your product and attract more users in the future.
Create a Social Media App Today
There you have it — the steps you need to take to create a social media app. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to building a successful app.
Do you need more help creating your social media app? If so, we’re here for you at Alpha Bravo Development. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to get a quote!