Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

How to make a social media app

how-to-make-a-social-media-app-article-eastern-peak-blog

Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Currently, 2.789 billion people out of 7.476 billion of the total population are active social media apps users. Furthermore, the penetration rate is steadily increasing: according to recent research, its annual growth rate is currently at 21%.

This means that there are still plenty of opportunities in the social media market, despite the presence of such undisputed industry leaders such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the latest sensation Snapchat.

Entering this competitive market is not an easy task. Let’s consider the following aspects of social media app development.

social-media-apps-icons-on-smartphone-screen

The basic elements of a social media app

All social media apps have something in common. Even if you have a concept that is absolutely 100% unique, the chances are you will still need some basic features to make your app work. Most often these elements are used as a foundation, with more advanced and outstanding capabilities implemented on top of it.

Here is our list of the must-have elements any social media app should have:

  • Integration with the existing social media
  • To start with, you should provide an easy and convenient way to access your product. In this case, registration with other social media accounts might speed up the process. Most of your users are already using Facebook, Twitter or Google+, and applying this feature will allow your users to sign up with your app in less than 2 seconds. The ability to import users’ data and contacts from other networks is also a good way to increase the number of your app users.

    instagram-app-login-screen-integration-with-facebook-in-social-media-app

  • Personal profile
  • Personal accounts are very important for every social media app: they help your users identify themselves and improve the credibility of the content they share. This might be a simple profile with a picture, username, and short bio, or it could contain more detailed information about the user, such as: interests, preferences, location, number of followers/friends and recent activity.

  • Connections
  • The ability to “friend” or “follow” other users is what makes your product a social media app. To become friends, the users typically need to approve this action, while following is usually a one-way process. Alternatively, the users can connect based on their interests, groups they belong to, or their location. Some apps even offer you the ability to add your friends from other connected networks.

  • Ability to share user-generated content
  • Probably the most important feature of any social media app is the opportunity to upload or create content, be it text, images, videos, audio, or all of the above. You can keep it simple, like Twitter or YikYak, allowing only a limited amount of text to be shared. On the other hand, you can go big and offer more capabilities, like photo filters, stickers, or even live streaming, for instance as in Periscope. A huge trend in social media (pioneered by Snapchat), are posts with a limited lifetime: they disappear after a specific amount of time.

    snapchat-is-a-social-media-app-with-a-content-sharing-featurehttps://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/2016-08-30-roman-drit... 250w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/2016-08-30-roman-drit... 768w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/2016-08-30-roman-drit... 700w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/2016-08-30-roman-drit... 120w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/2016-08-30-roman-drit... 300w" sizes="(max-width: 800px) 100vw, 800px" />

  • News feed
  • This is where the content can be found. News feed typically includes the updates from your connections or subscriptions, while there might be some selection of trending content from other users outside of your social media app.

    You can show the content in chronological order or use complex algorithms to customize the feed and arrange the news based on its importance to a specific user. For example, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are arranging their news feeds from the most to the least important. Some apps also offer personalized content suggestions, using machine learning algorithms to determine your preferences and interests.

    girl-using-social-media-apps-in-cafe-

  • Interaction between the users and content
  • To create engagement within your app, you need to allow your users to interact with the published content, i.e. like, comment, repost it, or reply to it. This helps create a community within your application and keeps your users engaged. Indeed, why share something, when you don’t even know if anyone has seen it?

    news-feed-with-likes-and-comments-in-social-media-app

  • Search + suggestions
  • By offering search capabilities, you allow your users to enlarge their networks and discover other content they might like. They can search other users by name, gender, age, location, interests, or join groups they didn’t know existed. Contextual search can help users find relevant content: in this case hashtags or a keyword search is probably the most useful feature. Pinterest is a nice example of an advanced search option: it has all content divided by topic, so you can go to Gifts or Art and browse all the images that are relevant to the topic. Moreover, you can use keywords to find something more specific.

  • Messaging
  • Some social media apps can do without this feature. However, chat gives a new level of interpersonal communication, especially in social media. This might be used as a room for confidential discussions, unlike comments that are visible to other users. Not everyone uses private messages on Twitter, however, Facebook chat has grown to such an extent that the company decided to launch it as a separate app, Messenger.

Read also: How to Create a Mobile App Specification

Besides the above-listed must-have features, it is important to include additional functionality to improve user engagement:

  • push notifications,
  • geotagging and check-ins,
  • elements of gamification (just like Swarm app).

Technology stack

As soon as you’ve finalized your app concept and functionality, you need to decide which technology stack to use. To build a mobile app, you will need to consider:

Mobile app

When considering the options for mobile app development, first of all you will need to decide which platform(s) you need to target: iOS or Android.

While building a cross-platform application might seem like a good idea, social media apps are not the best use case for this technology stack. Cross-platform apps tend to be less performant than native ones and they often have a poor UX.

Read also: Native vs cross-platform – How to choose

Many popular applications were initially launched on one platform and then ported to another (e.g. Instagram).

However, to make the right choice, you need to consider such aspects as localization, your target audience, market fragmentation and development complexity.

Read also: iOS vs. Android. Which platform should I build for first?

If you decide to go with iOS first, you will face yet another dilemma: which technology stack you should use? To make an informed decision, you first need to consider all the benefits of Swift vs Objective-C for iOS app development.

Backend

As for the backend, or server-side programming, the choice of technology stacks is even greater.

We typically recommend using Ruby on Rails or PHP for social media projects. Both of these tech stacks provide a number of useful tools, and gems/frameworks that can significantly speed up the development process, while still providing high performance, and reliability.

Additionally, multiple third party integration for authentication, sharing, payment processing, emails, SMS, and push notifications should be decided separately.

Database

Regardless of the backend technologies you use, your app’s database needs to be scalable and ready to process multiple queries at a time. We would recommend PostgreSQL – an open source database, designed specifically for high-volume environments, extensible and reliable.

Admin dashboard

The admin panel provides access to all the data your app can source: from the number of active users, to their activity and content they share, or the posts they interact with. Using third-party analytics tools, you can study users’ behavior and find out how they interact with your app. This might provide you with valuable insight into what your users really want, and with such, you can improve your app accordingly.

Additionally, the admin panel is a must-have tool for apps with user-generated content. It gives you control over your users and the content they share. If someone violates the app policies or posts abusive content then you can easily remove it altogether.

Read also: How to reduce app development costs

The process of social media app development

When building an app for such a saturated market, you should start by conducting competitive research. By analyzing the market trends, you can predict what is going to be “the next big hit” and capitalize on this knowledge before your competitors do.

Read also: Which cooperation model to choose?

In order to test your idea and verify your assumptions before you invest heavily into your product, you should build an MVP first. By implementing a limited set of features first, you will get feedback early in the process, which allows you to adapt your product better for the end-users’ requirements and needs.

Don’t forget to read about these 7 mistakes you should avoid when developing an MVP.

How to make a social media app MVP

Among the features that can make your MVP start successfully are user engagement and analytics tools. While your app’s core functionality is obviously a must-have, user engagement is often overlooked, or not prioritized. However, getting a user to install your app is not enough: over 80% of your users will churn sooner or later.

With that said, it is necessary for you to optimize your MVP for user retention in order to get enough data about user behavior and requirements; namely, smart onboarding, integration with the other social media platforms and social networks, gamification, user re-engagement with push notifications as well as emails.

Using mobile analytics, you can source real-time data from your app, including: the number of active users, their activity, preferences, and perform behavioral trends analysis. You can use third-party analytics tools (Google Analytics, Flurry or Localytics), to help you make sense of all that data. As a result, you will get actionable insights about what you users really want and will be able to further improve your product.

Read also: Mobile app design: from blueprint to masterpiece

While UX/UI design and development will depend specifically on the product, there is one element of a successful app development process – quality assurance. Due to a large number of various devices, screen resolutions and mobile OS versions, testing helps you optimize your application for the best compatibility with the most popular environments and devices. Besides functional testing, load testing should be used to verify that app performs equally well with 1 active user or 1,000,000. This is especially important for social media apps.

Develop a marketing strategy for a social media app

Even if you get all the parts of the app development right, it will be hard to make a new social media app popular without a good marketing campaign. How are the users supposed to find your app among billions of apps in the store? Thus, proper marketing is a must. Plan your campaign in advance, so that when you launch your product there is a certain audience that can test it and provide valuable feedback.

Learn more about app marketing strategies

Platforms like ProductHunt or PreApps allow you to prepare the ground for your app’s release. At the end of the day, the number of active users is the major definition of your app’s success and its future growth.

Have a great app concept in mind but don’t know where to start? Book a free consultation with our specialists.

Read also:

The post How to make a social media app appeared first on Eastern Peak.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Valeriia Timokhina

Valeriia Timokhina is a blog editor and IT manager at Eastern Peak, a top-ranked custom software development company. Founded in 1999, PEAK-System is a leading provider of hardware, software, and services for the mobile and industrial communication sector with emphasis on the field busses CAN and LIN.

Latest Stories
This session will provide an introduction to Cloud driven quality and transformation and highlight the key features that comprise it. A perspective on the cloud transformation lifecycle, transformation levers, and transformation framework will be shared. At Cognizant, we have developed a transformation strategy to enable the migration of business critical workloads to cloud environments. The strategy encompasses a set of transformation levers across the cloud transformation lifecycle to enhance ...
Your job is mostly boring. Many of the IT operations tasks you perform on a day-to-day basis are repetitive and dull. Utilizing automation can improve your work life, automating away the drudgery and embracing the passion for technology that got you started in the first place. In this presentation, I'll talk about what automation is, and how to approach implementing it in the context of IT Operations. Ned will discuss keys to success in the long term and include practical real-world examples. Ge...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
So the dumpster is on fire. Again. The site's down. Your boss's face is an ever-deepening purple. And you begin debating whether you should join the #incident channel or call an ambulance to deal with his impending stroke. Yes, we know this is a developer's fault. There's plenty of time for blame later. Postmortems have a macabre name because they were once intended to be Viking-like funerals for someone's job. But we're civilized now. Sort of. So we call them post-incident reviews. Fires are ne...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
Hackers took three days to identify and exploit a known vulnerability in Equifax’s web applications. I will share new data that reveals why three days (at most) is the new normal for DevSecOps teams to move new business /security requirements from design into production. This session aims to enlighten DevOps teams, security and development professionals by sharing results from the 4th annual State of the Software Supply Chain Report -- a blend of public and proprietary data with expert researc...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 12-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI and Machine Learning to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Nutanix has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO New York, which will take place November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Nutanix makes infrastructure invisible, elevating IT to focus on the applications and services that power their business. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform blends web-scale engineering and consumer-grade design to natively converge server, storage, virtualization and networking into a resilient, softwar...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
The digital transformation is real! To adapt, IT professionals need to transform their own skillset to become more multi-dimensional by gaining both depth and breadth of a wide variety of knowledge and competencies. Historically, while IT has been built on a foundation of specialty (or "I" shaped) silos, the DevOps principle of "shifting left" is opening up opportunities for developers, operational staff, security and others to grow their skills portfolio, advance their careers and become "T"-sh...
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app secu...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of computational needs for many industries. Their solutions provide benefits across many environments, such as datacenter deployment, HPC, workstations, storage networks and standalone server installations. ICC has been in business for over 23 years and their phenomenal range of clients include multinational corporations, universities, and small busines...
This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps, the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will result in an improved ability to design, develop, deploy and operate software and services faster.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...