by Harnil Oza, CEO of Hyperlink Infosystem
Social media today is an integral part of the internet, and some may even argue it is the current climate of the internet as a whole. Think of the last time you used a mobile or PC device; chances are you were probably on one or more of the popular social media apps, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or YouTube.
The numbers are also there to support this theory, according to the Pew research center, social media use among Americans have risen from 5% in 2005 to 69% in 2016. The Digital in 2017 Global Overview research done by We Are Social, and Hootsuite also reveal that approximately 2.80 billion people now use social media frequently, this equals 37% of the worldwide population.
The numbers are staggering and aren’t likely to slow down anytime soon. Social media is taking over, and the only way for a business to remain relevant is to adapt to the climate. A strategic social media app developed for your business can give you an edge over the competition. For aspiring app developers, social media app development is only in its beginning stages and has a lot of room for improvements.
To begin, it is important to know the basics of what makes a successful social media app. What features are users looking for? What do the Big social media platforms have in common? While this answer is not entirely straightforward and can only be answered by individual experimenting, it still holds that the successful social media apps of today have some basic features that app developers need to adopt in building their social media apps.
1. Ease of Connectivity.
The entire point of social media is a way to bring internet users together. Before the invention of the concept, the internet was just one vast “planet” of sorts that everyone navigated alone. Of course, our innate human need for connection found this to be extremely uncomfortable and ever since have discovered new ways to create convenient and quick connectivity between users. Social media allows you to keep in touch with friends, family, and idols all over the world.
To build a successful social media app you will need to maintain or build upon this ease of connectivity. Your app would need seamless navigation features. There should be little or no stress in signing up, login in or socialize as it is. All the major social media apps require little effort from users to connect, and your app would have to follow suit to attract a fanbase.
2. Ability to Extensively Customize Individual Profiles.
One significant advancement experts have come to observe in social media is the gradual ability for users to create customized profiles in other to stand out.
Once upon a time, chat rooms allowed users only to use avatars in their image displays. Today, apps allow and expect you to use an image of yourself on their platforms. In addition, users now have the ability to upload image or videos of their personal lives, where they have been, what they ate, or who they are with. Of course, the latest in this trend is live videos; Facebook live, Instagram live, Snapchat and Twitter Periscope allow users to give live updates of what they are doing. It seems the more ability users have to customize their social media pages the happier they are.
To this effect, it may be work in your best interest to add filters, special fonts, or other groundbreaking effects to your app that will help users create unique and exciting profiles.
3. Ability to Expand User Following.
This is one of the primary reasons Instagram has experienced so much success with its app. Instagram gives you the easiest access to millions of people all over the world. As a result, it is easy to build a following on the platform, and anyone can gather thousands of fans in a relatively short period compared to other social media apps.
Mobile app developers should take a cue or two from Instagram and make it as simple as possible for users to find a following on their platform at least at the beginning. This will not only enhance the social image of the app but also encourage users to post content which keeps the app relevant.
4. Choosing the Right Platform.
Mobile app developers now have the option of launching their apps on several popular platforms such as Windows, iOS, Android, and more. It is not exactly advisable to launch on all platforms particularly in the beginning stages of your app development.
Choose a platform that supports your features best, especially one that affords the best interactive medium for your social media app. Also, choose a platform that supports various devices so as to enhance the performance of the app.
5. Easy Integration With Other Social Media Platforms.
For your social media app to quickly become popular it is important to integrate it with other top social apps like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Outbound sharing not only increases the popularity of your app, but also grow users organically, and drive adoption. In addition to this users should be able to directly invite their friends to use personal messaging channels like Email, Whatsapp, SMS, Facebook and more. Deferred deep linking should also be used to develop a personalized experience for each invitee.
6. Privacy and Security.
As much as social media revolves around interaction, without the proper level of privacy and security lines can be crossed. People can end up losing their personal information to other users with the wrong motives. As such, advanced levels of privacy and security must be provided to keep users trust. Any breach in this can completely destroy the reputation of a social media app, especially at its beginning stages. Therefore, using the best methods for maintaining security is highly essential.
7. Notification and News Feed.
Any successful social media app must have the ability to compress all of a user’s many activities into a single view. Allow easy discovery of other users contents, and must be powerful for retention. As for news feed, it is important for any social media app to generate a constant flow of relevant content including photos, videos, and articles to enhance discovery and interaction between users.
There are several other important features that a social media app must have. A great example is adequate user support and consistent updates. Updating the app will fix bugs and give users advanced features that will keep their interests long term. Users should also be able to post reviews, update their status, share various forms of content, leave comments, suggestions, and feedback, and like or dislike content.
Harnil Oza is a CEO of Hyperlink Infosystem, a mobile app development company having a team of best Indian app developers who delivers best mobile solutions mainly on Android and iOS platform. He regularly contributes his knowledge on the leading blogging sites.