Here is a set of tips & tricks on how to make a social media app, avoid numerous dangerous traps, and succeed with it.
1. Don’t make your users suffer while signing up.
Just imagine: you have downloaded a new app. You launch it and start the sign-up process. And here the horror begins, as you have to provide too much information. A simple registration takes plenty of your precious time, although it is just a social app, not a secret network for FBI agents. What will you do in this case? You may simply delete such an app, and, according to ITR, 15.6% of users do that exactly because of complicated signup procedures.
Fortunately, there are enough ways to increase the form field conversion rate. Neil Patel offers 7 of them for web, so that you can increase it by up to 672%. Most of them work for mobile as well.
Here is one more tip — connect your app to famous social networks, such as Facebook, Google+, etc. In this way, a user won’t even have to register, which will save their time.
2. Give users the content.
The news feed is an important part of any social media app, so it is essential to make sure that your users have a constant flow of content. Pictures, videos, news, and other kinds of content generated both by the app’s administrators and users themselves, will attract new users and help the existing ones to interact.
And here comes a good question — how to encourage users to create content? Instagram is often used for holding contests - users take a picture, share it, add hashtags, and get a prize if they win. For example, if your app is about traveling, propose your users to share their craziest travel pictures. People love contests, so they would be happy to take part, especially if you promise them something in return. It can be a special paid feature for the account, or something like this.
3. Let your users be creative.
Social apps are all about communication and self-expression, so let your users personalize their profiles. Facebook was launched in 2004, and in 2011 it added a new feature — users got a possibility to upload cover photos. According to the data provided by Facebook itself, the number of its monthly active users grew from 608 million (2010) to 955 million (2012). You can do something like this — diverse background themes and photo effects are the most obvious features which you can add. Animations are one more thing which can help users to make their profiles special.
However, not every social app requires building a detailed profile. In contrast to Facebook, Pinterest is about sharing pictures, and profiles of its users are very laconic. You won’t find any animations there. So, having some space for creativity is a cool thing, but only in case your app is profile-centric.
4. Ensure the messages are delivered in a blink of an eye.
Don’t make your users refresh the page in order to read new messages or notifications — go for instant messaging! Most social apps choose the same way, and in this case standing out won’t be a benefit. Follow the same instant messaging strategy, so that your users will experience no difficulties with receiving their messages. If you won’t do this, they will simply prefer another app.
5. Let users gather into groups.
If your app is something more than a simple messenger, allow your users to find people with similar interests. Groups are the most convenient tool in this case. For instance, Facebook users can not only look for already existing groups — they can create their own communities. This is one of many reasons why Facebook is so popular — it is very easy to make new friends there, follow the news about the specific topic, share opinions, find useful resources, create events, etc. Facebook groups allow to do these and many other things. Follow the same strategy to attract more users and keep them busy.
6. Make sure your users are absolutely safe.
Implementing mechanisms which will ensure the security of your users’ private information is a must. Messages, pictures, personal details… All these kinds of information must stay private. Otherwise, you won’t only lose your current users — you also won’t attract the new ones. Insecurity is a very serious issue, so users who have experienced any problems with it, will most likely leave a review about your app saying that it is not reliable. To avoid such an unpleasant situation, make sure that the information of your users ALWAYS remains private.
Actually, the security thing is so thorny that you can even use it as an outstanding feature of your application. For instance, Telegram is considered to be one of the most secure apps, and most users install it exactly because of its security. And here is a bit of statistics from Bloomberg and Telegram - in February 2016 Telegram had 100 million active users. In December 2017 this number reached 180 million. That’s an amazing progress for a messenger, isn’t it?
7. Provide the best customer support service.
You should care not only about how to make a social media app — a really hot application must have a reliable support team behind. And please, don’t make your users wait! Users’ messages must be replied as fast as possible. If you manage to provide a great support service, users will understand that they can trust you and your application. If you need proof, check stories about Zappos customer service — there are plenty of them on the Internet. These guys really care about their customers. Once one of their support service representatives had a conversation with a customer for more than 10 hours!
Adding an extensive FAQ section is also a great idea, but please, don’t think that it can replace the support team. No way! Users should have a possibility to talk to real people in case they face any problems. So, combine FAQ and support service, and users will see how caring you are.
8. Give your social app a really special and memorable name.
A name should be short, catchy, and meaningful at the same time. That’s a matter of psychology, and it works even with people’s names. People with short first names even tend to get higher salaries, just because long names sound too complicated. For instance, WhatsApp has a memorable name which perfectly reflects the app’s mission — to chat with family and friends, and to ask how they are doing. Besides, it is important to be creative. If you are creating an app for picture sharing, don’t call it “Photogram” or “Picturegram” unless you intend your app to be somehow similar or related to Instagram.
If you are running out of creativity, check the name generators. There are enough of them on the Internet, and they can provide you with a really cool idea. Another option is to “combine” the basic functions of your app in its name. Picdish is a great example in this case. Oh, and the last thing here! When you have at least several variants, don’t forget to google them. What if an app with such a name already exists? In this case, you will have to continue your brain storm.
9. Make your app look really cool.
No one likes ugly applications, so design matters! Obviously, the logo and color combination are the most important things to develop, but you should also make sure that everything works smoothly. There is no user in the world who would appreciate a lagging page!
Besides, even the coolest design needs an update from time to time. Users can get tired in case your app looks the same for several years, and its popularity will decrease. Don’t let this happen! Instagram updated its logo in 2016, and that was a good strategic move.
According to the information provided by Instagram and TechCrunch, the number of monthly active Instagram users was 400 million in September 2015, 600 million in December 2016, and 800 million in September 2017. We don’t say that the new logo was the main reason of this progress - we only say that design updates are essential for the success of your social app.
10. Do your best to attract celebrities.
You already know everything about your target audience, so now it is time to find out who they like. Lady Gaga? Emma Watson? Guys from Rammstein? In any case, it will work in the same way — if a celebrity downloads and starts using your app, their followers will do this too, just because they are followers and they want to know everything about their heroes.
For example, the Instagram account of Tom Hiddleston has over 4 million followers. Moreover, Instagram itself was promoted by Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter. He was using the app even before it was introduced to the entire world, so when it finally got to the stores, he tweeted about its release. We don’t know exactly how many followers Jack Dorsey had in 2010 when Instagram was launched, but currently its account is followed by more than 4 million users.
So, getting a celebrity is not the most important factor, but it can definitely boost your app’s popularity.
Ready, Steady, Go!
So, you have learned 10 lessons on how to make a social media app, so that now you are ready to make your own application successful. You have plenty of competitors, that’s true, but you can beat them. Just follow our recommendations and don’t hurry. Good luck to you, and remember - we are looking forward to your product hitting the market!