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7 Easy Steps to Building a Social Networking App June 7, 2017

Can we just take a minute and review the social media app market? Yeah, we are in love with this era of total online exposure and ability to inspire hundreds of people just with a simple post on our Facebook page or tweet on Twitter.

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So many different social networks, for anyone’s taste and preferences… Why should you forgo the dream of your life to become rich and famous? Keep up with time and don’t be scared to try!

What are the basics when your desire is to create a social network app? Well, after you shaped the concept and decided what type of the product you want and who’s your future target audience, it’s time start the development process. It could be fun and exciting, just stay open-mind and ready for challenges!

Key Pillars of the Custom Social media Application Development

1. Mobile Platform & App Making Approach – Think in advance

First and the road defining step is to choose a platform for which you’re gonna build a network app because your would-be profit depends on it. So, what are your options?

  • iOS – for Apple devices
  • Android – for smartphones and tablets

Your biggest concern is that the iOS is a better way to win the USA and Oceania market. And the second one is good when you plan to design an application for European customers (and the rest of the world).

Alternatives like Windows and Blackberry platforms could also be attractive but no so attractive when it comes to target audience numbers and revenue statistics. As the experience shows, startups often have very limited budgets, so you need to prepare a strong strategy.

The best choice would be beginning with one major platform, then, if success was achieved, you can expand the playground and evolve the app to a multi-platform product. The same goes for the Development Approaches – native and hybrid. Learn more about those before you proceed with the derivation process.

2. Messaging Protocols & Server Backend

Here you have to be wise and careful to avoid unpleasant failures in the future because the choice of  messaging protocol highly influences the functionality and UI of your creation. Keep in mind that protocols are also divided into categories – the ones that need server backend support and those that perform via the peer-to-peer connections (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth).

And third-party integrations such as REST APIs, along with the offline backup support, require time and money. But if you have thousands and millions of users at a time it’s not even up for a discussion whether you need a powerful backend or not.

Sure, my friend, and the service you choose should meet the app performance requirements – data storing and processing, security info etc. And while you’re dealing with this matter, get on with the selection of notification methods (Google Cloud, Azur, Pushwoosh and many other options).

3. Database Management System

This stage means you have to define who will play a part of the app’s heart, which database will most effectively serve your purpose and product’s complexity. You should check out these commonly used DBs:

– MySQL

– PostgresSQL

– NoSQL (MongoDB)

4. Security

When you plan to make a social networking app, it means you build a castle with super secure walls around it. Total user’s data protection, guards on the private chats and some public conversations, no one should be able to get past the database encryption and your obfuscation technique. The personal information of your customers is what matters the most for businessman, therefore, make sure you studied all the current mobile security testing methods.

5. Basic Features

This is just an approximate quick list, you should consider adding some truly unique functions to impress your users and make them stay with a new application.

  • Registration (Logging in) & Customized Profiles
  • Localization (Multi-Language Support)
  • Friends (Contacts) & Content (Numerous popular formats) Search Filters
  • Social Integration with other media platforms
  • Different encrypted communicate ways and various content sharing options
  • User’s Self-Expression & Reposts & Likes and Comments
  • Groups & Events & Following
  • Interactive news & Content feed with recommendations
  • Geolocation & Geofilters & Location-based contacts
  • E-commerce Payment System (in case of the app monetization)
  • Multi-device synchronization
  • Push notifications (emails, in-app, SMS)

6. Admin Panel & Analytics tools

Distant content management and advanced admin panel are valuable for a comfy and respected social application. You have to be able to control which content is inappropriate and what’s going on within the user base, which means you should fully support the app’s clients in any way possible. Constant connection with customers is crucial when the functionality is being questioned or there are problems with a payment system.

Moreover, an admin panel should also have integrated powerful analytics tools to study your users’ behavior and gain the knowledge of what they do and don’t like about the app. Thankfully to such relevant statistics, you’ll know in which direction to proceed in order to improve the app’s performance.

And to understand that gathered data, you must be familiar with the Quantitative Metrics of your social networking app – the wheels of business analysis. They’ll show the level of users’ engagement, your financial achievements, and marketing progress. There are a variety of those metrics, but some of them are essential for this development industry:

  • Cost Per Install (CPI)
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • User Activation
  • User Retention and User engagement
  • Churn rate and Burn rate

 7. UI/UX Design

Cast a spell on your target audience by developing a marvelous easy-to-understand user interface and delivering a proper user experience. If you want to success and steal the show from other competitors, you shall beat people’s expectation creating something that would be plain and simple yet catchy and memorable.

For these purposes you have to complete several stages:

  • Sketching – good old-school paper outlining of project’s logic, looks of mobile screens and their interaction between each other.
  • Wireframing – and here is where paper sketches are being turned into a digital form of design visualization. You can get the actual understanding of how the application will be experienced by users by transforming your idea with the help of free online tools.
  • Prototype & MVP – these two combined makes it all worth it, as they say. Here will be a result of your efforts, the actual working model of the app, a minimum viable product that will provide you with a deeper understanding of the product’s reliability and needed changes in order to improve and test it among real beta-users. There are many digital tools for online prototyping also, some are free or part-free, some has a justifiable price.

Such approach helps to reduce the expenses on constant upgrades when they aren’t necessary or even could show if your app hasn’t that amount of value for clients as you might think. Then, when the product has been thoroughly tested and approved, comes Launching & Marketing stage which could be even more exciting than the development process itself. But, it’s a story for another time… Now, let’s see one last stop here.

How much does it cost to build a social media app?

The consultant from TecSynt indicates that there is no such thing as a strictly defined price of a mobile app because it always depends on your project complexity and features desired for implementation. Not to mention, quality assurance and marketing campaign expenses. And, if you seek the services of professional mobile app development company or want to hire in-house freelancers, you have to check their location and hourly rates to calculate the approximate cost based on the man-hours they gonna spend working on your code.

Based on the available information about other famous social networking applications, I could say that… A simple product will end up for you between $75.000-$150.000, as for the more sophisticated one, that would be close to $200.000 – $500.000.

Conclusion

As you see, it’s not an easy task to create a social network app, but a great idea for business course. The market niche has promising perspectives and is rapidly evolving with each year. So it’s about time you take your place among successful entrepreneurs with your new and brave idea. But to accomplish the dream gather around you a skilled and qualified team of people who are gonna share your ambitions!

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