Fed up with major social media platforms? Create a social media app!
In recent years, the world seems to have fallen out of love with traditional social media networks. Everything from today’s troubled international political climate to privacy concerns are contributing to disenchantment with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
And it’s not just social media network users who are taking notice.
In late July, Facebook made history by losing a jaw-dropping $119 billion USD of market value in a single day. It was the largest one-day drop in value for any publicly traded company in history.
There’s a growing sense that major social media network companies like Facebook aren’t working anymore for active users and publishers alike. From data theft to users unwittingly taking part in massive social experiments, people have lost trust in traditional social networks.
The connection between publishers and their online communities in turn seems to have frayed. Creatives, brands and business leaders can still reliably reach audiences through traditional platforms, but not without paying for it.
For active users and publishers alike social networks have become a minefield of frustration and disillusion. But what other choice do they have?
Well, we’re here to tell you that there is an alternative. And you do have another choice. Modern technology and ever-evolving platform creation and development mean that it’s now possible to create your own social network app. Your own, customised social space dedicated entirely to you and your community.
How to create a social media app (Step-by-step)
Step 1 – Target audience and purpose
Decide what your social media network will be about. Just having an idea for an app is not enough to get you started. Make sure you have a full understanding of your market and the competition that already exists.
Social media app adoption is a tricky battlefield to navigate so it’s important to understand what features your potential users like and what your current competition lacks.
Once you have a clear idea of what your app will be about and the purpose of it, it’s time to start putting together your ideas. You’ll want to consider your options for user retention, as well as what strategies you’ll use to grow and engage your community.
If you plan to make money from your app, think carefully about your different monetization options.
Step 2 – Features and functions
When you first start planning your social media app, it’s easy to get lost in the many different functions and features you can implement. But initially, be sure to understand your limitations, budget and development skills to ensure that all the features are necessary at this early MVP stage.
Decide what you want your active users to do on your app. Some ideas to consider:
- Do you want your users to be able to post updates (whether that be photos, videos or text). If you do plan to use a news feed function, decide who will be able to post. Will status updates be for all users, or just some?
- Do you want to enable comment and like features to foster user engagement?
- What kind of content will you upload to the app? How will you help people find that content?
- Will you use push notifications to keep people engaged with your app and content?
- Will your app be a private community, or free for anyone to download and interact?
- What security measures will you take to ensure your app is as safe as possible for all users?
- Will you link your app to other social media platforms to increase your reach?
- Will your app give people the ability to create their own profile?
- Do you want to allow geolocation? Geolocation allows your app to locate where your users are. This could be a useful tool if you want to use user-generated content and allow people to tag where they are or where their content was sourced from.
Step 3 – Development & Design
When you’ve outlined the core features and functionality of your app, it’s time to start designing and developing it.
You’ll need to decide early on what technology stack you intend to use and whether you want your app available for Android users, Apple users, or both.
Android and Apple both use different technological stacks so you’ll need to look at your software development team to see where the strengths lie.
In many cases, it makes sense to develop the app for one platform first. Picking which platform largely depends on where your target audience hangs out. If you have data that says most of your audience use Android, then it makes sense to use an Android technological stack.
What’s more, if you don’t have a software development team that’s able to create an app on both platforms, you can always work with another one at a later date in order to migrate the content onto the other platform.
The development process can be both expensive and time-consuming, so make sure that your outlines and designs are as clear as possible for the developer to put them together.
Start by wireframing your app. This will help your entire team visualise how the app works and what pages link together.
Prototyping is the next step and involves creating a working model of the app. It helps everyone understand the app better and will put you in a much stronger position when it comes to the final development process.
Step 4 – Grow your community
Once you’ve developed your app, it’s time to get your users on there and start building your community.
Think about your initial marketing needs. How will you get users to download your app and what incentives will you employ to make sure they have the best time when using your app.
Step 5 – Analysis
There are a wide range of analytics tools that can help you assess the success of your app. You might look at how long people spend on your app, or how many times per week/month they use it.
Keeping track of engagement can help you make actionable changes for the future.
There’s never been a better time to create a social media app
Digital connections ushered in by the internet are here to stay. Things like fans shaping a band’s setlist before a big show. Or a politician keeping their constituents in the loop with constant updates on election day. These things are only possible through internet-driven technology. These opportunities for connection and information represent the main event or party that drives the social media engine.
The good news is that traditional social network platforms are no longer the only platforms throwing these parties. Create a social network app and you’ll be able to throw these parties on your own terms.
Customized social media network platforms give creatives, brands, politicians, and publishers of every stripe unfettered access to their communities. Now is the time to create a social media app because pure, uninhibited connection has never been more valued in our culture. Not only on the side of publishers but also within their communities.
Why reach is vital for community leaders
Remember life before the internet? If you were a musician, politician, author or business leader, reaching your community was no easy task. Getting the word out about something important wasn’t easy.
You needed a hefty chunk of change and a PR campaign to generate interest and reach your community through television, magazines and newspapers. You could reach your community through the mail, but that meant moving information out at a snail’s pace.
We all know the next part of the story. Shortly after the turn of the century, the internet ushered in a communications and media revolution. Email and social media messaging made prior forms of community outreach obsolete––but at a great cost.
Before the major social media network platforms were publicly traded, engaging communities was much easier to do. The odds of naturally reaching your community were pretty good. The fancy way of putting it is that organic interactions––this happens when a publisher’s followers see something from them appear on their feed naturally (unpaid)––happened at a far higher rate than they do now.
But making as much money as possible climbed higher on Facebook and Twitter’s list of priorities. And things changed. They discovered there was a profit to be made by charging publishers in exchange for reliable reach. This can be thought of as a tax. Want to make sure your audiences see what you have to share? That’ll cost you. Create a social media app and you won’t have to pay for reach.
Major social media network platforms have been able to cash in on community-publisher connections because they’re now absolutely crucial in modern culture. The audience-publisher relationship has been permanently altered by the internet. Social media drives all digital connections. From helping an author promote a new book to giving a brand the chance to communicate with its customer base directly.
No matter what ultimately happens to behemoths like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, these are the sorts of connections the world has become accustomed to. And they’re here to stay.
Reach is vital for virtually anyone with a digital community
Every human being with an internet connection now demands access to the publishers behind the things that interest them. These connections are more important than ever, but they’re being threatened by traditional social media platforms.
Trying to reach millennial communities? Create a social network app and you’ll have a much better than chance than if you leave it to the big guys. According to a recent article published by Recode Magazine, Facebook lost 2.8 million active users under the age of 25 in 2017. And Twitter’s not faring much better. The company’s growth amongst all age groups purportedly screeched to a halt a couple of years ago.
This is bad news for publishers aiming to reach communities exclusively through these platforms, but it also leaves a massive opportunity to boost user engagement through new and better platforms.
Enter personalized social media apps, stage left.
If you’re trying to connect with a digital community, it’s never been a better time to take things into your own hands by creating a social media app.
Why every community can benefit from their own social network app
Remember that party I was talking about earlier? Let’s say that Facebook and Twitter are the ones hosting the party. Yes, it’s technically your party, but it’s in their house and under their rules. Lights out by ten, no alcohol and guests are limited to 20.
Now, imagine throwing a party in your own house and on your own terms. You play by your own rules, everyone knows each other and there are no gatecrashers. That’s a much better party, right?
Creating your own social media app gives you the power to reach your community on your own terms. Here are six benefits you’ll notice right away:
1. Customised social network apps create more direct publisher-community relationships and interactions
Cutting out the middleman is an understatement here. When you design and own the digital platform you interact with your community on, there are no outside rules or limitations. Want to make sure everyone who follows sees what you have to say? Social media apps give you the ability to reach their communities quickly and directly.
2. Social media apps give publishers a greater understanding of who their followers are
Major social media platforms give publishers access to some of their communities’ data. But they only allow access to a fraction of the overall data that their communities generate. Big social platforms love that data because it keeps their advertisers coming back for smart audience targeting. And they’ll only give you access if you’re the highest bidder.
When you create a social media app, you’re in charge. You’re the one throwing the party so you should be able to know everything about your guests. In addition to the freedom of being able to interact with communities on your own terms, social media apps give you the power to fully access data about the people who are most interested in who you are and what you do.
3. Creating your own safe community space allows for more creativity and innovation
For creative publishers especially, connecting with fans, followers and subscribers can be somewhat limited by traditional social media platforms. But when you have the means to design and operate a social media app yourself, your creative vision and community reach don’t have to be compromised.
When you create a social media app, you’re in full control. No longer do you have to squish important sentiments down into a 280 character limit. And gone is the standard, one-size-fits-all approach to design and functionality. In your own, dedicated social space, you’ll have way more control over the design, look and feel. Your party, your rules.
4. Customized social media apps make digital monetization easy
Selling things to your community isn’t easy or even possible in many cases over social media platforms. But with customized social media apps, digital marketplace options can be built right into the platform. Things like one-click and express purchasing become possible.
That’s actually something we’re working on right now and plan to roll out in the next couple of months. Because we want our publishers to be able to earn money on their own terms. And to make it easy for audiences to buy the products they want.
5. By creating your own social media app, you solve the problem of reach
The downside of having so many people, brands and publishers on big social networks is that they’re all fighting for space and attention. And the networks have to use algorithms to figure out which content to show to who.
When you create your own social media app, there are no tricky algorithms to navigate or coveted news feed spaces to fight for. It’s just you and your audience. So you’ll reach all of them, every time you post.
6. You can ditch the distractions
By creating your own social media app, you’re creating your own space away from the noise and distraction of big social media. Big social networks are busy, noisy places with ad banners and a bunch of things dragging your audience in different directions. Often away from your content.
By creating your own social media app, you’ll free yourself and your content from all those distractions by building your own, dedicated, safe space for your community.
If you’re tired of letting Facebook, Twitter and Instagram host your social media party, then it’s time to create a social media app. There’s a sea change happening in cultures around the world when it comes to demanding real digital connection with no strings attached. Niche social media apps are the solution both digital publishers and communities are looking for.
And if you’re sitting there thinking “this is going to cost a fortune and take ages to complete”, think again. This sea change is bringing with it a host of alternative solutions that are quick, affordable and easy to start up––like ours at Disciple.
Our platform gives you the quickest, easiest and most affordable way to create a social media app. And, once we’ve got your logo and design preferences, we can send you your own social media network within 48 hours. Sound good? Let’s get started.