Top 7 Social Features To Boost Your App’s Engagement
The demand for social app development has been constantly growing. You will scarcely find an industry or a business niche that hasn’t yet turned its eye on the opportunities provided by social media features and functions. Companies that operate in sports, recreation and healthcare appear to be most attracted by these opportunities. Previously, we used to get one request like that per ten, but now our every second mobile app development client sees social elements as must-have app features -- and it makes sense.
Today, with digital dominating our lives, even a child can outline basic elements and functions of social media, such as user profile, search bar, newsfeed, and feedback given with likes, emojis, shares, and comments. However, only a small number of such have yet found their way to the expected mobile app features list.
If your product idea is a social media app, you might use this article as an advanced checklist. Should your mobile app idea not be built around social media features, we still recommend taking a look to see how you can gain more user engagement by introducing such.
Integration with popular social media and instant messengers
Integration with popular social media and instant messengers is among the must-have features in a mobile app. Introducing it makes interacting with your application easy, further integrating it in your users’ daily routine. This includes the following app functions:
- Signing in via user profile on one of popular social networks
- Sharing content across popular social platforms
- Inviting friends on social and contacts in messengers to try out your app
Integration with social platforms can be achieved with the following technologies:
Apparently, push notifications are not a state-of-the-art feature, but it’s safe to say that if your app doesn’t have push notifications it is missing out on user engagement. But simply introducing this feature with default settings will not be enough to achieve the engagement you want, speaking medium and long term. Standard push notifications, with cold, impersonal messages are very likely to annoy users of your app which could cause your users to turn the notifications off completely. This is why we insist that customization is crucial for effective push notifications. It will allow you to tailor your messages based on the user profile of your app and make the best of this feature to boost user engagement.
Push notifications can be enabled with the following technologies:
- Firebase Cloud Messaging for Android-based applications
- Apple Push Notification Service for iOS-based applications
- Third-party services for iOS and Android, such as OneSignal, Pusher, QuickBlox, Pushover
Smart content ranking
Newsfeeds on which user publications appear one-by-one, once published, is a simple, clear and straightforward system. But, it won’t do if you want to increase user engagement for your app. Introducing machine learning algorithms to your app’s newsfeed helps users receive relevant content, while content creators are provided with a chance to reach their target audience. This will result in increased interactions between the two types, expressed in content views, comments, likes, and shares. Smart content ranking has become one of the most powerful (and most debated) Facebook features.
Smart content ranking can be enabled with the following technologies:
- Cloud machine learning services provided by Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and IBM
- Machine learning algorithms libraries, such as Microsoft DMTK and Google TensorFlow
- Custom developed algorithms
Geographical positioning allows you to locate a smartphone or any other device (and its current user). You might have come across this feature on many popular apps, such as Instagram which gives its users an opportunity to geotag their photos, Uber, that shows its drivers and clients each other’s location, location-based games like Pokemon Go, and a dating app built upon GPS technology, Tinder. Geographical positioning provides a plethora of opportunities, each of them a feature by itself, for example:
- comfortable, familiar and easy navigation enabled through integration with Google Maps
- automatic delivery of content and advertising relevant to user, based on their current or preferred location
- finding other users nearby (see how we applied this in TownSquare, the networking app)
- keeping track of a device user and logging relevant metrics, such as spots they have visited, distance travelled and velocity, for further use
Geographical positioning can be enabled with the following technologies:
- Apple iBeacon
- Core Location Framework
- Google Eddystone + Proximity Beacon API
- Google Location Services API
Variety of content types
Speaking of social features for mobile apps, we need to point out the power of diversity in content. Industry unicorns demonstrate that the more diverse the types of content allowed by a social media app, the more goals the app helps its users achieve, thus further engaging them. Focusing on a single content type makes sense when launching a minimum viable product (MVP) to the market. In order to turn user-generated content into a powerful growth instrument in the long term, you will want to enable a variety of content types. Started out as a photo-focused social media, Instagram features additional types of content today, such as videos and stories, which have become one of the latest trends in social media.
Even if your app targets a specific audience, such as, for example, private practitioners and their clients, providing the first with a content marketing platform and giving the second a space for sharing about their problems with others will work out great as an engagement booster. Your choice of content types and functions should simply be based on those featured in social media, which have been around long enough to shape up the expectations of today’s users.
Content types variety can be enabled with the following technologies:
- ImageMagick - free cross-platform software to create, edit, compose, or convert bitmap images.
- Ffmpeg - cross-platform software to record, convert and stream audio and video.
- AVFoundation framework - a framework for capturing, processing, synthesizing, controlling, importing and exporting audiovisual media on Apple platforms.
- Camera API - a framework for capturing audiovisual media on Android platforms.
Instant messaging belongs to common social media features which can also be found in many applications. Today, it can be taken to the next level by introducing chatbots capable of replying to popular questions with preset messages, and further, learning to independently hold a conversation with users. Chatbots can help:
- tutor new users about an application
- cover for a user who has lost Internet connection in the middle of a conversation
- collect user feedback
- automate the first line of technical support
Chatbots can be introduced with the following technologies:
- Third-party platforms with natural language processing algorythms (wit.ai, Dialogflow, MS Bot Framework, bottr)
- Bot builder software and development environment, such as Meya.ai, Pandorabots, Chatfuel, ManyChat, Robochat)
- Library based custom chatbot algorithms (MS Luis, IBM)
he technologies of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are relatively new to the social network features list, but some platforms have already taken advantage of them. First introduced by Snapchat, puppy face filter has been a surprisingly huge trend lately, which expanded far beyond the popular social networking app -- and demonstrated how VR technology can contribute to user engagement. AR/VR will allow you to make long-familiar real-life experiences part of your mobile app functionality. This means highly detailed interaction with a physical product sold via your application, or services delivered in an advanced, more engaging way -- not to mention the great entertainment potential of this feature.
Augmented reality and virtual reality elements can be introduced with the following technologies: