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How to Find Unique Features for Your Next Standout Social Media App

How to Identify Unique Features of Social Media Apps

Hi there! We all realize that social media space is heavily crowded, right?

In the digital realm, every platform is fighting for your attention, just like in a busy marketplace. As TikTok rises, the old powerhouses like Facebook remain to keep up.

Consider yourself a developer attempting to make a name for yourself in this congested market. Hard, huh? This is a challenge and an opportunity for any social media app development company.

The bright side, though, is that you can add some special sauce—unique features!

The small, but mighty, these pearls are your secret weapons to success and getting users in the world of social media, which is very competitive. They serve as the finishing touch to distinguish your software from the competition.

This allows your app to stand out among other similar apps in the market in addition to offering consumers something brand new and thrilling to experience. I can assure you that knowing a few special tactics can sleeve up and can make all the difference in this fast-paced game!

Let’s dive in and explore the unique features of social media apps before your find something for your own! At the end of this blog, I have given some unique concepts too.

Analyzing the Competition

Evaluating competition is very key in creating a social networking app because you get to capture the market and identify areas where you can stand out and make the necessary adjustments. Here’s how you go about studying the competition.

  • Identify Competitors: Narrow down your direct competitors offering similar products as well as indirect ones providing alternative solutions. For a social media app, direct rivals are other platforms, while indirect ones could include communication or entertainment apps.
  • Evaluate Strengths and Weaknesses: Look at the competitor’s user base, features, experience, monetization, and brand reputation. Recognizing their strengths and weaknesses unveils opportunities for differentiation and unique offerings.
  • Study User Feedback: Analyze user reviews and opinions including likes and dislikes, pain points, and functional requirements. Insights gained can highlight areas where competitors fall short, aiding in improvement strategies.
  • Examine Market Trends: Monitor trends, user behavior changes, technology innovation, regulations, and likes/dislikes. Understanding market dynamics helps anticipate challenges and opportunities in social media app development.
  • Benchmark Performance: Make comparisons between app metrics such as engagement, retention, rankings, and revenue with those of competitors. This comparison provides insights into relative performance and areas for enhancement.

Brainstorming for Innovation

The process of brainstorming for innovation is creating an engaging ambiance that welcomes different ideas that convert to the distinct and unique features of social media apps. Here’s how you can approach it.

  • Mind Mapping: Exploit mind mapping tools for unbound brainstorming of ideas. Capture every idea that comes to mind and worry about filtering and refining them later. This way of thinking, which involves the visualization of new features or improvements, stimulates creativity.
  • Think Outside the Box: Look beyond the social media industry and explore how other sectors, such as gaming, productivity, or health, address communication and sharing challenges. Implement creative solutions from those fields that will make your user interface and app more interactive.
  • Solve Real-World Problems: Identify specific problems or pain points faced by your target audience and brainstorm ways your app can provide unique solutions. For example, you might help people discover local events that appeal to niche communities or create discussion boards that are anonymous for sensitive issues.

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Top 3 Unique Features of Social Media That Boosted User Engagement

Understanding what makes users interact with your app is essential. To build engaging and profitable platforms, app developers must have a thorough understanding of the key elements that have been shown to increase user engagement and retention.

Here, we present the top three characteristics of social networking apps that have always grown user engagement. Developers may learn a lot about optimizing their apps for better user interaction and pleasure by investigating these essential aspects.

With this approach, they will be able to gain a foothold in the competitive landscape of social media platforms.

1. Stories (Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)

Stories have been rampantly shared across Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat platforms. This type of ephemeral content involves the use of either images or videos that will automatically be taken down within 24 hours.

Impact of ephemeral content

  • Lowered Pressure for Polished Content: Ephemeral content makes it possible to ditch overly thoughtful posts and let spontaneity flow, which is beneficial because it encourages realness.
  • Created Sense of Urgency and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out): Ephemeral nature instills urgency, triggering FOMO, and compelling users to check the app frequently to avoid missing updates or stories.
  • Increased User Engagement and Daily Active Users (DAU): Low pressure and slow movements of visitors increase the active users drastically; the vanishing act of content catalyzes the spending time of consumers and causes DAUs to be high.

2. Short-format video (TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts).

Short, entertaining, and creative video content has brought a new dimension to content creation and consumption on social media, giving video short stories, promoting creativity, and fueling tremendous growth in multiple platforms. This has been the key reason for the high rise of short-form video platforms in recent days.

Impact of short-form videos

  • Appeals to Short Attention Spans: Allows us to get entertainment or information with high speed, corresponding to the fast life of modern people.
  • Lowered Barrier to Entry for Content Creation: Easy-to-use editing tools democratize content creation, encouraging a wider range of users to participate.
  • Drove Massive Growth and Forced Adaptation: The growth of platforms such as TikTok has been astonishing, this saw others introduce similar features to remain relevant in the market.

3. Live Streaming (Twitch, Instagram, Facebook)

By using live streaming, content creators can interact more directly with their audiences, and the platform instantly becomes an interactive and engaging one that brings people together to share experiences and build communities.

Impact of Live Streaming

  • Fosters Community and Real-Time Connection: Live streaming cultivates a strong sense of community by enabling direct interaction between creators and their audience in real-time.
  • Interactive Q&As: Viewers participate, also by asking questions, making remarks, and discussing with the streaming hosts; this results in a two-way communication that has become a link between the people.
  • Shared Experiences: Live streaming makes viewers part of shared entertainment experiences, like involving spectators in gaming sessions or live events, building community, and amusing us all.
  • Popularity Among Gaming Communities: The live streaming of gaming is very common in the gaming community as gamers can stream their gaming processes, talk to viewers, and even participate in multiplayer activities as long as they are ongoing.
  • Preferred Platform for Creators: The great majority of content creators across different areas are driven by video streaming platforms owing to their ease of interacting with audiences at once, building stronger relations, and improving viewer interaction.

Top 5 Social Media Apps and Their Exclusive Features

Examining the popular aspects of current social media platforms is the first step towards creating a social media app with unique features. Now we will discuss the top five social media networks individually.

1. Instagram

Instagram is a very popular social media platform that has a lot of ways to edit and add filters to images. Users can add stickers, filters, and doodles to their pictures before posting them on their followers’ walls.

Instagram’s key features are

  • Stories: Instagram’s stories allow followers to post their casual and temporary photos and videos with text, emojis, and other interactive features, offering relaxed and impromptu content sharing.
  • IGTV (Instagram TV): IGTV has had an impact on the emergence of vertical videos up to 60 minutes long, which are optimized for mobile viewing and are capable of reflecting the immersive nature of the video content.
  • Explore Tab: Explore tab recommends both, content, like photos, videos, and IGTV content, which are based on user’s interests and behavior, and content discovery out of their immediate network.
  • Shopping: Promoting products is made easier by Instagram through its shopping features, thus enabling its customers to buy their desired items within the app and improve their e-commerce experience as well as increase sales.. Can you believe Each month, shopping posts attract the attention of 30 million users?
  • Reels: With Instagram Reels, users may record and share films up to sixty seconds in length. There is a plethora of editing features, effects, and music that is accessible to users to express themselves and captivate the audience.

2. Snapchat

On Snapchat, a multifunctional messenger, you can stay in touch with your friends sharing your articles, texts, videos, and photos. Its 406 million users daily have turned it into the most popular app available.

  • Disappearing Messages: The specialty of Snapchat is the “disappearing messages” function that evolved the private and simple side of communications in cyberspace.
  • Stories: Furthermore, stories were launched by Snapchat that enabled people to share their photos and videos with friends for the whole day and then automatically get deleted. Through stories, people can share their fractions of the day in a more relaxed and temporally elusive way.
  • Snapchat Lenses: The Snapchat app has AR filters or, as they are usually called, Lenses, that place different animations and effects on faces in real-time. These days lenses thrive on our entertainment and are used for creative expression.
  • Snap Map: Snap Map is also a feature that allows users to share their real-time location with friends and to see Snaps taken from different places nearby. It empowers the users to identify and post location-based information, as well as discover places where they can meet.
  • Discover: Snapchat Discover is a portion of the app that offers branded content from media companies, producers, and brands. It provides a newsfeed of personalized information like entertainment, news, and lifestyle which ensures the users stay inside of the app.

3. Pinterest

Pinterest is a visual and social network platform where users pin and share content on virtual boards. The matter of active users also shows Pinterest being 15th worldwide as of January 2023. It is these special features that differentiate it from other social media platforms.

  • Pinboards: Users will be able to develop a visual board to arrange and store images or pins into separate categories and topics such as recipes, interior design, fashion, or traveling. Pinboards are the visuals that let me share my favorite quotes and sayings.
  • Visual Search: Pinterest provides a visual search option allowing users to look for similar pictures by taking a picture or browsing through within the application. This feature helps users to discover things that look similar to their search queries.
  • Rich Pins: Pinterest is furnished with the “Rich Pins,” which display extended information about the pin including product descriptions, recipes, article descriptions, or location maps. Pin richness helps make the experience more convenient for users.
  • Guided Search: Pinterest’s Guided Search feature shows users keywords and filters they can use when in search of something specific and that will help them narrow their searches and find relevant results faster.
  • Shop Tab: Pinterest has a dedicated ‘Shopping’ tab that displays shoppable pins with brands and retailers, curated by the platform itself. Users can not only browse for and purchase products right within the app but also turn ideas into quick actions.
  • Tried and True: This feature enables users to choose those items that they tried on their own, so the rest of the users can see the reviews and recommendations.

4. Twitch

Twitch is a live broadcasting platform that centers primarily on the broadcast of video games live esports competitions and other related content. Leading with a 76% market share, Twitch outdoes Facebook and YouTube on the ground of hours viewed.

  • Live Streaming: On Twitch, players can broadcast their gameplay live in front of a bunch of spectators. This immediacy of such interaction contributes to a sense of community and enables gamers to swap their gaming experiences with others.
  • Twitch Chat: Along with live chat and its permanent place on every Twitch stream. The viewers can be a part of the live chat with the streamer and other participants. It creates a social and activity-based viewing experience.
  • Emotes and Bits: Twitch allows users to customize as many emotes as they want and also introduces the Bits as their virtual currency. Emotions allow people to show their feelings using emoticons on the chat, while Bits can be used to cheer for streamers, make special emotes, and more. The implementation of such features allows viewers to get involved and stay loyal to the streamers.
  • Twitch Drops: Twitch Drops is what they call rewards that viewers get by viewing certain streams or activities. They are often rewarded with in-game goodies, digital content, or other kinds of bonuses that are meant to motivate viewers and participation.
  • Communities and Tags: Furthermore, Twitch allows users to define their tags and join communities with like-minded individuals. With this, people can browse through different pieces of content and engage with fellow Twitch users who share the same interests.

5. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a networking channel that facilitates career development, business connections, and industry networking events. In particular, it should be noted that at the same time, 67 million companies are also hosted on LinkedIn.

  • Professional Profile: LinkedIn profiles are a personal branding tool, that allows users to upload their work experience, skills, education, and professional accomplishments in digital form. Profiles are searchable and provide a bird’s view of your career.
  • Connections and Network: Through LinkedIn, users can identify their connections with coworkers, industry contemporaries, recruiters, and possible employers. Adding contacts will be easily accessible by sending connection requests, joining groups, and discussion participation within fields of your interest and expertise.
  • Employment Exploration and Staffing: LinkedIn is the best place to look for work opportunities. It has features for browsing open positions, sending applications, and getting suggested personalized jobs based on your profile. Thus, recruiters and companies mostly use LinkedIn to look for talents and identify key influencers with their processes of people engagement.
  • Content Publishing: On LinkedIn, professionals can publish articles, share their updates, and engage other professionals with industry-related content positioning themselves as leading experts as well as thought leaders. This advances networking and knowledge-sharing across professional communities.
  • Learning and Development: LinkedIn Learning provides online training, video seminars, and skill-building materials covering such a wide range of topics as business, technology, leadership, and creativity. Users take advantage of specific recommendations that are customized according to their career aspirations. They can also discover new areas that interest them.
  • Company Pages: LinkedIn Company Pages perform the function of being the brand, product, and service platform for companies. Companies can give out company messages, news updates, and job openings, thereby positioning themselves on LinkedIn and increasing the level of audience engagement.

Some Inventive Features for Your Social Media App

After carefully examining top social media platforms, we have come out with some genuine recommendations of features that you can add to your social media apps. We believe that these inclusions can bring massive user engagement to your platform. 

Digital Time Capsules: Users may compose messages, videos, or posts that can be opened in the future based on the chosen time that they believe will create anticipation and nostalgia.

Blockchain-Based Content Verification: Integration of blockchain technology ensures content authenticity, mitigating the spread of misinformation and enhancing trust in shared content across the platform.

Dynamic Profiles: Profiles can be adjusted based on the viewer, thus the users can select different features for different audiences and enable personalized networking.

Skill-Sharing Networks: Link those who want to gain new skills to knowledgeable people for one-on-one and group meetings, this will help build a friendly culture where knowledge is shared among members of the platform’s community.

Team-Based Fitness Competitions: Encourage the team formation of fitness challenges within the app and provide mutual support between the exercise participants as they collectively achieve their health goals, and develop social connections.

AI-Powered Content Suggestions: Streamline the user experience by ably using AI technology to provide personalized content recommendations depending on individual preferences, interests, and viewing history, doing away with the need to search for new material.

Online Gatherings and Events: Organize online events similar to workshops, seminars, and networking sessions that will be available on the app and bring people from different countries together. The web attendees can participate actively in live discussions, work together with like-minded individuals worldwide, and also collaborate virtually.

Audio Spaces for Live Discussions: Add audio spaces or rooms where users can listen and talk to each other live for audio discussions, debates, and podcasts that will help users to connect over ideas and engage in real-time communication.

Beyond Features – The Power of Your USP

Along with features, the unique value proposition (USP) brings additional benefits as well.

Differentiation: A compelling UVP distinguishes a product or service from competitors by highlighting its unique features, benefits, or solutions to customers’ needs. It differentiates businesses from competitors and creates a unique impression in an ocean of alternatives.

Customer Focus: A well-crafted UVP centers around the needs, desires, and pain points of the target audience. It directly conveys to the customers why the product or service is the most appropriate option for the solution of the particular problems or the fulfillment of their wishes.

Clarity and Memorability: A clear and concise UVP communicates the essence of the product or service memorably. It attracts the attention of prospective customers, and it provides them with an opportunity to understand the proposition which results in increased brand recall and recognition.

Increased Conversions: An effective UVP has the power to convert prospects into customers by persuading them of the unique benefits and value offered. In that way, it can generate trust and confidence in the brand, motivating people to take action and buy the product.

Competitive Advantage: A strong UVP provides a competitive edge by creating barriers to entry for competitors. This gives a likelier status to the product or service hence making it difficult for competitors to replicate or compete directly with it.

Brand Loyalty and Advocacy: A compelling UVP fosters loyalty among customers who perceive the brand as uniquely valuable and aligned with their needs and preferences. The pleased customers are more likely to remain faithful customers, recommending the brand and thus, facilitating the development of long-term growth.

Conclusion

Finally, your social media app needs to have a comprehensive, useful strategy. Asking for features is somewhat important, but what matters is how you use your distinctive platform functions to get ahead of others.

They find buyers by matching the unfulfilled needs and giving the utmost value. Innovation, user engagement, and communication should be the top priorities of your app to stand out among the competitors and to prepare a dedicated user base.

Along with building a social media app with exclusive features, you should also focus on how to secure mobile apps and should include all essential security standards to protect user data. This has become a crucial consideration for users while downloading any mobile app.

The importance of providing something truly exclusive in your app helps you to remain in demand and keep your relevance in the face of an ever-changing digital atmosphere. A good-performing app will never let users search for how to improve mobile app performance.

Therefore, be it outstanding features or usability, these are the two main factors, which should be in focus of social media app developers to ensure its success and captive users.

Starting as an iOS developer and moving up to lead a mobile team at a startup, I've expanded my expertise into Project Management, DevOps and eventually becoming a COO in the IT sector. As a COO, I excel in team leadership, technical advice, and managing complex business functions, focusing on combining technology and operations to drive growth. I'm keen to connect for collaborations or to exchange insights in the tech world!

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