Social Media App Development : The Ultimate Guide

Avantika Shergil By Avantika Shergil  |  Nov 25, 2022  |  App Development
guide to building your own social media app

Social media apps have become a part and parcel of our lives and changed the way we interact with each other. It is hard to imagine but Facebook alone has more than 1 billion monthly mobile users.

Research shows that there are 4.74 billion social media users around the world in October 2022, equating to 59.3 percent of the total global population. The average daily usage of social media apps is increased to 2 hours and 29 minutes. There is a sharp rise seen in social media usage in the last few years due to the latest pandemic.

This is an impressive figure!

What stands behind this success? People just love being social and share thoughts, photos, videos, and other content with their like-minded surroundings. That is in our nature. That’s the major reason behind social media apps’ popularity.

Social media app, that’s emerged as a promising market- is crowded with dominant players but opening a myriad of opportunities for enthusiasts who are looking to replicate the success of their creators. find and hire from the top mobile app development companies that have experience in building a wide range for applications across various industry vertical which primarily also includes social media apps.

Not surprised there are so many popular social networks and even more enthusiasts who want to replicate the success of their creators. If you are one of them, this article is what you need. Here, you will find information covering multiple aspects of building your own social media app, types of social media apps, features, development process, monetization model, and more.

Types of Social Media Apps

Before starting with social media app development, it’s essential to know which category the social media app idea belowngs to. It helps in identifying the target audience, their needs, and the competition. The social media app types are-

News & Social Networking

Apps like Twitter belong to this category. They stream news the users are interested in and provide them with a place to communicate as well as share opinions with each other. If you decide to build an app of this type, you should pay due attention to the news feed and think over its design.

Blogging Apps

A variety of apps can be referred in this category: Medium, Tumblr, and even Instagram. In fact, almost every social media app fall under this category as most of them allow bloggers and influencers to express their opinion in written, verbal, or any other form.

Instant Messaging Apps

Apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and others also fall under this category. Messengers are widely used not only in everyday life for chatting with friends but also in business for responding to clients’ requests as well. In order to create a successful messenger, you should bring some value to users: add unique features, work out a top-notch UI/UX design, and plan out the strategy of interacting with a different target audience (businesses, users).

Lifestyle Social Media Apps

A plethora of platforms that are connected with various activities (sports, travel, hobby) and allow users to communicate can be classified as lifestyle social media. A TripAdvisor community is a good example in this case.

Entertaining Social Media Apps

Again, this is rather an umbrella term that may include a variety of apps that are interrelated with other categories. But as the name suggests, those apps are primarily designed to entertain users and so live streaming, dating, educating, and other apps fall under this category.

There are a lot of details you should consider when developing entertainment app types. For instance, do not forget to add the user ban feature to your dating app and provide a decent quality of video to create a live streaming app. Also, entertainment app development companies would help you create a wonderful piece of state-of-the-art solution with the necessary research and analysis.

Business Social Media Apps

This is a relatively narrow app category. Probably, LinkedIn is the most illustrative example in this case. You should get the vision of the functionality your business social media application will perform and then think over the further steps.

Discussion forums

This form of social media networking app provides a community of experts who are well-versed in their niche field. Reddit, Quora, and others are popular discussion forums. It helps people easily get connected with experts and get answers to their questions.

Content sharing networks

This type of app also referred to as bookmarking app allows users to save and organize links to different resources. Flipboard and Pinterest-like content-sharing apps allow other users to view creative ideas and gain inspiration from them.

Benefits of Creating a Social Media App

The application of social media provides a wide spectrum of benefits to businesses that are-

  • Creating a customized social media app development enables businesses to directly connect and interact with the community easily and quickly.
  • Gain complete access to users’ data and their activities, which, in turn, gives more insights about the community and an in-depth understanding of the target audience.
  • Add wings to your creativity and innovate the design and text to enhance the look and feel of the app.
  • Custom social media app development enables baking digital marketplace options into the app that makes monetization easy.
  • By creating a social media app, you can make the post navigated or reach the newsfeed of all the users with no tricky algorithms that decide which content to show to which audience.
  • With nothing displayed on social media platforms, you can get all the distractions ditched that take away the users’ attention somewhere.

The social media market is packed with a sea of social media applications under different categories. However, some of them are dominating the social media space with a large number of users that are-

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Tumblr
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • WhatsApp
  • Twitter
  • Medium

Steps of Social Media Application Development

The professional team always follows an approach to building an app from a technological and business perspective to ensure the app is developed in various phases hassle-free. The steps to follow for flawless social media app development-

Identify target audience

Before making any further decisions, you have to identify your target audience and understand what they expect from the app. Conduct research and find out what needs your target users experience nowadays and which features can help solve those needs more effectively compared to rival apps.

One-to-one interviews or surveys help in knowing the users’ expectations and preferences for social browsing and usage. It helps you getting build an app that the target audience is looking for rather than building it based on assumptions.

Perform competition research

Target audience research is not enough to gain success and a competitive advantage in the market with social media app development. Studying the competition, strategies they are using, and the gaps in the market helps in getting build a unique app that fills the void and leapfrogs the competition. Don’t just build another app; instead, build a one-of-a-kind app that brings your start-up to a better position.

Create a strategy

After researching the target audience, competition, and gaps that can make the social media app thrive, it’s time to analyze the requirements and channel them into an action plan. The strategy serves as a base for the app development that defines the flow in which the app gets built.

Select a business model

Before rolling the project on the development floor, it’s necessary to select a business model that’s well-received by the audience and keeps the business profitable. The popular business models that are leveraged worldwide.

  • The freemium model enables users to sign up and browse the app for free, but accessing premium content requires users to pay fees.
  • The advertising model adopted by social media businesses to earn revenue after their user base has grown to millions in number, then posting relevant ads is helpful.

Prototype the app idea

Translating the app idea into a workflow where the rough sketch represents how the app functions. Sketching helps in understanding the logic, number of screens, and interactions between them. Wireframe creation enables visualizing the skeletal view of the application and the experience it renders to the users. Finally, the prototype is a high-fidelity mock-up that provides a good understanding of the future app to the developers, which lets them easily translate it into full-fledged solution development.

Craft intuitive design

UX research helps in creating the app’s UI design that matches users’ expectations for the next social media app. The value-added functionalities, visually appealing designs, and organized layout keep the users visiting the app and retain the subscribers. Watch the latest trends and build minimal designs following the design principles and guidelines provided by the app stores.

Launch the app

When the app is ready, get it tested rigorously to ensure it performs as expected, and then finally it’s submitted to the app store following the submission guidelines. The app description, images, and video tutorials get the app ready to organically market on the app store.

Support and maintenance

The job doesn’t end with the app launch. Instead, the real work starts here. After the app release, the app needs to upgrade with the addition of new features, UI redesign, and fixing the issues according to user feedback.

Basic features that Social Media Apps should have

Even though social media apps differ, they all have essential features which should be present in your app to form an MVP. Let’s take a look at them.

Signup

Offer multiple options to the users to register for social media apps such as email id, and phone number followed by the password for user-friendly onboarding. OTP or SMS verification is added for validation purposes.

User Profile

A user profile is an important element for social network apps since it usually contains all user information (birth date, country of residence, recent posts, profile photo, etc.) All this not only helps to identify a person a user is already acquainted with but find new like-minded friends, which is actually the main goal of most social networks. So, users of your social network will surely want to get one and edit it.

Search

Any social network is a massive amount of data: publications, communities, hashtags, people, places, etc. Convenient navigation through that data is barely impossible without a search bar. In addition, it is a good idea to add some fillers to simplify the search.

Engagement

Social media app can better engage users by allowing them to like, share, and comment, on posts shared by other users. Also, the users can connect and communicate with others users who have shared the post through chat or direct messaging as done on Facebook.

Livestreaming

In the digital age, as people are increasingly preferring to watch live streams, enabling a live streaming option has become a must-have. Businesses can use this option to connect with their target audience at scale during product launch and show demo as well.

Newsfeed

It is the place where updates from friends and communities are shown. Newsfeed is an integral attribute of many giant social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on.

Since many users are dissatisfied with how the newsfeed works on the previously mentioned platforms, a well-thought-out feed policy may become your competitive advantage.

Instant Messaging

It is difficult to imagine modern social networks without built-in chats. Add an opportunity for sending messages, images, videos, and documents in order to keep pace with your competitors.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are the ultimate way to notify users about something that is important to them. Friend requests, new messages, upcoming events, etc. But remember that too many notifications are a bad experience. Make sure the app has a notification setting where users could pick what they want to be notified about.

Upload post

Social media apps such as Facebook or Instagram allow users to create a post with text, audio, images, or video to make them appealing. The users can simply add multimedia content from the gallery or capture it in real-time to add appealing posts on social networks.

The advanced features that help your app reap seize an edge

In addition to the best mobile app features set, the leading social media apps started incorporating advanced features powered by emerging technologies to improve user engagement and deliver the best user experience. The features that you can look for-

  • AR filters are a nice addition that filter and add effects to the videos or audio to engineer unique experiences. Remember AR filters added to Snapchat and Instagram apps.
  • Enable post editing right in the social media app that removes the back-and-forth to and from different apps.
  • Tailoring the content shown to the users based on the location so that users can view the content of the users of the same location. Google places help in implementing the location-based content feature.
  • Ephemeral content that gets disappeared after 24 hours of the message sent or story created. Instagram and Snapchat have incorporated them well.
  • AI-based automated chatbots that smartly answer the users’ questions by connecting the dots and analysis.

Monetization Models to make huge ROI

Want to know how to make your own social media app profitable or make a good sum of money? If so, there are various monetization models to earn revenue with one of the unique social media app ideas. Let’s dive in!

Premium features

Various social media networking websites such as LinkedIn or YouTube facilitate premium subscriptions that enable users to unlock additional features. For instance, YouTubers gain access to download content after subscribing to the services.

In-app purchase

Social media apps monetize with in-app purchases by adding paid content to the platform that users can buy if they are interested in the app. for example, Facebook has created a sticker store from where users can buy a pack of stickers that they can use while chatting using Facebook messenger.

Advertisement

Now, you know how to make a social media app like Instagram, here’s another way to make revenue the way Instagram makes, that’s putting advertisements. Social media platforms earn revenue by allowing businesses to put ads on the platform. Instagram did it fairly by displaying relevant posts and stories in the users’ newsfeeds.

How much does it cost to build a Social Media App?

At this stage, looking for how to make a social media app within your budget.

The social media app development cost is estimated considering basic features, advanced features, designing, marketing, number of platforms, development approach, tech stack, and development company’s location factors. However, the cost to create a social media app range between $20,000-$40,000, and it ramps up as the aforementioned factors get changed.

For instance, the cost to build social media app with basic features shells out $20,000 from your pocket, and if advanced features integration is involved, the price shoots up to $30,000. When social media app design is enhanced, it adds up $5,000 to the app development cost.

When the app is developed for the Android platform, it costs around $28,000 and for the iOS platform, the price goes up to $25,000 due to less device fragmentation. When the native development approach is used for building apps for both platforms- iOS and Android, it costs around $55,000 to businesses, but the cross-platform development approach reduces the cost to $30,000.

When social media app is developed in different regions of the world, it costs differently to the businesses, say-

  • Australian developers take up $55,000
  • North American developers demand $70,000
  • Central European developers ask for $60,000
  • Indian developers quote $40,000

As an entrepreneur, the guide helps you understand the app development cost in detail so that you can compute the development cost on your own.

Social Media App Development In a nutshell

Many start-ups that are rocking the social media world as leading social medial platforms have embarked on the app development journey when they come up with a social media app idea. TikTok is the best instance of the same that responded Yes to shaping their unique idea and today making millions with more than 800 million users worldwide.

If you are the one who bounced with an idea of making a social media app and planning to develop the one that leads the pack. You cannot bring wild success by simply joining the fray. Appealing to the audience from the first day of launch to ensuring a high level of engagement followed by huge ROI generation requires following a plan in an organized way.

This guide covers everything that start-ups need to know regarding social media app development from how to build social media app, features, benefits, revenue model, and development cost. Once you are clear with the nitty-gritty of social media app development you ought to hire remote developers who can transform your social media app idea into reality.

Avantika Shergil Avantika Shergil   |  Nov 25, 2022

An enthusiastic Operations Manager at TopDevelopers.co, coordinating and managing the technical and functional areas. She is an adventure lover, passionate traveler, an admirer of nature, who believes that a cup of coffee is the prime source to feel rejuvenated. Researching and writing about technology keeps her boosted and enhances her professional journeying.

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