Building a social media app that can succeed in the market is not as easy as it would have been in 2008. The app stores now have almost every type of social media app for chat, voice call, video call-specific, and even all-in-one or private social media apps like Telegram and Discord. According to a report by DataReportal, the global count of social media users was 4.70 billion (59% of the worldwide population) in July 2022 – a percentage bound to increase with time.
Creating a social media app in this rapidly growing market will require strategic planning, contingency plans, and partnering with a professional app development agency.
You will need to gather information about top social media apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, WeChat, and TikTok. For example, Facebook has 2.93 billion users in the second quarter of 2022 as reported in a survey by Statista. Instagram has at least 1.44 billion users globally (153.6 million of them are from the US). These are just examples of the data that would motivate you to build a successful social media app.
What is a Social Media Platform?
Social media is an internet-based platform where people share and receive content like images/texts/videos, provide/receive feedback, and talk to each other through secure chat features. The scope of work usually includes both social media websites and mobile apps to make things easy for their users.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are some famous examples.
6 Steps to Building a Social Media App
Building a social media app that can survive in the market will require a predetermined strategy for every step you take during development and after app deployment.
Create a Development Team
Start by creating a capable team of development, design, and app maintenance experts. You need to hire social media app developers that know how to keep up with changing market requirements. Go through the list mentioned below to know the experts you will need for app development:
- iOS Developers
- Android Developers
- UI/UX Designers
- Business Analyst
- Project Manager
- Backend Developers
- QA Engineers
You can gather this team structure or hire a different one you need for your requirements by hiring in-house, freelancers, or outsourcing to offshore developers from India. However, out of these options, outsourcing app development is the best way to ensure your app meets all requirements under the available budget and within the stipulated timeline.
Conduct Market Research
Discuss the project with your business analyst and team to conduct collaborative research on the feasibility of your social media app. You need to know everything there is to know about the social media app market. For example, Statista reports that the global revenue of the social networking segment could reach $43.39 billion by the end of 2022.
This stage will include market research, social media trends research, product discovery, end-user interviews, and budget assessment. You might also need to interview the end users of social media apps like Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp to understand the target market. All of this will help you create a strategy designed to provide something of value and unique to the users.
Start Design and Development
Begin the initial app development process once you have a viable development strategy. It is best to use the Agile methodology for development to accelerate the process and direct it towards the most productive direction.
It includes sketching the outline of your application to get a clear idea about the project.
Wireframing helps visualize the social media application by giving a structural view of the application.
A prototype is a functioning model of the future application that gives your target customers and investors a basic idea of how your final app will work.
Developers turn the wireframes into a working app that defines your app’s vision.
They work with the backend servers, databases, and APIs to build the app. What they put their focus on at this stage is the app experience – your users should be able to navigate through the app without effort or system lags.
It is critical to ensure that the app UI and UX meet or exceed market expectations to get people to take an interest in your social media app.
Keep Testing the App
An app requires manual and automated testing both during and after development. These processes help verify its ease of use and acceptance rate. Your app must also be bug-free to deliver a good user experience.
Testers are responsible for ensuring that your app can handle the functionality it is supposed to provide. They work on several testing processes that help identify and deal with bugs, design issues, and coding errors before you deploy the app.
Repeating this process frequently ensures that your users have a convenient experience with your app in the first few years and until you gain a loyal user base. Make sure your testers and QA engineers are qualified for the task and can ensure top-notch product quality to meet market expectations.
Prepare for Launch
Your social media app will be ready for deployment when testers and QA engineers verify and approve its reliable functionality. You will need an impactful ad campaign to spread awareness of your app before deployment.
- Reveal a problem the target users have.
- Explain the solutions your app has for that problem.
- Describe USPs that make your social media unique and better than others.
- Combine these factors to create an influential message.
Spreading awareness is essential to bring a decent user base for your app right after deployment. You can publish the app on the app stores once you have the attention of target users. Submitting your app on the Apple app store and Google Play store are simple tasks that you can conduct in no time.
Plan App Maintenance
You will need to guarantee that your app is highly accessible, dependable, and up to date with current market demands, all of which require continuous maintenance after deployment. Every app has bugs, errors, and even crashes from time to time. You will need to monitor and deal with such situations before they force the users to uninstall your app.
Frequent app maintenance is the only way to verify that the functionality of your app is meeting user expectations. You should plan app maintenance and have a dedicated budget for it during the development and testing stages. It will ensure that your app has everything it needs to survive in a highly competitive market.
Types of Social Media Apps
Having a good idea about all types of social media apps will help you determine the most suitable type for your business requirements.
Social Networking Applications
Social networking apps aim to bring people together and expand their network. Users can connect with their friends/family and make new friends through such social apps. These help users share their ideas, photos, and videos with other users in their social circle.
You will need to include features like Post Image/Video, Edit the Post, Like, Dislike, and Remove the Post in social networking apps. Facebook and LinkedIn are some examples of social networking applications.
These apps are discussion forums where people can discuss multiple topics and get responses from global experts. For example, you can ask a question like “What is the average app development cost?” to get answers from many mobile app experts on the platform. Discussion forum apps help people learn new things, get answers to their questions, and help people solve urgent problems quickly. These forums can also include debates about the entertainment industry content, IT, and politics.
Quora and Reddit are examples of discussion forum apps.
Media Sharing Social Apps
Media sharing social apps are a platform where users can post and share photos/videos and live videos. These apps are currently in demand as GenZ primarily uses these apps to improve social media connections and presence. Media sharing applications are crucial for marketing objectives like brand exposure, lead generation, and audience engagement.
Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat are a few examples of media-sharing social apps.
Blogging and Publishing Network Apps
These apps provide an easy-to-use platform for writers/bloggers to present their skills through a blog on topics that interest people. Writers and readers are the target users of blogging apps. These apps have great potential in the upcoming social media app market.
WordPress and Medium are a few examples.
Essential Features in Social Media Apps
Some features are mandatory to ensure ease of use in your app. You will need to add these features whether you are developing an MVP or an advanced app.
Users must be able to sign up with an email or a phone number and then create a login. The login feature must have a “forgot password” button to help users retrieve the password. For high efficiency, the user registration and login must be extremely easy and should only take seconds, since the users will get frustrated if the registration and login take too long.
Give users the ability to create and modify their profiles and fill in the necessary personal information they wish to share with the rest of the world. The user profile should include age, occupation, about me, interests, and dislikes.
This feature helps users stay in the loop as it contains all new and old posts from their friends, family, and communities. You can improve this feature by including an infinite scrolling news feed in your app.
It is necessary to include a user-friendly chat function feature in your offering since every social network app relies on users sending messages, pictures, and videos. Group chats and live video features are additional elements that can make the chat feature more interesting for users.
This feature notifies users when someone likes their post, shares it, or uploads it to their feed. It also alerts users whenever someone in their circle uploads new posts. This feature significantly increases user engagement in your social media app.
Users must be able to create and share content such as texts, photos, and videos with their network on the app. This feature must be simple to use and the uploading process should only take seconds.
Users require a user-friendly search bar to find friends and channels to follow. The search features make this easy by providing filter options and recommendations with a single click.
Live video is an essential feature in almost every social media app today. Streaming live videos is a trending way to connect, share news, or discuss important topics.
Technology Stack for a Social Media App
The tech stack requirement for your app will depend on your requirements with app features, design, and functionality. You can take a look at the table below to know the tech stack usually required for a social media app.
Social Media App Development Cost
The number/types of features and design requirements determine the final cost of creating a social media app. In addition to this, you should count premium third-party services like maps, payments, and cloud services. There are two methods for paying the development company to make a social media app.
- Fixed Pricing
- Hourly-based pricing
A fixed pricing strategy implies that you and the social media app development company will agree on a final cost for the whole project. For example, the company may share overall fees like $20,000 or $25,000 for an MVP social app. You will need to agree with it before the development begins. Take a look at the table below to get an average estimate of the final development cost:
Cost to Develop a Social Media App
|MVP App||$20,000 and $25,000|
|Standard App||$40,000 and $55,000|
|Complex App||$80,000 and $150,000|
An hourly-based contract means the number of hours spent on each development process determines the final cost. The average duration for designing a social media app (iOS/Android) is 800 to 1500 hours. Take a look at the average cost estimation (per hour) to build an iOS/ Android application in different regions of the world:
Cost to Develop an App per Hour
|Country||Cost Range (Per hour)||Average Cost (Per hour)|
|North America||$50 to $220||$120|
|United Kingdom (UK)||$40 to $180||$70|
|Australia||$32 to $150||$100|
|Eastern Europe||$20 to $100||$50|
|South America||$20 – $100||$40|
|India||$15 – $80||$25|
Analyze all your app design and feature requirements along with the developer’s cost to know the final cost of development for your social media app.
Social Media Monetization Models
You should determine the monetization models during and after the development. The post-deployment performance of your app will make it easy to choose the most suitable monetization models.
Advertisements are the most commonly used method in a social media app to generate income. For example, Instagram and Facebook display personalized ads on their app according to user interests. Brands and businesses will even agree to significant fees to advertise their products/services on your app if it has a great user base.
The in-app purchases model includes selling virtual things through the social networking app. This model can only make money if your offerings excite or provide value to users.
You can provide additional social media features in your app with premium subscriptions. For example, LinkedIn provides a premium subscription that includes better features and opportunities to job seekers.
Events and Promotions
You can also make money by helping users promote events and online activities on your social media app. The app will earn more money if you advertise events by recognized brands in the entertainment industry. For example, you can promote an upcoming award show or a local stand-up comedy/music show on your social media app.
Also read: Innovative Mobile App Design Trends
Social network app development is a complex project that requires an experienced development team with a thorough understanding of how to use social media for business. You need experts who understand social media development and its various applications in healthcare, video streaming service, stock trading, and e-learning apps. Our developers at Ailoitte already have experience in adding the most fun elements of social media to a kids’ community app where they can showcase their talent and learn from each other in a safe space.
Talking to our developers should help you figure out a suitable development strategy for your social media app. Our app-building services come with leading-edge development solutions and tools. You can get an estimate for your project today and begin the development process.
Frequently Asked Questions
A social media application is any web-based application that allows users to post and share content (text, video, audio, and photos), create personal profiles, connect to a community, and search within that community.
The most common types of social media are social networking, bookmarking, social news, media sharing, microblogging, and online forums.
Social media app development includes creating a development team, market research, design and development, app testing, launch marketing, and app maintenance.
The core features of a social media app are user profile, sign up, social feed, chat, notification, post creation, search, and live video.
Social media monetization models include advertising, in-app purchases, premium features, and events and promotions.
The average development cost for a social media app ranges from $40,000 to $55,000 for a standard version. You should determine app platforms, feature and design requirements, and developers to estimate the final cost.
The development duration can be two months, six months, or one year depending on your app design, feature, and functionality requirements.
The facebook-like app development process would include choosing a niche, creating a development team, social media market research and analysis, a development strategy, app testing, strategic launch, and app maintenance.