How to Make a Social Media App: A Complete Guide

Published On: December 13, 2022
Last Updated: January 6, 2023
How to Make a Social Media App

Social media is a boon for the majority of people worldwide. It gives freedom to people to express their thoughts, achievements, etc., with the world. On the other side, it has provided an excellent opportunity for businesses to reach potential audiences, collect feedback, and build customer loyalty.

Tiktok is one such platform released in 2016. It has gained the attention of users worldwide and has become successful, with more than 1 billion active users.

Considering the success of these apps, are you also wondering; how to build a social media app? At the same time, you might have a question – Is it viable to create a social media app and make it profitable? Don’t worry; you have reached the right place.

Here, we will provide a step-by-step process to make a social media app, followed by the cost. Before knowing the process, we will walk you through the market scenario of social media apps.

So, here we go.

Market Scenario of Social Media Apps

Here are some of the latest statistics which indicate the growth of social media apps over the years.

As per BusinessofApps, there are more than 4.88 billion social media users worldwide.

According to Statista, Facebook ranks first in the list of most popular social media platforms with over 2910 million people, followed by YouTube with 2562 million users. There are about 2000 million WhatsApp users and 1478 million Instagram users.

On average, people spend 2 hours and 28 minutes on social media apps, according to datareportal. Moreover, the average usage of social media is different across the world.

The coronavirus pandemic also had a significant impact on the digital behavior of users worldwide. Social network usage has increased from 56 mins in 2019 to 65 mins in 2020 in the United States.

The total revenue of the social networking segment is expected to reach $43.39 billion in 2022.

If we summarize all the above points, we can say that creating a social media app is highly beneficial in the long run.

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Now, let us look at the streamlined process of creating a social media application.

How to Make a Social Media App in 9 Steps

Here is the step-by-step process of building a social media app.

Step 1: Choose the Type of Social Media App

If you want to get started with social media app development, you should first be familiar with the types of social media apps. Here we will go through the detailed list of social media apps.

So, let’s start.

Social Networks
The ultimate purpose of social media apps is to connect people and make communities. Users are allowed to share content via text, images, and videos.

Example: Facebook

Media Sharing Apps
As the name suggests, these apps allow you to share content like photos, videos, and gifs online. Currently, media-sharing apps look similar to social networks. However, there is a slight difference between both. For instance, TikTok only focuses on sharing short videos, and YouTube focuses on long-format videos.

Examples: Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube

Discussion Forums
It is a type of social media app that allows users to initiate a discussion, post requests, and obtain answers from other members of the community.

Examples: Reddit, Quora

Content Sharing Networks
These apps allow users to save and manage links to various websites online. It also allows users to keep links in different folders based on the topic. Moreover, people worldwide utilize these apps to get new ideas and inspiration.

Examples: Pinterest, Flipboard

Consumer Review Networks
These apps allow users to share reviews regarding any company, business, brand, product, cafe, restaurant, and more. These networks are highly beneficial for companies as they collect feedback from the users and improve their networks accordingly. There are various review networks, such as restaurants, hotels, and more.

Examples: TripAdvisor and Yelp

Interest-based networks
These networks connect users depending on their interests, hobbies, skills, education, and more.

Example: LinkedIn

Blogging & Publishing Networks
These types of apps allow users to write posts on topics they like. Here, users need to have proper writing skills to share knowledge on these networks.

Examples: Medium

After looking at the type of social media app, it is time to choose a suitable one that resonates well with your target audience. You should also have a strategy to satisfy the needs of the audience. But, it would be best if you remained adaptive to changes as your final product would be different from the initial stage.

It is really challenging to identify the right market & target audience. Hence, you should follow a strategy to create an app for a specific audience. When the app becomes successful for particular users, you should app the same thing to another.

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Step 2: Do Competitive Market Research

Market research plays a vital role in the success of any application. As a startup, you should closely observe your competitors. It would help if you analyzed how users interact with these apps, their excellent features, their USP (unique selling proposition), and what they aren’t yet providing.

By understanding the market, you can offer a social media app that fills the gap of running apps. You can move in the direction of building an app that has a unique place in the market.

Step 3: Choose a Suitable Niche

As we have looked at before, social media apps can be of different types. Similarly, social media apps can be made for a specific niche. For instance, social networking apps for doctors or content-sharing networks for fitness enthusiasts.

A better strategy is to create a social media app for a particular niche. Then expand your app for multiple niches or build a standard social media app.

We have recently created a social app known as Abha. It allows Bahai people worldwide to connect for friendship, spiritual relationships, and marriage.

Abha Case Studay

Step 4: Define Target Audience & Collect Feedback

After doing the market research and choosing your niche, it is essential to know about the target audience. All the people who will use your app fall under the target audience. But why?

It is always better to define the target audience and create an app that fulfills their needs rather than creating an app based on assumptions. It saves your time as well as effort.

For instance, if you are building a social media app for fitness enthusiasts, they will be interested to know about different exercises. However, they might be interested to know diet plans and more.

You can create a user persona to define your target audience. It includes user details like age, location, gender, income, location, and more.

You can conduct one-on-one interviews to know what the target audience wants. Besides this, you can create a customer journey map to become familiar with the audience’s behavior and obtain feedback about the app. A customer journey map includes a user persona, development timeline, actions, and future expectations.

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Step 5: Choose a Revenue Model

Your ultimate purpose behind creating a social media app is to make it profitable. Therefore, it is crucial for you to choose a revenue model that helps you generate good revenue in the long run. Here are revenue models you can implement in your social media app.

Various social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok work on this advertising model.

These apps benefit from the vast user base. They gather all the essential user details like age, gender, location, and interests. Further, the apps follow a data-driven approach to show relevant ads to targeted users.

Various businesses like to advertise after knowing about the total amount of traffic on the platform. Tiktok possesses 1 billion active users. Hence, many brands prefer to advertise on social media networks.

In-App Purchases
In order to generate revenue from users, several social media apps provide various stickers and filters at a specific price. It is one of the best ways to earn revenue for your application.

Freemium Model
In this monetization model, the users can download the app for free and access some of the primary features of the app. In order to access premium features, users need to pay a specific amount.

For example, Slack is a messaging app that allows organizations to communicate with the internal team. The app’s free version offers features like unlimited messaging, access to 90 days of message history, 10 integrations, and one-to-one audio & video conversions. If you want more features, you need to go with Slack Pro or the Business+ version.

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Step 6: Create a User-Friendly & Engaging Design

User experience plays a vital role in the success of any social media application. Hence, you should know the expectations of the users well and provide a custom experience through the social media app.

Tinder is one of the leading dating apps that match based on their profiles. However, the dating app improvised the algorithm in 2019 and allowed users to connect with other active users. Thus, it saved users precious time by not showing them inactive profiles.

When designing a social media app, ensure it is attractive and possesses essential functionality. People don’t like to use an app that has a cluttered and unorganized layout. Therefore, you should focus on designing an app that fulfills the needs of the audience and provides essential features.

The primary purpose here is to design an app for everyone involved in the ecosystem. For instance, Instagram allows users to upload photos, videos, and reels. However, it offers extensive tools to businesses & brands to advertise on the platform.

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Step 7: Create an MVP Version of the App

MVP stands for a minimum viable product. An MVP version consists of the basic features of the application. It is the most effective method that allows businesses & startups to test their app early in the market and collect feedback.

The majority of startups & businesses don’t like to get involved in technical & other issues that occur while building a full-fledged application. Moreover, they want to provide a practical experience to the users.

If you want to validate your app and analyze app security with minimum investment quickly, you should go with MVP app development.

Step 8: Collect User Feedback and Make a Full-Fledged App

There needs to be more than just launching your MVP app for the potential audience to make it successful. You have to gather feedback from the users. It helps you to determine what works well and what users expect from the social media application.

Considering the feedback you have obtained, you should resolve all the things according to the user’s behavior & needs. Moreover, you can also rely on analytics to understand the trends and the users’ needs.

You should convert your MVP into a full-fledged app based on obtained feedback and following mobile app development best practices.

Further, it is essential to continuously update your app to keep it alive and thriving among the audience.

Step 9: Promote Your Social Media App

After developing your social media app, you might think your task is over. However, the actual thing starts after that. You need to promote your application to make it successful.

There are various ways to promote your social media app. Here we will look at some of the best ways to promote your social media app.

App Store Optimization (ASO): When your app is submitted to the app store, you should start working on its optimization. In the ASO, you need to look after various things like app name & title, keywords, description, and subtitle. By optimizing your app in the right way, you can reach a wider audience and increase downloads. To know more, check our guide on App Store optimization.

Organic User Acquisition (OUA): It is the procedure of acquiring new users on your social media app without investing anything directly. Here, you focus on various things like blogs, product videos, and more.

Paid Ads: You can advertise on Google and various social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, etc., to create awareness about your social media app. It further helps you to acquire more users.

Influencer Marketing: It is a type of social media strategy in which an influencer gets a payout for promoting a brand’s product through their videos or images. Collaborating with the social media influencer is one of the best ways to reach out to the potential audience. This marketing strategy is beneficial if you get an influencer whose target audience matches your brand.

Partnership Promotions: By collaborating with apps that are well-known among your target audience, you can get new users on the application. These partnerships would be either free or paid. Several examples of successful co-branding partnerships are GoPro & Redbull and Apple & Nike.

After looking at the process of building a social media app, we will look at the key features of social media apps.

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9 Features You Should Include in Your Social Media App

Every social media app is catered to serve people with different age groups. For instance, Instagram is highly catered toward lifestyle influencers, while TikTok is made especially for fun videos. However, some specific sets of features remain common in social media apps.

Here are the key features you should include in your social media app.

1. Sign-in
Enable users to sign up to your social media app using email or phone number. Further, you should also provide an onboarding tutorial to the users so that they can access the app efficiently.

2. User Profile
A user profile enables users to add details about themselves, like their name, photo, and location. Depending on the type of social media app you develop, you can also allow users to customize their profile by adding details about their interests, personal preferences, and more.

3. Search
It allows users to look for people, groups, pages, and other related content in the social media app.

4. Content Feed
It is one of the most crucial parts of the social media app through which users remain updated with what their friends & other people post on the app. This feature should be well-designed and attractive to keep the users hooked to your social media app.

5. Content Uploading
It is a feature that allows users to upload different types of content, such as videos, photos, or GIFs. There should also be a feature through which users can edit their uploaded content without any hindrance.

6. Posts
Users can create a post, add context to their post, and share it with their friends on the social media application.

7. Chat
Chat is the most essential feature without which your social media app is incomplete. It allows users to do in-app messaging with other members on the app through various ways like text, photos, and videos.

8. User Interaction
Social media apps should keep users engaged by providing better interaction. You can achieve this by allowing users to like, comment, share, and more.

9. Push Notifications
It is essential to alert users about events such as messages, updates, posts, subscribers, friend requests, and more.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Social Media App?

The cost to build a social media application is about $30,000 to $60,000 for a single operating system (Android/ iOS). The cost depends on various factors such as the complexity, features & functionality, development approach (hybrid or native), design complexity, location & experience of the development company you hire, and more.

The cost of building a simple social media app like an MVP and a full-fledged app will be different. It can be determined based on the total number of hours required to build a simple and full-fledged app version. Let us look at it.


Simple App (MVP)

Full-fledged App

Business Analysts + UX Strategy

50-80 hrs

120-140 hours

Technical Specification

20-30 hrs

40-60 hrs

UI/UX (for one platform)

60-90 hrs

110-150 hrs

Development (Android or iOS)

500-550 hrs

800-850 hrs


200-250 hrs

600-800 hrs


160-180 hrs

300-350 hrs


990 – 1,180 hrs

1,970-2,350 hrs

The development time mentioned above is just the estimate of social media app development. The total time depends on the number of platforms, complexity, number of features, design complexity, etc.

To know the estimated development cost, you should determine the development cost based on the outsourcing location. Here is the average hourly rate of developers in different regions worldwide.

Country/Region Average Hourly Rate
USA $80 – 150
Western Europe (Germany) $50 – 100
UK $100 – 150
Eastern Europe (Ukraine) $30 – 60
Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and more) $15 – 30

If you want to develop an app from the USA, it will be three times more than in Asia. Developing a social media app in the USA would cost around $1,50,000. However, building a social media app in Asia would cost about $50,000.

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We hope you have understood the streamlined process of creating a social media app. We have also given the estimated cost of building a social media app.

If you have decided to make a social media app but don’t know where to start, feel free to contact us.

Guru TechnoLabs is a leading mobile app development company. We have a highly experienced team of developers. Having years of experience in the mobile app development field, we understand your idea and deliver a social media app that helps you reach potential users and achieve your business goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are various ways through which you can earn money with social media apps. If you decide to keep the app free, you can earn money by showing ads to the users. A freemium app enables you to generate money by providing some additional features in the premium version. Lastly, in-app purchases allow you to generate a good amount of money.

The total time to build a social media app is around 3 to 6 months. Further, the development timeline varies based on the complexity, features & functionalities, development company location & experience, third-party integrations, and more.

The demand for video content, the use of Artificial Intelligence, targeted advertising, tailor-made content, influencer marketing, and the growth of social commerce are some of the modern social media trends. It is also expected that the use of these trends will grow in social media apps. But, it is suggested to only consider trends that are relevant to your potential audience and work well with your app.

We recommend you not include a comprehensive range of features in your social media app. Check out your target audience, know their needs and pains, and provide them with relevant solutions. Usability is essential in the app and should be completely taken care of to give the best user experience. The best approach is to integrate standard features in the social media app and include extra features purposefully.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

Ravi Makhija is an entrepreneur, an IT professional, tech geek, founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. He loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in the IT field.