How to Make a Social Media App: A Complete Guide

Published On: December 13, 2022
Last Updated: July 31, 2023
How to Make a Social Media App: A Complete Guide

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.

Some of the most popular social media apps are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and so on. These social media platforms have the ability to redefine the media, culture, education, politics, and business.

There are billions of active users across various platforms, and businesses recognize the immense potential of social media apps to strengthen their online presence with customers.

Considering the success of these apps, are you also thinking of building a social media app but don’t know how to build it?Don’t worry; you have reached the right place.

In this blog, 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.

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

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Step 2: Define Niche & Your Target Audience

To be clear in the development stage, you need to first understand what you want to create and for whom you will create it. So let’s explore some steps you need to take before creating a social media app.

Do Competitive Market Research
Market research plays a vital role in the success of any application. As a business owner, 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. It allows you to move in the direction of building an app that has a unique place in the market.

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

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

We have created a social app known as Abha. It allows Bahai people worldwide to connect for friendship, spiritual relationships, and marriage. Check out the detailed case study of the Abha social app.

Define Target Audience & Collect Feedback
After doing 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 3: 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 4: Come Up with a USP & Strategy

Knowing how to make a social media app is only the beginning of a journey. Defining a strong USP and developing a comprehensive strategy is essential for the success and sustainability of your app.

Your USP should clearly communicate the benefits and value your social media app provides users. Consider what makes your app different by doing a SWOT analysis.

Decide what problem your app addresses for users, how it will stand out among competitors, and what value it offers. Through SWOT analysis, you can identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to your business.

Once you have a well-defined USP, build a comprehensive strategy around it to guide your app’s development, user experience and marketing efforts.

Also, continuously refine your USP based on user feedback to improve your app’s performance and user satisfaction.

Step 5: Define Features for Your Social Media App

Every social media app development is different. But, there are some of the standard features among such applications.

So let’s look at some of the basic features.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

Now, let’s look at features to develop for admins

Admin Registration and Authorization
Allow users to create an admin account using email or phone number and sign in securely to access the admin panel.

Super Admin
Super admins have access to all the admin accounts and manage other admins. They can also create new accounts for new admins and restrict certain access to the admin panel.

User Management
Allow admins to manage user accounts, including blocking or restricting users when necessary, and mitigate their posted content.

Reported User Management
Provide tools for admins to handle user reports and manage users involved in reported issues.

Content Moderation Management
It allows admins to review and moderate user-generated content to ensure it adheres to the platform’s guidelines and policies.

And many more

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 cost of developing social media apps.

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

The cost to build a social media application is about $15,000 to $60,000.

The cost depends on various factors such as the complexity, features & functionality, development approach (hybrid or native), and design complexity.

The price range also differs according to the location & experience of the development company you hire.

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 $150K. However, building a social media app in Asia would cost around $30,000.

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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.