How to create a social media app: A-Z guide

What is the only thing that unites 53% of the world's population? The right answer is… we all access social media daily. That’s correct, there are 4.2 billion people using various social networks worldwide. The market is dense yet wide.

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How to make a social media app
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If you’ve ever thought ‘How to make a social media app like Facebook or Instagram?’, ‘What should I consider’ or ‘When is the right time?’, we have some answers for you. You don’t need to know much and the right time for creating a social media app is now.   

At Purrweb, we have created a comprehensive and honest guide on social media app development, sharing key features, costs, and a timeline for a robust mobile application. Let’s get started!

What is a social media app?

Wikipedia gives this definition of social media: ‘Interactive digitally mediated technologies that facilitate the creation or sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.’

We would simplify it and put it this way: 

A social media app is a platform that allows people to generate and instantly share content. It also connects people worldwide with messaging and commenting features.

There are around 4.2 billion users of social media globally, and the traffic is split by hundreds of social media apps and websites. According to stats, an average person has an account on at least 8 different social media platforms. 

How does social media make money?

Overall, there are two popular strategies for social media apps to generate revenue: ads and premium subscriptions. Let’s dive into two examples and break them down!

Ads — Facebook

Nowadays many social networks have an ads manager to run promo campaigns on the platform. Probably the biggest player in the game is Facebook that allows a business profile to create ads to promote their content and choose the audience that the post will be targeted at. This strategy proved to be profitable and in 2021, the social network is expected to earn 94.69 billion U.S. dollars in ad revenues only.In fact, ads on such platforms have become a huge industry. Not only does Facebook benefit from it,  but users also do too. Just think that if not for social media, the target specialist job would never exist 😁  This is one piece of advice on how to build a social media app that makes money.

Premium subscription — LinkedIn

Another way to get some money out of social media apps is to offer users premium services for a fee. Take a look at LinkedIn — they display who visited your profile. If you stalk someone and don’t want them to find out, the only way to hide whose accounts you browse is to buy LinkedIn Premium for a price ranging from $29.99 to $119.95.

Types of social media apps

Before questioning how to make a social media app, it is important to know what types of platforms exist to bring the most benefits to your solution. Obviously, there are much more types of social media networks, but we chose 4 that generate the most buzz:

  • Social Networking apps: Facebook, LinkedIn. They connect people and give them a platform to share posts and news publicly.
  • Media Sharing apps: Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat. This includes apps that are built around content.
  • Discussion/Community Building apps: Reddit, Quora. These are platforms where people mostly talk to each other in groups and ask questions.
  • Bookmarking content apps: Pinterest. Social media where you can pin and save elements, for example, pictures or texts.
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Key features of a social media app

Sign in & onboarding

This is the first page users see when they open your solution. Here are some tips from us: when you create a social media app, make sure the registration form is short and simple, elements are located in the center of the page and there are clear instructions on future steps to becoming a user. 

How to make a social media app — Twitter, Reddit

Minimalistic and clear sign-in form from Twitter(on the left)  —users need an e-mail or a phone number. Also, a completely different approach from Reddit (on the right) with third-party integration.

Also, we recommend adding several options to sign in. For example, with a phone number, email & password or Facebook/Google accounts.

Profile settings

After a user signs in, they will likely go to their profile to set it up and make the page more personal. Keep an eye on settings such as a username, profile photo, language functionality, and content preferences.

How to make a social media app — Facebook

Customizing a profile is always a lot of fun for users. Facebook even allows you to add your hobbies and favorite photos to let people get to know you better.

Messaging functionality

How to build a social network app without a messenger? Impossible! Chats are vital to the social network functionality that connects people. The ability to exchange text messages, photos, videos or voice memos is a must, no matter the focus of your social media app.

How to make a social media app — messenger

Nowadays every social media app has a messenger. In Facebook’s case, it is even a separate app.

Content creation functionality

Depending on the type of app you have, users should be able to create text, photo, or video content, add filters, stickers, and sounds like TikTok, to spice the content up.

How to make a social media app — Instagram

On Instagram, you can edit a photo, for example, change contrast or add shadows. No Photoshop needed!

Push notifications

Notifications are tools to keep a user engaged and aware of new messages, events or comments. However, to increase the satisfaction of the users, let them decide on the frequency of these notifications and choose what they want to hear about — new texts, comments, or friends’ suggestions.

Third-party social network integration

How many social media apps do you have on your phone? Let’s be honest, everyone uses several platforms, so don’t be afraid of your competitors!

To make the sign-in process smoother and boost content sharing, we advise you to connect your app to other networks, especially with monsters like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

How to make a social media app — TikTok

TikTok encourages users to share content with other apps.

Does your social media app need an MVP?

The short answer is YES! MVP stands for a minimum viable product and is the first version of your solution. It is used to get feedback from real users and see if your idea meets the market’s needs.

Why is MVP important? Imagine you come up with an idea, invest a fortune into app development and in the end your solution fails because it is not what people need right now or it is too unclear to use. To prevent this scenario, we recommend starting with MVP first to test your idea for less cost and time.

How to find a developer for an MVP? 

After thinking about how to create a social media app, the second thought is who is going to execute the plan. Choosing the right social media app developer is crucial for the success of the whole idea. Here are 3 tips from us on how to pick your contractor: 

Know the business goals of your project

When you are aware of what you want in terms of the company’s development, it will be easier for you to choose a type of development and plan what resources and experts you need. For instance, ask yourself how you will scale up your startup and broaden your target audiences? Plus, when you know your project well, you can pass this knowledge to your developer instead of creating volumes of requirements and requests.

Set up an interview with a prospective team

Always meet with your future developers online and ask them to talk you through their portfolio and previous projects.

Choose a full-cycle team over freelancers

Instead of hiring and controlling single freelance specialists, pick a team that has a versatile set of experts — developers, designers, QA engineers, and project managers to provide all-around support to your solution. Moreover, a skillful team will get you practical tips on how to make a social media app the best one in terms of user experience and flow.

Let’s start developing your social media app today!
We can build your MVP in 4 months, and it’ll cost you around $40,000. Contact us and get a free project estimation in 48 hours.
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Costs and timeline

How to make a social media app without spending a fortune, and is it even possible in 2021? Yes, it is! At Purrweb we develop social media apps with different budgets and offer a free estimation of your MVP project.

The time frame is different for every solution and depends on the complexity of the app. Transparent communication is our priority, and that’s why we usually start with providing the project cost and deadline estimation.

No more talking, let’s get straight to the point. Here is how much your social media can cost and how long it will take at Purrweb:

Stage What are we doing How long it takes Costs
Brief interview Discuss the idea of your app 1 day no costs
UI/UX design Plan and execute the interface, build a prototype 4 weeks $5 400
Development Create the interface as a user will see it. Deal with the architecture of the app an connect it with servers 10 weeks $40 500
QA testing Test the usability of your application Alongside development $6 000
Project management Chaperoning the project and solving administrative tasks Alongside development $4 100

Let’s wrap up

The social media audience is more than half of the world’s population. Sounds crazy, right? If you want to enter the market, there will surely be a place for you.

But how to make a social media app that will win a battle for users’ attention in 2023? Define the type of social media you want to make an app for, start with an MVP, choose a full-cycle team for development outsourcing, and relax — we will take care of the rest.

At Purrweb we work with different types of app development. We create robust solutions with a focus on cutting-edge UI/UX design to provide enhanced user experience for your startup. With us, the development of a social media app will take approximately 3 months. And social media app development cost will be around $56000. Hopefully, we managed to answer your questions on how to create a social media app and nail it!

Wanna step up and get a personalized estimation of your social media app? Fill in the quote and we will get back to you with more info!

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