How to Make a Social Media App?
In this blog post, we will answer the big question “how to make a social media app”. Once you are equipped with technicalities, we will help you build one from scratch. Take your tea, sit back and read this article just like you would read your favorite story. Leave the hard job on us! We will meet the challenge.
What a Social Network is and the Benefits of Creating a Social Network
What do social networks do? In fact, they connect people online. People get connected with their friends, family, colleagues, and even complete strangers.
Are there any benefits in creating a social network? Sure there are! Otherwise, so many apps would not generate 6 or even 9-figure revenue annually. So, what are the benefits of creating a social network?
Simple statistics will answer this question. According to LudosLn.net, 96% are influenced by the e-reputation of the brand when they buy online. This means that the best way to communicate with your audience is by building a community around your brand. Ultimately, you can provide the information to your audience whenever they want and in whatever shape they prefer. Definitely, those who own a social networking app are at a competitive advantage in this virtual world.
Social Media Apps: the Growing Landscape
While Facebook (currently Meta) is the dominant player in the social media space, there are some apps that are growing faster especially in China. Here is a list of the top social networks:
Facebook — 2,74 billion users
YouTube — 2,291 billion users
WhatsApp — 2,0 Billion users
Facebook Messenger — 1,3 Billion users
Instagram — 1,221 billion users
Weixin/WeChat — 1,213 billion users
TikTok — 689 million users
QQ — 617 million users
Douyin — 600 million users
Sina Weibo — 511 million users
Telegram — 500 million users
Snapchat — 498 million users
Reddit -430 million users.
There are various reasons why people engage in social media apps. Here are some:
- Connect with people
- Message privately
- Share content
- Share knowledge and news
- Shop online
- View and publish reviews
- Trade goods and services.
Accordingly, there are different types of social media apps. Here are some:
- Social networks
- Messaging apps
- Photo/media sharing
- Discussion forums
- Blogging and publishing networks
- Review networks
- Shopping networks
- Sharing economy networks.
When it comes to social media apps, data security is number one on the list in terms of people’s expectations. Privacy breaches are common and people want their accounts to be safe. If an app fails to meet this requirement, most probably soon it will be out of market.
People, especially the youth, are bored. They want entertainment. This is the reason for the success of social media apps like TikTok or Instagram and Twitter.
People want to get connected with their family and friends. Networking apps are quite popular since they provide an easy way of communication.
Steps to Build a Social Media App
In this part, we will focus on steps that will help you shape your idea. We will not concentrate on the technical part of the job as your development team will cope with it pretty well. Instead, we will guide you through the process of idea generation to product marketing. Here are the steps.
Define product/market fit
Some people think that if they had a lot of money, they could build something big. That’s not always true. It’s not the lack of capital that causes failure. According to CBInsights, startups mostly fail because of the lack of a market need. If you fail to prioritize the product/market fit, even the best idea may crash in the real world.
How to define the product/market fit? Firstly, you need to step into the user’s shoes and think in their mindset. Secondly, you need to communicate with them to find out what it is that they need or want. In fact, finding the right product/market fit is based on a lot of research and analysis and is driven by data.
Ready for the challenge? Then, some interesting and rewarding work is ahead of you.
Study the market
It’s not the right coding that makes an app successful. Rather, it’s the idea behind the app. And in order to come up with a great idea, you have to study the market.
- Who are my competitors?
- What makes them on top?
- Are there any gaps?
- How can I fill them?
- Who are my users?
- What are their needs?
- How can I meet them?
When you pose these questions and get precise answers to them, your job is half done. You know the strong and weak points of your competitors as well as the likes and dislikes of your users. Half of your success is guaranteed. But this takes a lot of research, including face-to-face interviews and not just mere assumptions.
Build an MVP
Now that you know what exactly you are after, it’s time to find a development team that can help you build an MVP.
MVP or Minimum Viable Product is the prototype of your service or product. It includes basic features but still the app is not in its final shape. Why do you need one?
Firstly, it’s cost-effective to build a prototype rather than to produce the final product right away. Secondly, MVP includes a thorough process of feedback analysis. Rather than enter the market with an untested product, MVP allows you to build on mistakes and make the corresponding adjustments.
In short, you will be much better off both in time, money, and efficiency if you build an MVP.
Now that you have collected all the feedback and made appropriate adjustments, leave the rest of the job to the development team.
Creating a Social Media App: Options
Now let’s dive into some technical matters. What are the options for creating a social media app? Basically, there are four. Given below is the breakdown.
Saas platforms are at the core of cloud-based social network builders. They contain social features that you can configure on your own app. Some SaaS solutions can be fully customized. You can select those components that you prefer for your social media site.
Open-source social networking software
You can download and configure the social media software on your server. There are options that are free and open-source or paid. If you compare these solutions with SaaS, these are more flexible and allow control over the platform better as the social site is fully hosted by the owner.
CMS with social network extension
You can build a social media site with popular CMS like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla. In this case, you use plugins that add social features to the CMS solution. Likewise, these solutions can be free, freemium, or paid.
Developing from scratch
Finally, you can develop a social media app from scratch. This is done in case the idea is unique and can’t be fully customized. The development company should be experienced in building social media sites.
Top Features of a Social Media App
Your features will determine how unique your social media app is. However, there are some features that are a must-have for any social media app. Here are the top features that you need to include in your app.
Simple and Easy User Interface
Needless to say that your app interface should not create any kind of difficulties for the users. It does not matter whether you target the youth or older people. They should be able to navigate easily and find whatever they need hassle-free.
Securing is on top of the mind of users. Very often people share information that they don’t want anyone else to have access to. Your app must be safe from malware attacks and identity theft.
Users want to create networks and your app should allow this feature.
Users want to share content. They should be able to post and send photos as well as comment on what is shared.
One of the top features of social media apps is to allow users to send and receive messages. It is a great idea to allow them to engage in group chats and video calls.
The Cost of Creating a Social Media App
Now that you are more or less familiar with the process of creating a social media app, let’s answer the big question, “How much does it cost to create a social media app?”
As I already mentioned, it’s better to start with an MVP. How much would an MVP for a social media app cost? If you do just a small search on Google, you will get dozens of answers to this question. Some developers would say it will cost you somewhere from $5,000 to $15,000. Others will tell you it will cost up to $150,000.
Why are these figures so different? There are many factors that determine the total cost of an app but there are two factors that are crucial. One is the complexity and the number of your app features. The more complex and multiple features you have, the more hours will be needed to develop the app.
The second factor is the location of your development team. Normally, developers in Asia and Eastern Europe charge less than in Western Europe, the USA, and Canada. For example, a development team in the USA may charge you 3 times more than a team in Armenia.
It’s important to note that you can find lots of top talents in the Eastern part of the world. So, don’t overlook this and be creative when you search for a team.
What Do You Need to Know to Create a Social Media App After All?
Let us think it over. What do you need to know to create a social media app? How to make a social media app? First, you need a fabulous idea. Ideas rule the market. The example of TikTok shows that a needed product will sell. You just need to find out what the market needs.
So, the first step is to study the market and understand the market needs. It takes a lot of online research, face-to-face interviews, expert advice, recommendation of friends, etc.
Second, you need an experienced development team that will create a fabulous UI and UX design. Your team should have a mobile presence and history behind its back.
Lastly, you need a rigorous marketing strategy to promote your app.
Seems easy? Believe me, it takes a lot of hard work and commitment both from your side and from the side of the development team.
Yes, it is the right time to build another social media app. And don’t be scared by their abundance. Even with industry giants like Facebook and Instagram, you still can compete in the market due to high market demand. We showcased that the market is ready for new apps. It’s your time to take the next step!