In 2020, over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025. This means that over a third of the world’s population is using some form of social media. Social media is a commonplace platform for communication today, have you ever considered how to create own social media app?
Building your first social media app can be a challenging experience. To get you started, we’ve compiled this introductory guide.
We compiled a list of seven must-have features to keep in mind when you develop your own custom social networking app.
Using existing login information from a social network provider like Facebook, Twitter, or Google, the user can sign in to your app instead of creating a new account. This simplifies registrations and logins for end users.
Users look for features that help them to edit the design and styling of the public profile. The app should include some tools and features like customization of profile pictures, cover photo, nicknames, etc.
Users love to connect with their friends and see what they are up to. Social media app developers should create features to allow finding and inviting friends with one click. Also, it should intelligently suggest them based on their shared connectivity as Facebook or Twitter do.
Newsfeed involves different types of updates, content delivery network, ways to interact with the content, means to report inappropriate postings etc.
The content can be shown in chronological order. Or you can use complex algorithms to customize the feed and arrange the news based on its importance to a specific user. Some apps also offer personalized content suggestions, using machine learning algorithms to determine your preferences and interests.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are arranging their newsfeeds from the most to the least important.
To develop a full-featured app that does so much more than just messaging, it is necessary to integrate with third-party services. The users don’t have to switch between apps if your app will be more akin to a blend of messaging, social gaming, and social media. You can include the following services:
Most users will rather not let anyone know about their interaction. For those reasons, we advise you to include in the social networking apps built-in services for secure private communication.
To make social media apps more engaging, you can integrate various filters and effects to the photo or video. For example, Instagram and Snapchat have a bunch of custom AR filters.
To achieve additional advantages, you should allow users to edit their pictures in a social media app. For example, you can offer such options as crop and rotate images, remove unnecessary objects, create a collage, and more.
This feature allows the app to analyze the user location and shows content posted by other users with the same location. Also, users can add their whereabouts to the photo or video.
So you have an idea and understand the essential features of the app. Let’s move to the direct creation of the application.
We highly recommend you to start with the MVP or minimum viable product. MVP is a product with enough features to satisfy the initial customers and provide feedback for future development. A minimum viable product approach helps to announce the product rapidly, and save time and money. Once validation is finished, you can finalize the product.
At this stage, you have to define the requirements and the final outcome you want. Also, determine the target audience and what will attract them to use your app. It’s important to know the need of your users to find a special niche while developing a social media app for mobile.
A clickable prototype is a working model of a future application which provides a better understanding of the product. It is much easier to edit an idea and bring changes to it before the development process is started.
There are two sides to development: the client side (front-end) and the server side (backed).
Front-end involves everything users see on their screens. For Android development, the application needs to be written in Java, while iOS requires Swift or Objective-C. This immediately calls for creating two very different app versions, one for each platform.
If you choose the cross-platform approach, we recommend to use frameworks for cross-platform development. For example, React Native.
Now your app has been defined pretty clearly, and it is time to get started on the back-end of your system. You have to set up servers, databases, APIs, and storage solutions.
Let’s mention some popular programming languages and their major frameworks:
Your application needs a place to store its data, and that’s what a database is used for. There are two types of databases: relational such as SQLite, MySQL, PostgreSQL, or NoSQL and non-relational like MongoDB.
All back-end tech stacks include the following main parts:
But, we should note that when choosing the right back-end technology, you do not always need to select each component separately. There are already several back-end stacks where the components have proved to form the most optimal development environment. Let’s see the most popular technology stack examples that web developers use:
Switch for a moment from reading to video, and check some great suggestions of how to build apps by Alexey Grakov.
Run testing at every stage of the development process. By testing, you will not only check any errors in the code but test the UX of the project.
The alpha-testing (developers + testing team) includes the following steps:
You can also run beta-testing (by actual users). Use beta-testing platforms, for example, Reddit allows one to invite users to beta-test a new application.
After previous stages are done, you have to publish a complete product on App Store and Google Play.
These marketplaces have very different policies when it comes to publishing a new app. Android does not review newly submitted apps right away. They’ll pass by at some point and check it out, but you are able to instantly add your app to Google Play.
IOS is different here. Apple reserves the right to review and approve your app before it can go live. There is no set timeframe for this, but you can expect at least a week before you hear back from them.
To analyze a social media app, you can use the metrics that track engagement and help to make the right decision. Following are some essential ones:
CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) is the cost associated in convincing a customer to buy a product/service. This cost is incurred by the organization to convince a potential customer.
If you want to receive a full tech stack for an app, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s take a closer look at monetization and development cost.
Building apps is a business, and you need to earn money to keep going. But, with a number of options available for monetization, what tactic should you adopt?
The following video explains how to monetize your app.
The costs of building social media app can range from $25k to $250k, depending on features you want to add. The more features and the more robust infrastructure you plan to implement — the higher the development costs will be.
Here are some approximate development cost estimates of the most popular social apps:
Note, MVPs will cost you at least half of that.
Now you know the basic steps of social media app development.
Want to make an app for social media or integrate social features, but don’t want to spend time on and programming? VironIT services can be very useful. Our team has vast expertise in iOS, Android, and web applications development and chatbots launching. If you want more information, please contact us.