How to Create a Social Media App

How to Create a Social Media App

07 September 2022 • 20 min read

Social media apps have drastically changed our day-to-day communication. Now you can share meaningful ideas on Twitter, express yourself on TikTok, and find new friends on Facebook. And this is merely a small part of what social media can offer.

As more and more people rely on social apps, the global market for social media grows exponentially. In 2026, this industry will reach more than $833 billion, showing annual growth of 39%.

Do you also want to build a social media app? Considering the lucrativeness of this sector and the incredible amount of 4.7 billion users globally, it’s a promising idea.

Today, we’ll discuss how to make a social media app from scratch. Must-have features and additional ones, tech stack, and UI/UX design best practices — all you need for your application to work out.

Softermii has profound experience in social media app development and can share valuable tips with you. Our products like Parta, Scrollme and Cococure are examples of such successful applications. So, let’s get started with our guide.

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Should You Build a Social Media App in 2022?

It may seem that the market is already flooded with social media mobile apps. There are, indeed, many of them. As a potential owner of a similar product, does it make sense for you to participate in this highly competitive niche and create your own social media app?

Of course, it does. Consider the example of TikTok, which recently blew up the entire social media industry. It was the fastest growing app in the US in 2020 and 2021, showing 87% and 18% user growth in those years, respectively.

As a result, TikTok already had over 1 billion monthly active users in 2021. It made this app rank 6th among the most popular social media products.

Build a social media app

People also have begun devoting much more time to social networks. In 2022, users spend an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes per day purely on social media. Just ten years ago, in 2012, this number was only one and a half hours a day.

How to create a social media

As you can see, people love social media. In such conditions, the modern market is working hard to provide ever-newer solutions that would grab users’ attention. So, engaging in social media application development is a highly relevant idea.

Common Types of Social Media Apps

If you aim to create a social media app, decide what type of product your concept fits into first. Depending on the app category, you will look for a target audience, choose features, and study your direct competitors.

The main social media app types are as follows:

Social Networks

In other words, these are connectivity apps. They aim to unite people. For example, on Facebook, you can search for friends or acquaintances by interests; on LinkedIn, employers can locate employees or vice versa.

Media Sharing Networks

These are platforms where users can share different types of content. For example, Instagram is primarily a photo-sharing app, while YouTube focuses on video.

Discussion Forums

These are social media platforms where some users can share experiences and knowledge with others. Quora and Reddit are decent examples of such products. There, people can ask questions and get answers or discuss topics that interest them.

Content-Sharing Networks

This type of network may seem similar to media sharing platforms. Yet, content-sharing platforms, also known as bookmarking apps, aim to spread inspiration and ideas. A great example is Pinterest.

Consumer Review Networks

Everything is quite transparent with these platforms: thanks to them, users can share reviews about restaurants, shops, goods, services, etc. For example, on TripAdvisor, people can give feedback on hotels, restaurants, and destinations, i.e., everything related to travel.

Blogging and Publishing Networks

Of course, we’ve heard a lot about YouTube bloggers or popular Tiktokers. Yet, there’s a category of social media platforms intended purely for publishing texts. For example, Medium is a community for modern writers or amateurs, where users can post materials on any topic.

Social Media App Features: Basic & Additional

The choice of features depends on the type of your application. For example, platforms for online conferences like our Events10x cannot do without audio and video calls. Or, if you want to make a social media app like Twitter, you need the add post feature.

We can divide the functionality into basic, without which it is impossible to build a social network app, and additional, specific to your platform.

Let’s go through the features briefly:

Basic Features

Imagine any social media app. There must be a signup and a user account, a newsfeed, messaging, search, the ability to like/share publications, add posts and receive notifications.

Additional Features

Additional features are the standout of your app. Depending on your concept, you choose the functionalities you need. But we can suggest paying attention to such features as voice and video calls, content editing, AR filters, or live streaming. Of course, there could be more.

9 Must-Have Features for Your Social Media App

Let’s discuss the basic features to develop a social media app in more detail.

1. Signup

You must allow your users to register an account. Make several options, such as registration via email and password, mobile phone and password, or login via other social networks such as Facebook. Also, integrate a forgot password feature.

2. User Profile

How to make a social media app

Give your users the ability to create and customize their profiles. Let them be able to add relevant information about themselves and set a profile picture. Also, it will be good if the user can see his friends/subscribers right from his account and be able to contact them.

3. Search

Search is also an integral feature of any social media app. It can be a search for other users or groups, as in Facebook, people to follow, as in Instagram, or a search for ideas, as in Pinterest.

4. Newsfeed

Create a social media app

Newsfeed lets your users keep up-to-date with the latest events or updates. For example, here, people can view new posts from other users.

5. Messaging

Of course, a social networking app cannot exist without a messaging feature. It’s how your users can conveniently communicate with each other regardless of the social platform’s type.

6. Post Publishing

Whether you’re developing a social media app, media sharing platform, or consumer review platform, you need a post feature. So your users can share ideas, updates about their lives, etc.

7. Post Like and Share

Make a social media app like Twitter

It would be great if some users could react to others’ posts. Therefore, do not forget about the ‘like’ button and the possibility of sharing publications.

8. Push Notifications

This feature will help keep your users engaged with your app. Thanks to it, they will always be informed about updates, new likes, or received messages.

9. CMS Features

How to make a social networking app without CMS features? - No way! Content management system features will help your users create and edit their posts. For example, on Instagram, users can change the post’s text after publishing it.

All these features are available on the most popular social platforms. For example, to make a social network app like Twitter, you need all of them in one place. Facebook makes it easy to find friends through advanced search, and Pinterest helps with fresh, inspiring ideas by just entering keywords in the search bar.

Additional Features for Your Social Network App

Now, let’s look at advanced features that may be used in social networking app development.

1. Voice Calls

Social media app development

Integrate this feature so your users can conveniently talk to each other. It is especially relevant if you want to build an app like Clubhouse.

2. Video Calls

Video calls further enhance the user interaction on your social platform. This feature is available on Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, and many other applications.

3. Secret Chats

Secret chats will be handy to provide your users with completely private, anonymous, and secure communication. Such conversations usually have a self-destruction timer and are protected by advanced encryption methods. This feature is popular in the Telegram messenger.

4. Live Streaming Features

Such a feature will allow your users to make live broadcasts in real-time and thus communicate with their followers or friends. Live streaming is available on Instagram and our platform Events10x.

5. AR Filters

Augmented reality is a real trend in social media. This feature allows you to use various masks, instant filters, or avatars that add more entertainment to your platform. AR filters are available and very popular on TikTok.

6. Media Content Editing

Social network app development

Let your users edit the photos, videos, and other content they post on your platform. It will appeal to many visitors to your app, as they will be able to edit content within one platform.

7. Short-Term Content

Short-term content helps attract more users as people don’t like to miss something new. This type of content is available as a Stories feature on Instagram.

8. Natural Language Processing

This feature is a must if you use a chatbot for customer support. NLP technologies will make it possible to give instant answers to the popular requests of your users.

9. Location-Based Content

A great networking tool is the ability to post content tied to a specific location. Thus, more users will be able to find each other according to their interests. Such a feature is available, for example, on TripAdvisor.

UI/UX Design Tips for Social Media Apps

It would help if you paid significant attention to the design during your social network app development. The better and more user-friendly your UI/UX is, the more users will want to open your app.

Get inspired by examples of other already successful applications such as Instagram or Pinterest. Yet, consider your platform type before researching the competition. It’s probably not worth getting inspired by Facebook since the navigation of this platform is quite confusing, and the design itself is somewhat archaic.

Consider the following tips to help you make the most of your platform design:

  • Adapt the design for different platforms, such as iOS and Android.
  • Use the same navigation bar with the profile icon, search, and notifications on all screens.
  • Add an infinite newsfeed scrolling.
  • Cultivate the idea of ​​minimalist design and focus on user needs.
  • Make your platform consistent across mobile and web versions if you plan to launch a web app.
  • Add a convenient search with the ability to configure various filters.
  • Give users the ability to customize their profile, for example, change the cover image like on Twitter or message colors like on Telegram.
  • Make the user’s profile picture round, making it easier to remember and focusing attention on the person’s face.

The Right Tech Stack to Build a Social Media App

After you have determined the type of application and the features necessary for its creation, you need to choose the technologies on which it will all work. Selecting the right technology stack is critical, as it directly affects the stability and social media app development cost.

Let’s examine the technologies needed for iOS and Android social network application development.

Tech Stack of a Social Media App for Android

To create a social media app for Android, you will potentially need to apply the following technologies:

  • Architecture: MVVM
  • Programming language: Java, Kotlin
  • Framework: Google Play Services
  • Library: RxJava2
  • UI: RecyclerView, Fragments

Tech Stack of a Social Media App for iOS

Now let’s look at the technologies for the iOS app:

  • Architecture: MVVM
  • Programming language: Swift, Objective-C
  • Framework: Dip
  • Library: RxSwift
  • UI: DTCollectionViewManager, LoadableViews

Social Networks App Development Cost + Timeframes

Several critical factors affect the final cost of building a social network application. In particular, it’s the number and complexity of features, selected tech stack, and the dev company’s rates.

We’ll estimate the cost and time needed to develop an MVP with basic functionality for you and discuss advanced features price as well. Look at the table below:

Social Media Application Development (Basic Features)

Feature

Backend

iOS

Android

Hours

Cost

Hours

Cost

Hours

Cost

Signup

6

$240

12

$480

12

$480

User Profile

8

$320

16

$640

16

$640

Search

30

$1200

20

$800

20

$800

Newsfeed

60

$2400

30

$1200

30

$1200

Messaging

15

$600

60

$2400

60

$2400

Post Publishing

20

$800

40

$1600

40

$1600

Post Like and Share

20

$800

20

$800

20

$800

Push Notifications

20

$800

20

$800

20

$800

CMS Features

50

$2000

40

$1600

40

$1600

Total:

229

$9160

258

$10320

258

$10320

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Let’s now look at the time and costs for additional features integration.

Social Media Application Development (Additional Features)

Feature

Backend

iOS

Android

Hours

Cost

Hours

Cost

Hours

Cost

Voice Calls

80

$3200

30

$1200

30

$1200

Video Calls

40

$1600

30

$1200

30

$1200

Secret Chats

30

$1200

20

$800

20

$800

Live Streaming

80

$3200

40

$1600

40

$1600

AR Filters

60

$2400

80

$3200

80

$3200

Media Content Editing

20

$800

100

$4000

100

$4000

Short-Term Content

40

$1600

60

$2400

60

$2400

NLP

90

$3600

40

$1600

40

$1600

Location-Based Content

20

$800

20

$800

20

$800

Total:

460

$18400

420

$16800

420

$16800

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In addition to producing features, social networking app developers integrate frameworks and libraries and create an admin panel. You will also need to take care of UI/UX design, quality assurance, project management, and DevOps processes. We have calculated the approximate cost and time in the table below.

Social Media Application Development

Dev process

Backend

iOS

Android

Hours

Cost

Hours

Cost

Hours

Cost

Basic Features

229

$9160

258

$10320

258

$10320

Additional Features

460

$18400

420

$16800

420

$16800

Admin Panel

20

$800

-

-

Frameworks and Libraries Integration

100

$4000

100

$4000

100

$4000

UI/UX Design

-

-

140

$5600

140

$5600

QA

100

$4000

220

$8800

220

$8800

Project Management

100

$4000

100

$4000

100

$4000

DevOps

80

$3200

80

$3200

80

$3200

Total:

1089

$43560

1318

$52720

1318

$52720

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However, the average cost of the ready-to-use tailor-made social media app may vary greatly depending on the needed features, team composition, deadlines and other significant factors. If you want the precise estimation of your project, contact us and get your project's cost calculations.

Softermii’s Experience in Social Network App Development

Softermii has extensive experience in developing social media applications. For more than seven years, we have been delivering efficient solutions that easily meet the target audience’s needs.

Our expertise includes both working with startups and established businesses. As a result, our social media app developers can build a product from scratch or improve an existing one.

Just take a look at our successful case studies.

Parta

Social media app developers

Imagine a universal social media application that can replace TikTok, Twitch, Clubhouse, and Zoom. All of this is possible with Parta, our mobile social networking app.

Our team made such a multi-purpose solution by integrating the following features: AI-generated newsfeed, video calls, private rooms, room moderation, following, live streaming, and broadcasting.

Our considerable achievements include the fastest possible development time. The Softermii team delivered an MVP in three months and the final version of the product in just seven months. We are also pleased to report that our app has received a positive response from the audience.

Cococure

Make a social network app like Twitter

Cococure is another decent example of a social media app we delivered. It is a networking tool for the African community in the UK.

For the convenience of communication, we implemented such features as chat, posting, tagging, geolocation, matching, and even referral credits for inviting friends. Moreover, in this app, you can search for events and buy tickets for them to become even closer with your friends.

Our app is popular in the UK, with over 5,000 downloads on Google Play.

Scrollme

Build a social network app

We know how to make an app like Tik-Tok. Scrollme is a decent example. Our team has created a video-based platform with extensive social media functionality.

We had to provide scalable architecture, private audio rooms, seamless scrolling and video feed, and cryptocurrency integration. But we did more than just that. Our experts enabled personalization, in-app store, and customizable 3D avatars. Thus, we created a whole ecosystem.

Final Thoughts

Create a social network app or not? It is a reminder that you definitely should make your own social media app.

With the number of social media users growing every year and the emergence of successful social media platforms, you too can succeed. Just define the type of your app and its distinct features and start bringing your concept to life.

For our part, our social media app development company is ready to help you. So, if you need social platform creation services, feel free to contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to choose the features for the social media app?

First, you need to determine what type of app you want to create. Accordingly, you will decide which features will give you a competitive advantage. However, regardless of the app category, there are mandatory basic features to integrate.

What trends should be followed when developing a social networking application to succeed?

Try to follow the latest technology trends in general. For example, AI-powered solutions and augmented reality are currently gathering steam. Video content precedes photos, so building your app around videos like TikTok is a good idea.

What to look for when choosing social media app developers?

First, you should ensure that the developers have experience with the development technologies you choose. Of course, previous experience in building social media applications is an advantage. Evaluate the software engineer’s portfolio and start cooperation if it meets your expectations.

How to reduce costs when creating a social networking app?

Our advice is to start small. First, create an MVP of your app and see how users react. If the audience responds positively to your platform, you can update your application and add new, more advanced features.

Is it possible to build a social networking app for less than $100,000?

Yes, it is possible. But remember that this will be an application with a minimum basic set of features. If you want to implement more advanced technological solutions, the cost of your social platform will increase.

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Business Analyst in IT: Roles & Responsibilities in Software Development
Andrii Horiachko

Business Analyst in IT: Roles & Responsibilities in Software Development

Andrii Horiachko, Co-Founder at Softermii

Business Analyst in IT: Roles & Responsibilities in Software Development

Business Analyst in IT: Roles & Responsibilities in Software Development

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