The power of social media is growing enormously and developing a social media app is a hot trend these days.
With the social media application market booming with opportunities, as an entrepreneur, you cannot miss the chance to be part of the fast-growing market.
In 2020 and beyond, new ideas and new opportunities can be shaped into brilliant social media apps. And, with the rapid development of technology, you can quickly transform your social app idea into a digital reality.
If you’re wondering how to create a social media app like Facebook or Instagram that can attract massive users, keep reading this guide. We will give you detailed insights on aspects such as social networking app development, social media application design, mobile app development, and more.
Let’s dive in!
The Growing Social Media Landscape—Stats
According to reports, more than 90% of millennials are social network users, and 80% of companies use social networks for marketing. With the power of growing social networking, you can expect the number of worldwide monthly active users to reach over 3 billion by 2021.
With active users of social platforms growing every day, it is prudent that you think of social media app development and become a dominant player.
Here’s a quick look at the existing social media landscape.
- When it came to the most popular global social networks in terms of active users in 2019—Facebook led the pack with (2414m) and YouTube with (2000m).
Image 1. Most Popular Social Networks Worldwide
(ranked by number of active users—in millions)
Image 2. Most Popular Mobile Social Networking Apps in the U.S.
(ranked by user engagement—in minutes per month)
The stats highlight some of the leading global players. You may find a plethora of social media platforms to choose from, but when creating a social media app, it is essential to find your niche.
The Social Media Niche
The most dominant social media players connect to users with diverse interests. So, users will always find a social media platform for their specific needs around specific interests.
As you are venturing into the development of a new social media, you have a brilliant advantage—and with apt research, you can serve your target group better. To develop a successful app, it is prudent that you research your target audience—the insights can help you craft intelligent solutions.
Types of Social Media Apps
Let’s find out the different categories of social media apps, which will help you finding your niche and identifying your competitors.
1. Social Network Apps
Think about it—users connect either for their personal needs or professional communication. The social networking apps such as Facebook and Twitter cater to personal connection, whereas LinkedIn is apt for professional networking.
The humanizing facet of apps is indispensable, and Ardath Albee, CEO of marketinginteractions.com, says: “Social Media gives us the opportunity to humanize our communications and make our companies more approachable.”
2. Media Sharing Networks
Users love to share media files—the files include photos, videos, GIF files, and more. With Instagram, YouTube, Imgur, Snapchat, and Vimeo sharing of various files is an enjoyable experience.
3. Community and Discussion Forums
It’s nice to have questions, even better, to have a community that shares insights, answers, experiences, ideas, and more. Platforms such as Quora and Reddit are apt in this category.
4. Networks for Consumer Reviews
Consumer reviews—when users’ lookout for reviews on businesses, such insights can be of great help. An excellent example in this category is Yelp.
5. Blogging Platforms
The go-to platforms such as Tumblr and Medium are exceedingly popular with users who love creating blogs and publishing content.
6. Anonymous Social Networks
Millennials, even better teens, love this category—apps include Whisper, After School, and Ask.fm.
7. Relationship Networks
Build connections with apps that help communication between people—dating services apps such as Badoo or Tinder are popular in the category.
8. Messenger Apps
Chatting with friends can be fun, and a messenger app can be the right choice. Attached to Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Viber, and more—social messaging apps have become increasingly popular over the years.
9. Bookmarking Networks
Users love discovering the content of other users, and it is even more useful if they can save it.
As users share their content, the discovery is an additional feature that makes this social media category attractive. Apps such as Pinterest, Flipboard, and Mix are apt in this category.
10. News Apps
News websites provide users with the latest news, and video streaming is quite popular. Flipboard and LifeHack are some cool apps in this category.
11. Interest-based Networks
Common interests, hobbies, and related experiences unite users—Goodreads and Last.fm are good examples in this category.
Once you choose the category in which you want to develop your social media app, it is easier to research the group and think of features to add. Keep an eye on trending features—you wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to add some brilliant features that can awe your customers.
Trending Features to Add in Your Social Media App
Adding cool features to your app is not only a necessity, but can also be fun. Pay close attention to social media trends and find the features that you must have in your app.
1. AR and Face Filters
Think about it—did you ever smile at some of the funny face filters? That’s right—the filters are excellent! Instagram and Snapchat are apps that incorporate these AR features, and you can check out the trendsetting feature on such apps.
2. Transient Content
Now it’s there, and in 24-hours—whoosh, it disappears. No, we’re not talking magic. It’s the type of content that stays live for some time, so you can add stories that vanish after a limited time.
With Snapchat and Instagram, you can experience the feature quite well.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Chatbots
AI and chatbots are still quite popular in the social media landscape, and the need for the feature will continue to grow.
4. Live Video Streaming
Users choose to watch live videos over reading posts, and the feature is getting increasingly popular.
5. Gen Z Psychology-Fused Features
The most influential audience is Gen Z, and researching this segment, understanding the psychology and needs can help create a useful social media app that caters brilliantly to this segment.
6. Multi-Language Support
Social networking apps need to transcend, making apps that reach an international audience. Consider Twitter, 49 percent of users select a preferred language that isn’t English, so market research will help in understanding the language support you will need for your app to attract users.
7. The Virtual Reality (VR) Shift
VR environments can be the future of social media interaction. With Facebook investing through Oculus, VR tech could enable people to interact in VR environments.
You will find plenty of opportunities to incorporate trending and cool features. It’s an exciting phase for social networking app development. So, the next question is how to create a social app that can attract massive users?
Let’s check out.
How to Create a Stunning Social Media App?
Creating a social media app can be challenging and fun. The systematic approach to creation can assure you a successful social media app. So, where to start?
The answer is simple—you can start with your story, start with your app idea.
Step 0. Knowing yourself and the market
It is very critical to start with knowing your strengths and brainstorm with your team to understand why you are venturing into creating a social media app.
It will help to do a SWOT analysis to understand your key strengths and weaknesses and also understand your competitors (threats).
Step 1. Strategy formulation
You have an exceptional social media app idea, that’s great! Now, you will need to formulate a complete strategy that will help with its successful development.
Based on the market analysis, you will get insights on your competitors, your target social media category, and the audience—this will help with the strategy formulation where you can set key performance indicators (KPIs).
Remember to include lead generation, user retention, and monetization techniques that will make your app stand out among millions. You can also try interviewing potential users and check out what features they would like and include trending features to create those aha-moments.
Step 2. Design workflows for your social networking app
The designing phase is as exciting as planning, as you can chalk out the future logic, the UI/UX of the screens, and the interaction. A good design can amaze your users, so it is critical to get it right.
Here are the steps to craft a perfect design workflow:
- Sketching and Wireframing
You could start with some quick basic outlines of the future application, assessing the subsequent logic, the number of screens, and developing visuals of the skeletal structure.
Prototyping, in short, is a working model of your social media app. The model is much easier to understand and is a great base to start the development process.
- Design App Skins
You will find wireframes converted in the social app design. You can keep an eye on trending features and UI/UX to get the best solutions for your potential users.
Step 3. MVP development and QA
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP)—a ready-to-use digital product that incorporates vital app features.
It is a good idea to have an MVP, as it helps to spend the development budget responsibly and avoid risks. In this phase, you can build your app backend, which involves setting up APIs, servers, and databases.
It is critical to have the QA team test the solutions. The MVPs help to generate early leads and also define future development vectors. Check out our blog on how to create the best MVP to learn more.
Step 4. Publishing and Marketing the app
The publishing phase will involve the creation of the promotional material, which includes video guides, screens, description writing, and more.
The stage is critical for the social apps for businesses to stand out at the Google Play Market and the Apple Store.
You must put your app in the right category with the correct tags, as this will help to reach your potential users.
The marketing phase will help you promote your app, which is essential to the success of the social media market. The stage includes promotional and selling essentials.
Step 5. Technical Support and Maintenance
The first feedback is quite significant—get ready to fix app errors and also update your app to incorporate new features and experience. Ensure that clients receive all types of support.
So, if you are wondering, how long does it take to make a social media app? There isn’t a straightforward answer. It could take almost 10 to 12 months, with 450 development hours to incorporate features.
The development time will also vary depending on the level of developer and designer expertise, choice of platform, and tech stack.
You can choose to approach a professional social media app development company such as Imaginovation who can turn your idea into a brilliant digital reality. The next question is how to monetize?
How to Monetize Your Social Media App?
So, how to make money from your social media app? You must have a proper monetization strategy in place to sustain longer in the market. Here are some techniques to get you started.
1. Direct Sales
Try and make direct sales to your social media audience. You will need to strike a balance between too much self-promotion with a balance of exciting content and an appealing product.
If your product has a visual nature—and visual appeal such as interior design, fashion, or real estate—you may consider direct sales.
2. Video Marketing
You can find excellent ways to make money through video marketing. The technique can involve ad revenue from racking up views, affiliate marketing, and influencer promotion.
The video content can be product-centric that drives high engagement and viewership, which helps to build a vast audience and make appealing brands.
The videos on YouTube get millions of views, which imply gaining passive revenue.
3. Lead Generation
Another important monetization method is trying to convert potential social media customers. You will find many ways to generate leads from social media, and it can get overwhelming.
Still, the key lessons are to give your prospective customers something appealing, engaging, and valuable as they enter into your sales funnel.
There are myriad ways to monetize your social audience, and you can actively utilize methods that work for you.
With ever-growing interests, occupations, and hobbies—there is room for new platforms to unite people. If you have a good idea for a social media app, then it’s time to put together your efforts to create a perfect and stunning app.
Check out our guide to know different monetization models for mobile apps.
So, get started and watch your social media app turn to brilliant digital solutions.
Social Media App Development Cost
Let’s come down to the financials for building your social media app. The costs depend on a few facets, such as:
- Number of features
- Technology stack
- Timelines set
- The project design (UI/UX design, custom development)
- Project management
- Quality assurance
- Business analysis
Now that the facets are plotted, it is time you think of development. It’s always a great idea to go with the best practices. One of the best practices is to try a lean-approach. So, you can build an MVP of a social media app.
Table 1. Approximate MVP for Social Media App Costs
|MVP Type||Development Time||Approx. Cost|
|Basic MVP app||2-3 months||$22,000|
|MVP app with additional features||4-6 months||$45,000|
|Sophisticated MVP app||> 6 months (ongoing)||$115,000|
Every app that you develop will be unique with its set of features and functions. Here’s a detailed break-up of what you can expect in terms of social media app development costs.
Table 2. Approximate Social Media App Development Costs
|Basic app||Medium app||Sophisticated app|
|Total (approx.) Costs to setup||$60,000+||$120,000+||$230,000+|
|Time to develop||3-5 months||4-9 months||9+ months (ongoing)|
Create Stunning Social Apps That Awe Users with Imaginovation
You have got a brilliant social media app idea—that’s great. Get ready to create a striking app with the expertise at Imaginovation. We have helped many entrepreneurs, startups, and enterprise businesses to build successful social media apps.
If you have an app idea and want to turn your idea into a digital reality, get in touch with us.
Last Updated: Dec 14, 2020