Binerals

Posted May 12, 2021
15 min read

Step-by-Step Guide to Create Your Own Social Network App

Social media is like the black and white stripes on a zebra’s back – their benefits are inseparable from their drawbacks. However, social media platforms dominate the tech market, and their influence is expected to grow. They promise a lot of business value and are likely to be adopted by modern users.

It will definitely be difficult to compete with globally leading social platforms, but you still can make some noise if there is a unique idea. In this article, we will tell you how to transform your idea into a winning social media solution.

How Do Social Media Apps Make Money?

How to start a social media app? The first thing to get started with is to create a business plan, paying special attention to the business model your future app will follow to make money.

Fortunately, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You just have to analyze life-proven business models and proceed with the one that suits your social startup idea best. Below, we have reviewed four main business models for tech solutions and backed them up with the social media platforms examples.

Advertising - Facebook and Instagram

This is a classical model for the apps that provide the opportunity to use all the features for free but still support their wellbeing on the market by charging other businesses for placing their ad on the platform. This is how Facebook and Instagram work – their features are free but running an ad campaign is paid.

Subscription - Elite Singles

This monetization strategy is suitable for the solutions with unique value propositions the users are willing to get and take advantage of right now. As a rule, such apps come with limited demo versions, and then the user has to either pay for the subscription or leave the app.

For example, Elite Singles, a premium dating website uses this strategy. It offers users to meet a potential partner for serious relations using a very smart matching algorithm and choosing candidates with high education, serious intentions, and other parameters that most dating apps lack.

Freemium Model - YouTube

According to this model, some of the features come for free but the advanced ones are paid. For example, you may watch YouTube videos unlimited and for free but you have to buy a subscription if you want to disable advertising.

Virtual Goods or Services - LinkedIn

If your company has specific expertise, you may sell it in a form of virtual goods or services. This is what LinkedIn does – it sells talent and marketing solutions, in addition to their Freemium approach. We also have a dedicated guide dwelling on LinkedIn-like social media development so feel free to make use of our research and insights.

What Do Modern Users Expect From the Social Media Platforms

If you want to create a social network app from scratch, you should know that you are going to work in a highly competitive environment. Social media platforms are on the rise, so before getting started, you should find out a few important expectations modern social media users have.

  • Mobile-friendliness. Since most of the social media traffic comes from mobile, there is a clear need to build a social media app with the mobile experience in mind.
  • Paid subscriptions instead of advertising. A lot of users are already tired of useless content and advertising. Some of them would be glad to pay for cutting these things off but in this case, you should be very clear with your value proposition.
  • Data protection. There were a lot of issues with Facebook data breaches. The recent ClubHouse data leak also clearly points to the necessity to pay more attention to data security. In the modern social media landscape, it could be one more competitive advantage.
  • Diverse features for interaction. Interacting with other users is the main goal of any social media platform, so make sure to carefully think of the features you will develop to make your users’ experience interactive and engaging.

And some more purely psychological moments which you need to keep in mind as well. The first one – people love the feeling of belonging to a certain group they feel safe, appreciated, and respected in. ClubHouse is the simplest example of this desire realization with the help of invitation-only social media. Secondly, people love to show off. Take a look at the statements below:

  • “I got a dream job” – LinkedIn
  • “I’m in a luxurious hotel” – Instagram
  • “Here is my cat” – Facebook
  • “I have so many things to say you” – YouTube
  • “I dance well” – TikTok

Different statements, different social media but the same message – people need the opportunity to brag. It is at the heart of any social media. Think about it in your free time, and let’s proceed with the ways to make your own social media app.

Discuss your social app idea with our experts Request an NDA

How to Create a Social Media App in 9 Steps

Let’s do it together.

1. Get Started By Doing an Ultimate Business Analysis

Skipping the business analysis stage is quite a crucial mistake in any solution development. This is just the process that allows for evaluating your idea, validating it taking market specifics and users’ preferences into account, matching it with your business development strategy, and finding the smartest ways to create such a social platform that will solve a certain problem, make users engaged and drive profits.

2. Focus on Your Core Value and Match It With Your Business Model

Developing a value proposition for social media is quite a challenge. It seems that there is no opportunity to come up with something new when the App Store and Play Market are already teeming with social solutions of different kinds.
At this stage, you have to employ all the creativity you are capable of but make sure to be guided by the results of your business analysis. Such an ultimate approach will allow you to create a value proposition that will be swallowed by the market and match it with the business model that seems the most profitable.

3. Validate Your Idea One More Time

At this step, you have to prove your concept. Your Proof of Concept (POC) is a document dwelling on the fact that your idea is possible to implement in real life and it will work in the way you expected. It also highlights the resources you need to develop your solution, the set of necessary tools, technologies, and talents, plus it may state the business feasibility of your startup.

Your Proof of Concept is important since it allows for making sure that there are no loopholes in your development strategy. Very often, it also reveals the opportunities for additional improvement and allows you to avoid costly mistakes in the early development stages.

4. Outline the List of Necessary Features

Depending on the specifics of your solution, the set of features will be specific as well. However, there is a set of features that is common for all social media apps. These are: 

  • Registration/Sign in
  • Personal profile
  • Chat and voice messaging
  • Newsfeed
  • Push notification
  • Video streaming
  • Security features

Also, add one core feature that makes your future social app unique. It will power your MVP.

5. Develop Your First UI Design Prototype and Test It

After you are clear with the features set, look for ways to embed them into a convenient interface, created according to the latest social media trends. By the way, as for the trends – analyze them in advance and don’t follow them blindly.

For example, Stories are quite trendy. Inspired by Instagram, they are already adopted by LinkedIn. But do they really make sense in a professional networking platform? In a nutshell, make sure the trend you want to follow improves your UX and UI, and the corresponding feature is really necessary but not only trendy.

After you are done, test your prototype with your users with the help of heat mapping and user acceptance testing.

6. Develop a Minimum Viable Product and Test It

Creating an MVP has never been so essential as it is with social media app development. The preferences of social media users and the trends they would like to follow are quite difficult to predict. The only way to make some accurate predictions is to use AI but your MVP is exactly a tool to test the real market environment and get a first-hand response. Still, you should prepare for unexpected results and be ready to use the gained insights at the next development stage.

7. Create a Marketing Strategy and Test It

Promoting a social media app is one more essential task you have to deal with. Popularizing social media with the help of other social media seems weird, so think about using other approaches. For example, get started with SEO-optimized content, partner with industry influencers, and run targeted ads.

But make sure to test each of your marketing approaches. In the world of social media, trends are changing too quickly so the thing that worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.

8. Proceed With a Full-Fledged Social Media App Development

At this stage, you are almost done. The only thing remaining is to transform your MVP into a full-fledged application while keeping your users’ impressions in mind. At this point, some business owners tend to replace the development team thinking that the major part of the job is already behind. However, proceeding with the same development team would be wiser since they are already deeply immersed in your business, plus it is always easier to continue working with the code created by your own hands.

9. Launch, Support, Maintain and Scale

After your social media is launched, prepare for the never-ending job of its support and maintenance. The more users you will attract, the more efforts your development team will have to put in to keep your solution working well.

Scaling your business also means the necessity to scale your UX, adjust the working loads, localize your product and keep listening to your users’ opinion.

Technology Stack to Make a Social Media App

To find out what technologies and tools you need to make a social network app, let’s review what programming languages and frameworks are at the core of the most popular social platforms.

Python, Java, and Javascript are the most popular picks to make a social media app. We, at Binerals, may also suggest adding React and Relay for frontend development, plus Node.js and GraphQL for backend creation, however, the final choice will largely depend on your solution specifics that will become clear after competent business analysis.

In addition to tools and technologies, you will also need experienced social media application developers. The perfect and effective team to build social applications will look as follows:

  • Business Analyst
  • Front-end and back-end developers
  • Designers
  • Quality Assurance
  • Specialists
  • Marketing specialists.

Such a winning combo of tech-savvy professionals with a social media creation experience will allow you to develop a top-notch solution demanded by the market and modern users. We have them under our roof so you are welcome to get in touch with us for a free consultation.

How Much Can It Cost to Build Own Social Media App

As with any other solution development, the cost to create a social media app will largely depend on the technologies you choose, the complexity of your design, the number of features needed for an engaging interaction, and the location of your social network app development company. Creating your solution with the help of the company from top IT outsourcing destinations will allow you to significantly cut your cost while staying flexible and confident in the result.

However, choosing your development vendor may be challenging as well. We suggest partnering with those who are clear and transparent, especially when it comes to estimating your project development costs. Make sure they draw a clear line between the cost to create an MVP and the cost to come up with a full-fledged solution.

Estimating MVP development costs is quite real since, as a rule, it comes with quite a standardized set of features. Estimating the cost to create a complete solution is mostly impossible since the set of advanced features will be largely determined by the market response and your users’ feedback after your MVP is tested.

Here is an approximate cost breakdown to create an MVP for a social media app.

Ready to get started with your social media application development? Our tech team is right here to assist you. Schedule a free meeting with us to outline your development strategy already today! Contact us

Latest Trending Social Media Apps

Getting inspired by the globally popular social media and analyzing their phenomena would also be the right answer to how to make a social media app. We have outlined several industry-disrupting social platforms that are quite trendy in 2021.

TikTok

While TikTok isn’t a new app, its popularity continues to grow. This is a video creation and sharing platform that is especially popular among young audiences. TikTok manages to combine the opportunities to watch videos with communication tools, plus supplied the app with a set of interesting video editing features and a powerful content recommendation engine.

ClubHouse

ClubHouse made a lot of noise in March 2021, and even more in April 2021, after the data leak. ClubHouse has quickly become a new social media trend, but the root cause of this phenomenon is very simple. It is a sense of belonging and exclusivity. Since the application is available by invitation only, its use was perceived as something elitist. Plus, ClubHouse is only available for iOS, that is, Android users are automatically cut off. And nevertheless:

  • ClubHouse has only 1 million users. And this is just the case when the less – the better.
  • ClubHouse was initially valued at $100 million.
  • ClubHouse has only 9 employees.

Likee

Being a Tik-Tok-similar application, Likee hosts a very young audience – most of the users are 5-12 years old. Despite the fact that the solution is quite popular, it may serve as an example of how not to develop a social media app for kids. The app demands too much personal data and has features that allow for tracking, spying, blackmailing, violence, and self-harm promotion.

Conclusion

Creating a social media application seems to be a hackneyed idea, however, the idea that will power your future solution matters most. The social media market is very dynamic and very competitive, plus the users’ preferences may change anytime under the influence of emerging and dying trends.

Creating such an app, you need to always keep your finger on the pulse of the market and its trends, but do not forget about the technical component. Our team can help with this challenging task by sharing and utilizing our experience in social network creation. Just ask us a question to find out what we can do for you!

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