How to Create a Social Media App in 2023 – A Comprehensive Guide

Prateek Saxena April 30, 2024
An Ultimate Guide to Social Media App Development

In today’s digital landscape, you will hardly find a person who is not on social media platforms. Social media applications have completely changed our ways of communication. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yalla, TikTok. The list goes on and on. These social networking sites have the power to redefine the media, culture, education, politics, and business.

The latest figure shows that there are around 4.89 billion persons using social media accounts worldwide in 2023, a 6.5% increase from 2022, and this number is projected to increase about six billion by 2027.

Number of social media users worldwide from 2017 to 2027

Seeing the huge success and widespread popularity of social media platforms, you may find yourself contemplating the process of creating your own social media app. Well, if you are planning for social media app development but are not sure how to get started, you have come to the right place.

This social media platform development guide familiarizes you with everything you need to know before you move on to creating your own social media platform. This guide will also help you understand whether developing a social platform is a viable business decision. Let’s jump right into the details.

Why Should You Go for Social Media App Development in 2023?

As of 2022, the average social media users worldwide spend around 2 hours and 25 minutes daily on social networking sites. However, social network usage is different for men and women worldwide.

Which gender uses social media more by platform

The secret behind this ever-increasing use of social media platforms is their easy-to-use interface and an open forum that allows people to connect with one another from any corner of the world.

Essentially these features are the driving force behind the success of a social media app. But people have started to fall out of love with the stereotypical social applications as these sites have become a minefield of frustration for many creators, celebrities, politicians, and entrepreneurs alike.

Social Media Icons

Everything from trolling, data breaches, and distraction overload to constant algorithm updates contribute to the disenchantment of existing social media platforms. And people are looking for something better and newer options.

It is why when TikTok was launched in 2016, it became a huge hit among people of all genres in just a couple of years. Today, the TikTok application has more than 210 million downloads and over 1 billion active users.

Also Read: 10 Truly Fascinating TikTok Statistics 2022

Another best example of a successful social media app is MeWe, as it is gaining huge traction among users due to the privacy the app offers. Such apps connect users with people, groups, and communities already present in that social media network.

These figures indicate that people will fall in love with your social applications wholeheartedly if it caters to their needs and interests. So, you can choose to create a social media app, your own social space, dedicated to you and your community.

Market Prospects of Social Media Applications and Platforms

According to Kepios Reports, Facebook is the most used social media platform, with 2.963 billion monthly active users.

On average, six new users are added to the realm of social media platforms every second.

Market Prospects of Social Media Applications and Platforms

As of January 2023, there are 5.16 billion internet users worldwide. Of this total, 4.76 billion, or 59.4% of the world’s population, are social media users.

4.76 billion people use social media

According to Statista, the total number of social media users is estimated to reach 4.89 billion by the end of 2023.

As you can see, social media is a fast-growing industry that is only going to stay on top of all trends for years. It’s high time to grab the opportunity and create a social media platform to expand your business’ digital presence.

build a social media app that can surpass growth of Tiktok

Types of Social Media Platforms

Before you go ahead with your social media app development steps, it’s important to know what types of social media platforms will best suit your business. This understanding will help you with further market research, and you can easily set your brand audience, simultaneously offering complete functionality to your users.

Types of Social Media Platforms

Here are a few examples of different types of social media applications:

Social Networks

Leading Platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn

The primary objective of social network applications is to connect people worldwide. For instance, Facebook allows users to chat, voice/video call, and share thoughts with almost any other users. LinkedIn, a business networking app, helps connect professionals and acts as a job portal for users.

Media Sharing Networks

Leading Platforms: YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat

These applications allow users to share any media content online. Users can share photos, videos, reels, and perform live incidences, and connect with other users. The thin line between social networks and media sharing networks has started to blur out with recent updates. For instance, Instagram and Snapchat carry almost the same set of features as Facebook. Another instance is YouTube, where users only entertain video content.

[Also Read: How to Build an App Like Threads? Process, Features, Cost ]

Discussion Forums

Leading Platforms: Quora, Reddit

Social applications like Quora and Reddit allow users to raise questions, comment, answer queries, and share valuable information. These platforms have gained massive popularity in the past few years since a major chunk of the digital population prefers looking for solutions online.

Content Sharing Networks

Leading Platforms: Pinterest, Flipboard

Content sharing platforms like Pinterest and Flipboard work like bookmarking apps that allow users to save and organize resources of various content (website, image, video, etc.) These platforms have exciting features that have transformed the way of content consumption, empowering users to discover, save, and share content with the world.

[Also Read: How to develop an influencer marketing platform]

Now that you know the popular types of social applications and have determined your choice to build one for your business, it is time to uncover the essential features that will make your social media app a big hit in 2023.

Essential Features of a Social Media Application

Features significantly affect the social media app development cost. The more features you integrate into the application, the higher it will cost you. So, if you want to keep the cost within budget, you must be familiar with the must-have features you require for your social media app creation and the advanced features you can overlook at the initial stage.

Typically there are two different kinds of categories when it comes to social media app features- MVP and Advanced, and we are going to discuss both of these categories ahead.

MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

Features that are a must-have come under the MVP category. The MVP social media mobile platform features are described by functionalities of profiles, feeds, connections, and more.

must-have social media app features

UI/UX Design

Social media app design is an incredibly demanding feature since every user asks for a unique design pathway and easy-to-use interface. The trick is to settle on a design trend that most of your target audience would like. Here, you will need a knowledgeable social media platform development team to guide you through the entire process.

Profile

Profile creation is the first and foremost feature for all types of social media app development projects that allow users to add their information about name, age, gender, location, and photo, etc. The best way to create a user profile is to connect the app to an existing social media account through which the data can be retrieved. Another approach is the signup process, where you can fill in your user updates by entering your email id and password, but this requires more effort, which nowadays users don’t usually like.

Feeds

This is a central space of any social networking platform. Feed is the place where users share content in the form of videos, audio, photos, etc. Therefore, the social media app you are developing should be capable of sharing photos, videos, and status updates. You just need to upload, share the content, and specify the target audience you want to reach out to. Video-based social media apps like TikTok exhibit that sharing videos and similar content can help establish growth and presence easily.

Connections

The connection can be in the form of content, group, event, social network, SMS, address book, search, and recommendation. Content connection is totally dependent on the user. Users could be travelers, readers, or enthusiasts. Groups are communities where people are connected to one another at a large scale. Sending invites for an event or selling event tickets in social groups is the best way to monetize through social media apps. It also helps in growing connections in the social media domain.

Signup

You should offer customers several registration alternatives to make it easy for them to come to your site and register themselves. For instance, you can incorporate options like email and password, phone number and password, or guest user option. To make social networking apps more user-friendly and easy to understand, adding the ‘Forgot Password’ feature is important. For technology purposes, social media app developers can use Facebook or Google SDK, or Amazon SNS/ SES.

Chat

If you want to create a social media app like Whatsapp or Instagram, you must add an impressive chat feature. Integrating the feature of sending messages, images, or videos is essential for any social networking app development project. The integration of group chats and channels allows users to chat with two or more users together. You can use socket.io to create scalable chats.

Search Bar

Users need an easy-to-use search bar to find their friends or influencers to follow. For instance, it can be made possible to look by labels, user names, and locations.

Media Sharing

Such network applications permit users to share a wide range of media files (images, videos, GIFs, and so on). The most popular sites that support media-sharing features are Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Vimeo, and Imgur, among others.

Push Notifications

Push messages are useful for user engagement. The types of push messages that users can get include a new post from the community they are subscribed to, a new message, a response or remark to their post, and so much more.

Push Notifications

Advanced Features

Now, as you know the must have features of a social media app, you should comprehend the other advanced features that make your social app popular. People often believe that the more features your application has, the higher user engagement it will receive. However, it is not so. Integrating unnecessary features that don’t make sense to your business will just add to the complexity and cost of building a social media application. So, instead of piling up your application with so many stale set of features, you should focus on just the advanced set of functionalities your application essentially require.

Advanced Features of a social media app

Location-based content

This option lets you know what people are doing or at what place they are. This is done by tagging your location to the post, or you can find people who are in nearby locations and can socialize with them. The data is received through a location-based API which retrieves a particular location from your mobile network provider.

AR Filters

In order to make a social media app more unique, you can integrate certain filters into the videos and photos. For reference, Snapchat and Instagram have a bunch of AR filters that help attract users to the social media network to become a part of the trend. Not to forget that AR technology also offers a unique user experience.

Editing

It’s a great idea to allow users to edit their photos and videos in the social media app. You can integrate options to crop or rotate the image, trim the video, create a collage, etc.

Admin Panel

The Admin panel is typically the command center for the social application. With this centralized panel, you will have control over the entire system, features, and everything that happens within your social media app. You can also register new users, ban users in case of any violation and monitor the user behavior on the social network. Moreover, you can also go for analytics and advertising integrations, where you can advertise services and products and monitor the success of your application.

Also, check out:- 5 technologies and features that are taking social media platforms to the next evolution

Apart from all these basic and advanced features, you can also add features that align with your niche and are unique from your competitors. However, that requires thorough market research and analysis. Once you are aware of what features and functionalities you need in your social media application, you can build the best social media app development solutions for your target audience.

Explore our social media services

Social Media App Development Timelines

Knowing how much time your cross-platform, iOS, or Android social media app development project will take and when you can expect to bring your app to the market is essential. It will help you plan for a timely market launch, drive huge attention, and ensure the potential success of your app within a shorter span. So, let’s consider the development time of the backend part and get an estimated time range for each feature.

Feature (MVP and Advanced)Backend development time
Sign-in and Log-in50 – 54 hours
User Profile70 – 72 hours
Newsfeed60 – 62 hours
Search bar35 – 40 hours
Chat90 – 100 hours
Push notifications15 – 20 hours
Add post (media sharing)10 – 12 hours
Filters4 – 6 hours
Location based content10 – 15 hours
EditingIt depends on the editing options you provide
UI/UX designDepends on your niche and development team

Apart from these MVP and advanced features, there are other significant aspects you should take into consideration before moving to the custom social media app development stage.

FeaturesTotal Time (backend development)
Basic features (MVP)320 – 330 hours
Admin panel140 – 150 hours
DevOps40 – 50 hours
Quality assurance140 – 150 hours
Frameworks and libraries (tech stack)15 – 20 hours
Project management110 – 120 hours

On an average, it takes more than 1,000 hours to build an MVP version of your social application on a single platform.

You may like reading: How Much Does it Cost to Develop an Audiobook App?

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Social Media App?

Estimating the social media app development cost is crucial as it allows you to make financial preparations. To determine the cost, all you need to do is add the total backend development time and multiply the final figure by your development team’s hourly salary/rate. On average, the cost to create a social media app can range between $100,000 to $250,000, or more, depending on the complexity of your application.

The price range also differs according to the location and experience of your social media app  development services provider. However, make sure to put quality before the cost and partner with a reputed app development company (such as Appinventiv) for all your Android or ios social media app development project needs.

[Also Read: How much does it cost to build an app like WeChat]

How to Create a Social Media App – Team and Tech Stack

In order to build a social media app, you need a team of reliable professionals. Your development team must have:

  • Project manager
  • UI/UX designers
  • iOS/Android developers
  • Backend/frontend engineers
  • QA specialists

Understanding the process of how to develop a social media app can be a little confusing without discovering what technology stacks required to develop the type of app you are targeting. Considering it, here are some of the most popular tools and technologies required for your social media app development.

Development componentsAndroid social media app developmentiOS social media app developmentCross platform app development
Programming languageKotlin, JavaSwift, Objective-CKotlin, Java, Swift, Objective-C
NotificationsGoogle Cloud MessagingApple Push NotificationsGoogle Cloud Messaging, Apple Push Notification
Database managementMongoDB, SQL, MySQLCore Data, SQLiteMySQL, PostgreSQL, or MongoDB
IDEAndroid StudioXcodeXamarin
SDKAndroid SDKCocoa TouchXamarin
GeolocationGoogle Map APIMapKitGoogle Maps API, Mapbox, Geolocation API
AnalyticsAzure Stream Analytics, MixPanelApp Analytics, Firebase Analytics, Mixpanel, FlurryGoogle Analytics, Firebase Analytics, Mixpanel
AR filtersML KitARCore
StorageAmazon S3, Azure ServeriCloud, Amazon S3, Google Cloud StorageAmazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, Firebase Cloud Storage

Also Read: 5 Technologies Taking Social Media Towards Its Next Evolution Set

Social Media App Development Process

At this stage, social media app creation starts. The development of a social application is a meticulously crafted journey that involves strategic planning and careful execution of the same. It encompasses a series of essential social media app development steps, each playing a crucial role in bringing your vision to life.

Social Media App Development Process

Let’s discover the various stages of social media web app development:

Ideation and Conceptualization

The first and foremost step of social media app development starts with defining the purpose of your application, target audience, and value proposition. To do it, you need to conduct thorough market research, brainstorm ideas, and outline the core functionalities of your application that will set it apart from the crowd. Identify key milestones and set realistic goals to ensure a smooth development process.

Choose an App Development Company

Now, you need to choose a knowledgeable and experienced social network app development company (like Appinventiv) with a proven track record of delivering cutting-edge social media applications and a portfolio of past work. It will help you gain an understanding of their work and know how they can be your perfect tech partner in your journey of social media app development.

Read case study

Project Evaluation and Proposal

The app development company discusses your requirements and evaluates your projects to create a business proposal. This proposal serves as a preliminary roadmap of the social networking app development process, reflecting their understanding of your project and how the process will unfold. The proposal will also include the development timeline and technology stack they will use to create a social media platform.

Wireframe and Prototyping

In order to bring your vision into a reality that can best match your expectations for the application, the development company first creates a wireframe and prototype of the process. A competently designed wireframe is an assurance that the user can rapidly navigate and comprehend how the social media app will address their concerns. Also, it will help give you insights into the functionality of the forthcoming app without the need for actual software implementation.

Product Design

The next step is to draw and plan the social media app design of all the screens and the essential features of the social media (network) application. At Appinventiv, we utilize the suggestions of Google and Apple to design the application. We assemble illustrations that are understandable and convenient to create a design that will set your app apart.

Development Stage

Once the contract is set, designers send the final draft to the social media app developers so that they can finally start creating your masterpiece. The development phase unfolds through a structured timeline divided into sprints, with each sprint encompassing a duration of two weeks. 

At this stage, developers build a robust frontend and backend infrastructure that powers your social media app. They develop a secure database to store users’ data and integrate cloud services to handle the app’s storage requirements. Furthermore, they integrate the UI design and other features into the application, ensuring they are responsive for various screen sizes, and give a seamless user experience on all devices.

Testing and Quality Assurance

Once the product is developed with all the features and functionalities, QA engineers test the working of your social media application. The quality specialists thoroughly check the bugs and malfunctions and pack them into bug reports. These reports serve as a roadmap for the developers, helping them address and resolve the identified issues to validate the app’s performance and user experience.

Release and Maintenance

After the final polish of your social media application, developers entrust the finalized version to you. Now, you can release your app to your target audience and update it periodically to keep it relevant and refined. 

Social media app development is an ongoing process, with the need for constant upgrades and evolution. By following the social media app development steps mentioned above, you can build a compelling social application that will resonate with users and make a boom in the digital world.

Appinventiv – Your Trusted Social Media App Development Partner

Embarking on the journey of social media app development is like venturing into a realm of infinite connections and endless possibilities like Facebook, quora, etc. In today’s digital world, where online interactions have become an essential part of our day-to-day activities, comprehending the nuances of social media and building one for your target audience carries prime importance.

To create a social media app, you must partner with a reputed social media app development company like Appinventiv. With unrivaled expertise across all major mobile platforms, including Android and iOS, we can be your trusted tech partner to transform your visionary ideas into revolutionary realities.

Our special media development and IT consulting services range from custom social network and messaging apps to full-fledged app development. Our experts have worked in the field of mobile app development and have helped clients across several industries with their social media apps.

Discuss your custom project requirements with us

Now, the time has come for you to take the leap. The world of social media app development awaits you. Connect with our team of social media app development professionals and begin the transformative journey to shape the future of digital interactions.

FAQs on social media app development

Q. How long does it take to build a social media app?

A. Social media app development time majorly depends on the complexity of the app, the features and functionality of the app, and the experience of the app development team. The mobile app development process has different stages, and all of these stages require different time slots.

From the planning process until the launch of the application, the entire process is interdependent on each other and requires proper attendance. Moreover, apps with different sizes and different features have different app development times.

Q. What makes a social media platform successful?

A. A successful social media app or platform allows users to engage with your content as much as possible. Some of the most popular tips that businesses follow while developing social media apps are:

  • Put yourself in the audience’s shoes
  • Pick a niche and cater to it completely
  • Observe and follow your competitors
  • Keep trends in place

Q. What questions should I ask my social media app development company?

A. Here are a few questions you can ask your social media app development company for better engagement:

  • How can we display the USP of my app?
  • What designs can we use for the maximum user experience?
  • How can we manage the complete project in the required time?
  • What is the technical expertise of the team I must be aware of?
  • What is the post-development support?
Prateek Saxena
THE AUTHOR
Prateek Saxena
DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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