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How to Develop a Social Media App

How to Develop a Social Media App


Human is a deeply social creature, it strives to link up with other humans and be connected to socium in general. Social media application creates a virtual space where people can easily find and connect with others regardless of distance that parts them. That's why social media application development is a popular and profitable sphere of mobile app development. There are tons of great examples like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tinder, Snapchat, Periscope, businesses of which cost billions of dollars. So it's quite appealing to learn how to build a social media app, we know exactly how and want to share our knowledge thin this article. 

How to Develop a Social Media App?

It's almost impossible to imagine a person who doesn't have a social media account nowadays. The main essence of getting acquainted with content sharing through the Internet is as simple as a pie. People would like to personalize their choices, habits, hobbies by flexing and sharing all the above with others. That's why it's totally relevant to create a social features stack that would be suitable for such things.

What are these rules of thumb for the creation of new social media app?

Well, it always depends, but, in general, there are some first-place standing key features which pre-identify the whole development process. Let’s closely get to the primary questions: how to create a social media app? How to create a social network?

1. Easy registration with variety of other services available

This rule is real easy to follow; a user has several accounts he often interacts with. So it will be comfortable for a user to have several ways to export his registration data like first and last name, age, etc. from other well-known social networks. Everybody hates to put that in each time.

2. Great piece of self-expression abilities

Don't say a word! Just get it, once you have your happy user sharing something with his friends, relatives or even haters, the app needs to give him this unique charm to customize it in a different way with, like, filters, backgrounds, and other stuff to your choice. The more, the better.

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3. Network is everything

It should be taken seriously now. It's a common sense that each media app is primarily made to add your friends, classmates, coworkers and other people you may know. That's why, you need to take care of such things as smart search, navigation, filters to speed up the whole process of 'catching them all' in one click.

4. News feed required

Whenever someone logs into the network, first thing a person wants to see is what's up with all of those people he was adding before.

That's why it becomes crucially important to not only create the content but make it comfortably accessible for users within a news feed.

How to Develop a Social Media App?

5. Stay tuned with existing social media

Even if your network is going to be the best one ever, there are still other ones available. So, a third party services integration is a must.

Speaking of other social media networks, it's necessary to divide them into several groups, such as:

  • Relationship networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Tinder)
  • Content sharing networks (Vine, Instagram, YouTube)
  • Review services (TopHotels, Yelp, Foursquare)
  • Music networks (Spotify, Last.fm)
  • Bookmark Sites (Juxtapost, We Heart It, Pinterest)

All social media apps are striving to have at least tiny part of connection built in a win-win manner (like Facebook & Instagram, Google and YouTube). Social features stacks also seem to be a big hope for different websites, not that related to the social network itself, but still representing the live interaction or some sort of thoughts exchange.

6. Get together and have a tete-a-tete

Besides the public 'all-over’ communication, we still need to have the ability to start an entirely private conversation with anyone. And when we say private, this truly means the highest level of security, encryption, and safety of both audio and visual content exchange between members or groups. You can take WhatsApp as an example.

How much does it cost to create a social media app?

Since making a social media app is a complex and very difficult task for developers, it may take about 2-4 months to build an MVP, and there is no fixed price for this prototype. As a matter of fact, there are still some elements that may give you a ballpark figure to estimate. That being said, we need to concentrate on the time (hours) that is required for building a social network app:

  • Android: ~500 hours
  • iOS: ~400 hours
  • Back end: ~500 hours
  • UX/UI: ~200 hours
  • QA: ~230 hours
  • PM: ~150 hours

Total of: ~1400h for one platform

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Disclaimer: these figures are approximate and involve only fundamental features of social media app possible functions.

General fields of development:

  • User management (e-mail, social registration)
  • In-app communication (ways of communication)
  • Geo-tagging (all kinds of Maps integration)
  • Different categories of data involved (texts, pictures, audios, videos)
  • Data source integration (databases, servers, algorithms)
  • Security (encryption, account settings, fingerprint verification)
  • Third party integration (connection with other services)
    How to Develop a Social Media App?

Step by step to production

Besides the identified bunch of features, social media app development also involves five critical phases:

1. Tactics & Strategy

Firstly and most importantly, you need to analyze your audience to set goals. Social network apps are unique because they contain tons of features. Once you found user's pain points, you can move to requirements analysis along with KPI's establishment.

2. UX & Design

Here it comes! Did you know that the first thing your end-user will be checking is not the functionality of the app, but its design and usability? So your developer should concentrate on:

How to Develop a Social Media App?

  • Sketching. Develop the logic of the structure, interaction within each element and general patterns of components synergy.
  • Wireframing. Once you get the logic of interaction, you would think of how to visualize it in your app. This stage is all about it. Consider building of interface in details.
  • Making a prototype. Now you are ready to build the first version of the app. It's not ready yet, but now your customer, developers, and PMs know how it's going to look like in general.
  • Giving it a skin. Finally, when the prototype is tested a bit, add some trends of great design and usability principles. Check out the best design trends and may the force be with you.

3. QA & Development

Best coding practices along with in-depth manual and automatic testing make your app running perfectly fine with no matter what OS it's entitled to. Keep your databases, API integration and the servers ready for the high volume of new users.

4. Marketing & Publishing

You've seen it a lot on the Internet. Sometimes utterly ridiculous app may become a bestseller just because of how it's advertised. Creation of all the promotion materials and exact positioning on the market are strongly connected with the audience targeting. No matter where, either on Google Play or AppStore, try to catch an eye of the user to have your social media app installed and kept afterward. You also should be acknowledged of how to make a social media website as a background for your app too.

5. Support

The last but not least is the social media app support. Bug fixing, often updates and new features implementation are something that team should be concentrated on to stand out on the market. Support reps, most likely, don’t know how to develop an app, but they still represent the greatest connection between the customers and developers.


Despite the fact that the social media market is overcrowded, we present our belief in the creation of the new social media apps vision. If your idea is worthy, why not trying to develop it into a massive campaign, starting from the bottom? Thunderrise Dev Team is fully packed to become your social media app developers and help you with your campaign, just let us know!