Create a Social Media App

The Perfect Guide to Create a Social Media App In 2023

Table of Contents

Social media marketing is one of the most promising ways to enhance a brand from a business standpoint. Although there are a lot of strong players in this market, new ideas are constantly making their way to innovate the tech industry.

As you can see, the journey of social media started when the PLATO System was created in the 1970s by the University of Illinois. The system had features like bulletin boards, online forums, instant messaging, and more.

Here, we have shown a brief timeline of social media development to help you understand that social media existed long ago when you didn’t even know.


Social media has evolved in recent years from primarily serving as communication and entertainment platforms to a marketing and corporate growth tool, contributing to crucial social and political conversations and bringing important issues to the public’s attention. Now, by today, there are 4.9 billion users on social media, which makes it a crucial need for a business.

So, in this article, we have shared everything essential, from types and features to development steps, to help gain insight before creating your own.

Why Develop a Social Media App Has Become a New Need?

Every day, 2 hours and 25 minutes are spent on social media by users worldwide. Talking about the US, people’s average daily time on social media is 2 hours and 3 minutes. The average daily time spent on social media in the Philippines, which outperformed everyone, is 3 hours and 53 minutes. 

Why are we giving you so many numbers? Since they most accurately reflect reality! People enjoy social media, and the current market tries to offer products to meet this desire.

Not to forget! The change started when the Coronavirus outbreak occurred, significantly impacting how people used digital technology. More than 40% of internet users have started to spend more time on social media in recent months, according to a study by GlobalWebIndex.

Considering everything, when you make a social network app is a smart move because there are many prospective consumers out there.

Market Prospects of Social Media Applications

With 2.963 billion monthly active users, Facebook has the most users of any social media network, according to Kepios Reports. Every second, six new people join the world of social media networks.


There were 5.16 billion internet users worldwide in January 2023. Among these, 4.76 billion people use social media, or you can say 59.4% of the world’s population. By the end of 2023, the total social media users are likely to reach 4.89 billion, as per Statista.

Thus, social media is a rapidly expanding industry that will continue to follow all trends for years. It’s time to seize the chance, learn in detail the types and features, and establish a social media platform for your company to help your business go beyond just ordinary.

Multiple Types of Social Apps and What People Expect

So far, we have understood why social app development is essential; let’s speak about the various types of social media apps, the categories they fall into, and the expectations people have for each category.

1. Social Network Apps

Many of us are already familiar with Twitter (Twitter’s new name is X), Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and now Threads. They are created to communicate, engage, and exchange information with others online.

2. Relationship Networks

These networks are also referred to as dating apps. Their main objective is to facilitate users’ dating and new friend searches. Some examples are Tinder, Bumble, or Badoo.

3. Media Sharing Networks

You can share various media files (photos, videos, GIFs, etc.) within these social media apps. A few examples of these networks are TikTok, Vimeo, and YouTube.

4. Anonymous Social Networks

These apps enable users to ask questions, converse, and share stories without revealing a real identity. The apps are popular with teenagers. A renowned app, Whisper, is used by people.

5. Consumer Review Networks

Customers use these networks to identify or review companies they’ve had dealings with. These include trustworthy sites like Trustpilot, GoodFirms, and Yelp.

6. Community and Discussion Forums

These forums enable users to ask questions, get answers, and exchange experiences, knowledge, and advice. Examples of them include Quora and Reddit apps.

7. Content Sharing Networks

These applications are utilized for content sharing, discovery, and saving content. Some examples are Flipboard and Pinterest.

8. Microblogging Apps

This social media category is used for sharing short content with a maximum of 280 characters, allowing users to comment and retweet the posts and engage in discussions. Some well-known examples are Twitter (Twitter’s new name is X) and Plurk.

9. Blogging Platforms

These platforms enable users to upload material and establish blogs. Examples of websites that provide this functionality are Tumblr and Medium.

10. Interest-Based Networks

Similar to Goodreads or Soundcloud, this is a niche type that brings individuals together who have similar interests.

You have witnessed several different types of social networking apps available out there. When you go for social networking app development, it’s a good idea to consider the functionality you’d like as particular qualities characterize each. Plus, not to forget the benefits that the app can bring to your business!

Must-Have Features to Create a Social Media App

Features often influence the cost of developing a social networking app. The cost will increase as you add additional features to your app. Therefore, you must know the essential features to build a social media app to keep the cost within your budget.

1. Sign Up and User Profile

This feature allows users to register or log in using their email address and phone number or connecting with their other social media accounts, such as Facebook. Users should be able to establish personal profiles on your app with details like their names, photos, locations, descriptions, etc. Since registration and profile creation will be the user’s initial interactions with the app, it is essential to make the process simple and smooth.

2. Search Engine

How do you make a social media app like Instagram or TikTok where users can quickly choose the material they want? By allowing users to create their hashtags and add hashtags—or something similar—to the search engine.

You can add a default search bar to your web app or mobile app, similar to those on Facebook or YouTube, to make it easier for users to find content providers, groups, and people. Additionally, you may incorporate a filter option to let users narrow their search and receive what they want much faster. Last but not least, search engines promote suggested material based on articles that visitors frequently interact with.

3. Post-Creation and Publishing

How can a social networking application be made to promote user-generated content? Posts may contain pictures, videos, long or short texts, questions, or any combination, depending on the type of app. This feature allows people to like, share, and comment on the content.

4. Feed

Adding a feature that encourages users to scroll through the pages is crucial. For instance, you can design a feed displaying content as long as viewers scroll. The feed is the app’s home screen and features content created by users’ subscriptions, friends, and personalized stuff they might find interesting.

5. Friending or Subscribing Options

Add a user or channel subscription option to your app to give users quick access to creators like TikTok or YouTube. Users can send friend invitations through their apps. And they see it in the news feed anytime a friend updates their profile.

6. Chat or Direct Messaging

Private messaging features are necessary since social media platforms aim to foster connections and ongoing communication. Even though Facebook has created a dedicated app just for direct messages, named Messenger, most apps already include a chat feature. Thus, create a secure and encrypted messaging system on your social media platform so no one can access your users’ private communications.

7. Groups and Subgroups

Integrating groups or subgroups for like-minded people to connect and converse can enhance your application’s credibility and allow users to make their own communities within the app.

8. Notifications

Like most apps, social networking apps include notifications informing users anytime a creator or friend they follow makes a new post. Users may receive notifications when someone mentions them in a post or responds to one of their comments. To draw users back to the app and get them to connect with it again, an app might also ping users who have not interacted with the platform for longer periods. However, be sure to give users the choice to choose which actions they want to be notified about and make notifications optional.

9. Moderation tools

Trolls, which can be detrimental to people’s businesses and even their mental health, unfortunately, thrive on the internet. How can one create a social media application that promotes civil and courteous discourse? Ensure you allow users to exclude users from viewing and interacting with their content, remove offensive comments entirely, and prohibit particular words from the comment section. Choose an app development company wisely that helps you integrate suitable and valuable features.

10. Live Streaming

A significant portion of every social media tool now includes live streaming. Real-time interaction between users and their favorite people increases engagement and lengthens session times. Businesses utilize live streaming to promote their products, educate consumers on their areas of expertise, or run special sales events while building a personal relationship with the audience.

11. Customization

Customization is a crucial component in developing a social network app. Users can build their personal brands due to the profile page’s customization option for appearance, color scheme, and even layout. This feature lets users add banners, pictures, and colors to their profiles. LinkedIn and YouTube are excellent examples of personalization.

12. Admin panel

The admin panel grants the platform owner access to data like location, gender, age, device type, and the content they consume once users tick the box that authorizes the app to collect their personal information.

Using the data, you can offer personalized content recommendations and draw more visitors to your website. You may manage users, respond to inquiries, and carry out other administrative duties using the admin panel.

The Additional Features

In addition to the necessary features, you might wish to include a few more features that will enhance your app’s functionality, usability, and credibility. By providing intriguing additional features like social commerce, gamification, and others, you can raise the retention rate of the users.

1. Social Commerce

Enabling users to buy directly from social media apps like Instagram and Facebook makes a lot of sense because many people already look for products on those platforms. You can boost engagement and assist users in purchasing directly on your platform by creating a distinct marketplace within the app where they can list stuff for sale or create shoppable posts.

2. Short Videos

According to the information provided by Colormatics, marketing initiatives benefit significantly from the compelling nature of short video content. Short videos, which are typically under one minute long, can convey the essence of a product, provide information about a particular subject, or tell a good joke. Users prefer watching a video instead of browsing numerous pages or reading texts.

3. Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR & AR)

Some apps already employ augmented reality (AR) technology, most notably Snapchat. App users can create augmented reality-enhanced videos and share them with their viewers. VR technology is being actively pushed into Meta products. For instance, they have released the Spaces app, which enables VR headset interaction.

4. Chatbots

When you design a social media app, adding a chatbot feature can let company owners send automated messages and respond to simple questions. They can make it faster for new users to learn its ins and outs and navigate the app easily.

5. Gamification

Games are a fantastic method to entice users and pique their interest in your app. They can improve user retention while lowering the high expenses of customer acquisition. Gamification is a great way to attract new consumers, mainly if your marketing efforts target younger demographics. You can incorporate gamification components into your application if it is not appropriate to offer genuine games, such as business apps like LinkedIn.

Build a Social Media App – Tech Stack, Team and Development Steps

Now that you know everything essential, comprising importance and key features, it’s time to delve into the steps to learn what it takes to make a social media app.

Step 1: Understand The Market And Audience

When a business delivers the right product that appeals to its target market, it is said to have a product/market fit. To satisfy user needs, businesses need to start a step-by-step approach.

The first one is to learn about your market. Businesses should be flexible while developing social media apps because the end product that is a smashing success may differ from the original concepts. Businesses like Instagram and Twitter (Twitter’s new name is “X”) succeeded by making constant adjustments until they discovered the ideal product/market fit.

Choose the type for your social media network. It takes more than just a concept for an app to get you going. A detailed awareness of your market and the current competition is essential to stay ahead.

Getting people to adopt social networking apps might be challenging, so it’s crucial to know what features they value and what your competitors lack.

Once you clearly understand what your app will be about and its function, it’s time to start putting your thoughts together. You should consider your alternatives for user retention and the methods you’ll use to expand and involve your audience.

Consider your various monetization choices carefully if you intend to make money from your app.

Step 2: Hire Social Media Application Developers

When picking up a developer to create social media app for your business, it’s essential to be clear whether you need a freelance developer or are looking to hire a full-fledged development company.

Although hiring a freelance developer may seem like a good financial choice, you’ll still need to manage your projects and identify and interact with them. You must possess excellent project management abilities to assemble a team of independent freelancers to work on your project. You may get the perfect project per your needs, but timely delivery is not guaranteed. So, it’s a bit risky option!

On the contrary, hiring experts who understand how to create social network apps effectively might be more cost and time-effective. Working with the company means escaping continuous amendments, unforeseen project delays, scalability problems, and customization issues. Opting for an agency that can provide well-structured app development frameworks is the best decision to take your business to the next height.

Step 3: Create A UX/UI Design

Every user demands a distinct design pathway and an intuitive user interface, making social media app design a remarkably demanding feature. The step is to choose a design trend that appeals to most of your target demographic. A top-tier UI/UX design agency is required to assist you throughout the procedure.

Step 4: Pick the Profitable Business Model

A social networking app must be well-liked by its users and have the potential to be successful. So, it’s crucial to pick a business strategy that promotes long-term growth while keeping revenue in mind. Here are a few well-known business concepts used frequently in social networking applications.

· Freemium Model

Users can sign up using the freemium business model and have access to many of the fundamental services. However, only paying members have access to the premium services. LinkedIn, a professional social media site, charges a monthly subscription for access to services like InMail and job-matching.

· Advertising Model

A lot of social networking sites rely on advertising to make money. Applications like Facebook and Instagram use this paradigm. Using a data-driven strategy, the goal is to quickly expand the user base and target users with relevant adverts.

Social networking apps must gather user data such as gender, age, geography, and interests to attract advertisers and be successful. Of course, the traffic also dramatically impacts how much money advertisers are willing to spend on platform advertising.

TikTok, which claims over 800 million active users, permits various sorts of advertising, including deftly inserting sponsored videos onto its ‘For You’ feed.

Step 5: Develop Your Social Media App

The development process takes place on a defined timeline broken into sprints, each mainly lasting two weeks.

Developers are now building the frontend and backend architecture for your social networking platform. They create a safe database to secure user data and incorporate cloud storage to meet the app’s storage needs. The UI design and other features are also integrated into the program, ensuring they are responsive for different screen sizes and provide a seamless user experience on all devices.

Step 6: Testing and Quality Assurance

QA engineers test the functionality of your social networking application after the product has been produced with all of the features and functionalities. The quality specialists extensively examine the errors and malfunctions before being included in bug reports. These reports provide a roadmap for the developers, guiding them as they address and fix the problems found to confirm the app’s functionality and user experience. For software testing services, you can also opt for a well-known IT company, Codment.

Step 7: Release and Maintenance

You may now make your app available to your intended users and regularly update it to maintain it. Creating social media applications is ongoing because they must be updated and changed frequently. You can create a fascinating social application that will strike a chord with consumers and experience a boom in the digital world by adhering to the social media app development stages described above.

Cost Estimation to Build a Social Media App

You now know how to build social media app; let’s discuss another crucial aspect, the pricing.

The cost of developing a social network app varies depending on the approach you pick to design it. For instance, a SaaS or CMS solution will be substantially cheaper and faster than an open-source solution, which entails the cost of software, a developer, and hosting.

Furthermore, it can cost between $50,000 and $60,000 to develop a social media app for one operating system (iOS or Android) with limited features. The final development cost is determined by various factors, including the features and their complexity, the number of platforms targeted, the intricacy of the design, and even the location of the social network app development company. This way, learning the exact app development cost is not easy.

However, if you need the cost estimation of your dream social networking app, you can connect with Codment for better understanding.

How Codment Can Help You to Build a Social Media App?

Codment is a recognized IT company offering clients impeccable app development services worldwide. Our professionals can turn your idea into a reality, using their vast experience in mobile app development and in-depth understanding of social media platforms. You can count on Codment to be your reliable collaborator in developing captivating social media applications that grab users’ attention and provide you with a competitive edge.