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How to Develop a Social Media App: A Complete Guide

How to Make a Social Media App Development Guide 2023

Nowadays, social media apps are one of the most downloaded and used apps in the world. According to reports, there are 4.8 billion social media users worldwide, representing 59.9% of the world’s population and 92.7% of total internet users. Huge numbers, right? 

Now, you must be wondering if would it be a good decision to develop a social media app in 2023, and if yes then how one can build a social media app? 

Thus, in this blog, we have provided a detailed Social Media App Development Guide for 2023 and also mentioned the cost of developing it. So, let’s get started. 

Social Media Applications: Current Market and Usage Statistics 

Source: Statista

  • According to Statista, the market leader Facebook currently has more than 2.9 billion monthly active users.
  • Reports stated that the average time people spend on social media daily is 2 hours and 24 minutes.
  • As per Insider Intelligence, paid social media ads will account for 25.5% of digital ad spending in 2023. This shows that businesses will spend more on social media ads in 2023 and beyond. 
  • The global social networking app market is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.2% from 2023 to 2030

These numbers clearly show that social media apps have a promising market, thus it will be a great decision to invest in developing a social media app. So, let’s move forward and explore the development process of social media apps in 2023. 

Steps to Develop a Social Media Application 

Following is the step-by-step process to develop a social media application. 

Step 1- Analyze the Fiscal Advantages of Social Media App Development

Social Networking Apps are the best solutions to build communities of like-minded people. Users can create their profiles in social media apps and share numerous types of content, such as text, photos, videos, and audio. 

A social media app provides many financial benefits to a business, which we will discuss in the upcoming sections of this blog.  

You must be thinking that there are already many leading players in the market, such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and more, how will a newly launched social media app compete with them? 

You must not forget TikTok, which was launched in 2016, still manages to capture a decent portion of the market. All this happened because of the unique idea of the TikTok app. 

As long as your idea is unique and can attract users, you can invest in a social media app development without any worries.

Step 2- Decide the Type of Social Media App You Want to Develop  

Before beginning with social networking app development, it is necessary to decide the type of app you want to develop. Let’s have a look at the major types of social media apps. 

1. Social Networks: The primary purpose of social networks is to link people and form communities. Users can share content like videos and pictures. For instance: Facebook. 

2. Media Sharing Networks: These types of social media apps allow users to share different types of media, such as photos, videos, audio, and more. 

For instance: Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. 

3. Dating Networks: These apps are used to meet new people, find dates, and build relationships. 

For instance: Tinder.

4. Blogging and Publishing Networks: These types of social media apps allow users to create a personal blog and share articles with other users. For instance: Medium, and X (microblogging).

5. Discussion Forums: These types of social networking allow users to start a discussion, ask questions, and get answers from the community.    

For instance: Quora, and Reddit. 

6. Content Sharing Networks: These networks allow users to save, organize, and share content in a community. These networks are the best places to look for creative ideas and inspiration.  

For instance: Pinterest. 

7. Interest-Based Networks: These networks are designed to bring people together based on their mutual interests, hobbies, professions, habits, and other points of interest.

For instance: LinkedIn. 

8. Anonymous Social Networks: These networks allow users to post, and share content and videos while keeping their identities hidden. 

For instance: ASKfm 

Below are a few major app categories with key information:  

Apps Category Statistics Features 
Facebook Social Networking– 3.03 billion monthly users
-6+ billion app downloads 
-$100 billion+ revenue 
–   400 million+ app downloads
-Creating, editing, and sharing  content
-Scheduled posts
-Detailed analytics of your page
-Public & private groups
Instagram Media Sharing Network -1.28 billion annual users
-$50 billion+ annual revenue
-3.8 billion app downloads 
-Creating, editing, & sharing photo and video content
-Personalized feed (saved posts, collections, etc.)
-Live videos
TikTok Media sharing network-$85.2 billion revenue
-1.677 billion users
-3.5 billion app downloads
-Creating, editing, & sharing photo and short video content
-Live streaming
YouTubeMedia sharing network-2.70 billion users
-$29.2 billion revenue
-80 million premium subscribers
-Videos uploading
-Live streaming
TinderRelationship network-$1.79 billion revenue
-75 million monthly active users
-10 million+ subscribers
-Dating preferences
– Gamification
MediumBlogging and publishing network-100 million active users 
-$54.1 million revenue 
-Articles publication
-Posts statistics
QuoraDiscussion forum-300 million monthly active users
-$20 million total revenue
-Asking & answering questions
-Quora spaces
PinterestContent sharing platform-463 million monthly active users
-$2.8 billion revenue
-Pins creation
-Visual search
-Saving links to boards
LinkedInInterest-based network-$13.8 billion revenue 
-310 million monthly active users
-Job search
-Resume generation
ASKfmAnonymous social network
-32.8 million active users
-281,531 monthly app downloads
-Full user anonymity
-Anonymous questions & answers

Step 3- Define Target Audience Before Developing Your Social Media App 

To create a successful social media app, you need to first define your target audience clearly. Thus, it is important to evaluate your user base before starting the social media app development process. You can evaluate your target audience by considering the following: 

Market Research: Under this category, you need to conduct an extensive market about your competitors and existing social media apps. Clearly understand how they work, what features they provide, what monetizing models they have used, and more. The detailed research of competitors will help you develop your app better. 

Finding a Niche: Earlier in this blog, we mentioned the different categories of social networking apps. Also, these apps have different niches. Thus, you can build your social media app for a particular niche, for example, for teenagers only, and later on, expand its functionalities for various other niches. 

While developing the user profile, add the following points so that users can fill in their respective information. 

  • Name 
  • Age
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Yearly income
  • Family status
  • Education level
  • Interests 

Step 4- Select the Monetizing Strategies to Develop your Social Networking App  

From a business perspective, it is important to earn what you have invested in developing your social media app. And this will be possible by monetizing your social media app. 

There are various ways to monetize your social networking app, and we will discuss them further in detail. 

Advertisements: This is the most popular strategy to monetize a social media application. Major key players like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok heavily use advertisements to generate income. Businesses can use your social media platform to show targeted ads to users to market their products and in return, you can charge them to run their ads. 

Freemium Model: By using this monetizing model, you can offer your users to sign up for free and use the basic features of your social media app. And to access the additional features, they need to buy the subscriptions. A great example of this model is Tinder, where users can create their profiles and explore other’s profiles for free. On the other hand, unlimited chats and video calls are provided to those users who have bought the subscription. 

In-App Purchases: Another monetizing strategy for social media apps is in-app purchases. You can provide an in-app shop that sells premium stickers, filters, coins, and more, to earn income from your social networking app. 

So, these are some popular monetizing strategies you can use to monetize your social media app and generate revenue. 

Step 5- Create a Unique Selling Proposition for Your Social Media App 

If you build a similar app that already exists in the market, it will become almost impossible to succeed, as there are already hundreds of social media apps. To grab the attention of users, you need to offer something special that attracts users. 

Therefore, it is important to come up with a Unique Selling Proposition and advanced features that nobody provides. This will ensure your success in a cut-throat competition. 

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Step 6- List Down the Features for Social Network App Development

Now, let’s have a look at a few of the basic features that you may add during your social media app development. 

1. User Profile – A user’s personal profile that includes information about the user such as name, photo, and location. It could also contain information about your interests, personal preferences, current activities, and so on.

2. Content Uploading – The ability to upload various forms of content, such as videos, photographs, and GIFs, to the social media app. The editing capability will increase the app’s appeal to users since it removes the necessity to use third-party editing tools and upload content on the move.

3. Posts – Users can write posts, share content, and communicate with their friends or followers using this functionality.

4. Feed – The app’s major feature, where users can keep up with everything their friends and other users are posting. 

5. Push Notifications – To alert users when there are new updates, posts, subscribers, or friend requests.

6. Search – A feature that allows users to find persons, content, groups, and so forth.

7. User Interaction – Users are drawn to social media because of the engagement available within the apps. Some of the features to begin with are comments, likes, reposts, and reactions.

8. In-App Messaging – This feature allows users to send and receive private messages that are not visible to other users.

9. Analytics – It will be preferable if you include an Analytics tool that displays a dashboard with analytics on the performance of the uploaded content.

Some Additional Advanced Features that You Can Develop Using Cutting-Edge Technologies

Here, we have listed down some additional advanced features that may make your social media app unique and attract a large number of users.  

0.1 Short Video Content – Short videos are gaining popularity. That is the feature that people anticipate from a new social networking app. Users today want short-term content. Thus, this feature will help your social media app succeed. 

0.2 Filters using Augmented Reality Face filters helped Instagram and Snapchat succeed significantly.  Young users love using various face filters and other types of filters. Therefore, you can also add Augmented Reality-powered filters to your social media app to attract users. 

0.3 Artificial Intelligence Chatbots – Another advanced feature that you may integrate into your social media app is AI-powered chatbots to interact and engage users by providing personalized experiences.

0.4 Live Streaming – As more social media platforms are providing this feature, it will be a good decision to add a Live Streaming feature to your social media app. 

0.5 Disappearing Content – Due to this feature, unlike postings, the content disappears after a certain period, similar to Instagram stories. 

Therefore, these are some of the advanced features you can integrate into your social networking app. 

Step 7- Select the Best Option for Developing a Social Network App 

There are three major ways to develop your social media app. These are 

1. Using App Builders: App Builders are a set of tools and pre-defined frameworks that allow you to create simple apps. But, we don’t recommend this option as using app builders, you can also build a basic app, and the scope for adding features and additional modifications is very limited. 

2. Hiring Freelancers: Another way to build your social networking app is to hire freelance developers and build a team to develop your app. This option will work best only if you can manage various developers from different cities and countries efficiently. 

3. Contacting an App Development Company: The last option to develop your social media app is to contact a leading app development company, and share your ideas and requirements with them. 

The benefit of contacting the best app development company is that you don’t have to worry about the quality of your app and all the work is managed by the company itself. Moreover, if anything goes wrong, the app development company will be accountable for it and handle the issues themselves. 

Thus, it is a highly recommended option to develop a customized social media application. 

Step 8- Choose Technology Stack for Social Networking App Development

To develop an intuitive and engaging social media application, you can consider the following technology stack: 

Element Technology Stack 
FrontendReact.js, Angular, Vue.js
BackendNode.js, Ruby on Rails, Django
DatabaseMySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB
ServerNginx, Apache, AWS, Heroku
Real-time MessagingWebSocket (, Firebase
Push NotificationsFirebase Cloud Messaging, APNs
Geolocation ServicesGoogle Maps API, Mapbox
AnalyticsGoogle Analytics, Mixpanel
Video StreamingWebRTC, Vimeo, or YouTube API
Payment ProcessingStripe, PayPal, Braintree
Messaging and ChatTwilio, SendBird, Pusher Chatkit
Storage (Cloud)Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage

Step 9- Begin With the Development Process of Your Social Media App 

Now comes the development stage of your social media app. Start with designing the UI/UX of your social media application. We highly recommend for developing an MVP( Minimum viable product), to understand the market acceptance of your app. 

Later, you can develop your final app, once it gets positive reviews and acceptance from the users. 

Before the launch of your social media app, don’t forget to test your app thoroughly on different devices, and operating systems to ensure its smooth functionality. Once your app’s testing is done, launch it for general public use. 

Step 10- Promote Your Social Networking Application 

After launching your social media application for public use, promote it extensively to ensure it reaches a lot of users. You can leverage various means of marketing for this. Let’s discuss some of the popular marketing channels to promote your social networking application.  

Paid Ads: You can run paid ads regarding your social media app using Google Ads and other means. 

App Store Optimization: You can also choose App Store Optimization to market your app. Using this strategy, you can market your app on Google Play Store and App Store.

Organic User Acquisition: Another way to market your social networking app is through organic ways. You can write blogs, create videos, posts, and more to attract users organically. 

Partnership Promotions: Moreover, you can opt for partnership promotions to market your app. You can partner up with other applications with a decent user base, either for free or paid, to advertise your social media application.

Influencer Marketing: Last but not least, Influencer marketing is also a great way to market your app to your target market. You can hire influencers to advertise your social networking app. 

After launching your social media application, keep a tight eye on its performance, and feedback by the users. You can use various performance measuring metrics, such as installs & uninstalls percentage, user activation, user retention and churn metric, usage duration, and more, to measure how the application is performing in the market. 

On the other hand, by analyzing the user feedback, you will get insights into what your social media app is lacking, and what changes you can add to it to retain existing and attract more users.  

What is the Cost to Develop a Social Media App? 

When it comes to the exact cost of developing a social media application, there is no direct answer to it. This is because, the cost of social media app development heavily depends on various aspects, such as: 

  • Complexity of the app
  • Features and Functionalities 
  • UI/UX designs
  • Platform Compatibility(Android, iOS, or cross-platform)
  • Development Team size and location
  • Technologies and this list goes on and on. 

Therefore, we would highly recommend getting in touch with our experts and discussing your project to get precise costs to develop your social media application. 

How QuyTech Can Help in Building Social Media Applications? 

Quytech is a leading mobile app development company with 12+ years of experience developing mobile applications. We have developed various mobile apps that fall into different categories. Check our portfolio page to explore our work. 

Since our inception, we have collaborated with 500+ clients worldwide and delivered 1000+ mobility solutions with an extraordinary 100% success rate. Get in touch with us to develop your social media app today.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1. Will it be a good idea to develop a social media application in 2023? 

Yes, developing a social media application can still work in 2023. But, you need to come up with unique ideas that can attract users. 

Q2. Is it hard to make a social media app?

If you develop a social media app by yourself, yes, it will be a tough task. But, if you hire a top mobile app development company, it would be a piece of cake for them. 

Q3. How much time does it take to build a social media app?

The timeframe depends on the complexity of the app. A simple social media app may take 2-3 months, whereas a complex one may take up to 9 months or more. 

Q4. How can I generate income through a social media app? 

You can monetize your social media app to generate income from it. Advertisements, Freemium, and In-App Purchases are a few monetizing models for social media applications.