How to Make a Social Media App in 5 Steps [Complete Guide]

Social media apps are an integral part of our lives and filled the void in many people’s lives. This has made it more difficult to stay without it.

Therefore, the market for such apps is continuing to grow. From a business perspective, this is the right time to invest in social media app development.

If you are also planning to invest, then read this article to know almost all the essential information and app development process to create a social media app. Let’s check how!

Introduction to Social Media Apps

Have you ever wondered why these social media apps are dominating over other apps?

If no, then here is the reason.

The secret behind the popularity of social media apps is that the apps give freedom to users. People can express their thoughts, views, and achievements in front of the world with apps like Facebook and Instagram.

Users discuss, ask questions, learn new things, meet different people, and today all these are possible with the invention of social network apps.

Also, according to the report of Statista, 4.26 billion people are using social network apps, which constitute about 58.7% of the total population.

This number projected to increase to almost six billion in 2027. There is no denying that social media trends are going to continue in the future.

So, let’s check the 10 types of social media apps. If you want to start a social media application development process, then know your idea belongs to which category of social media app type. This will help you to define your competitors, target audience, and offer more appropriate functionalities to users.

Type of Social MediaExamplesPurpose
Social NetworksFacebook, Twitter, LinkedInTo connect with users online to share views, information, and opinions.
Media Sharing NetworksInstagram, Snapchat, YouTubeTo watch videos, photos and posts, and other media online.
Discussion ForumsReddit, Quora, DiggTo find, discuss, and share information with each other.
Bookmarking and Content Curation NetworksPinterest, FlipboardTo discover new ideas and share the trending content and media.
Consumer Review NetworksYelp, TripAdvisorTo find the reviews of any place, product, services, as well as restaurants, travel destinations, and more.
Blogging and Publishing NetworksWordPress, Tumblr, MediumTo publish, discover, find information, and comment on posts online.
Interest-based NetworksGoodreads, Houzz, Last.fmTo connect with others who have a shared interest or hobby.
Social Shopping NetworksPolyvore, Etsy, FancyTo follow any trend, brands, and share great findings online, and make purchases.
Sharing Economy NetworksAirbnb, Uber, TaskrabbitTo find, share, buy, sell, and trade products and services.
Anonymous Social NetworksWhisper, Ask.fmTo gossip, vent, and snoop.

This table will make it easy for you to find the best social media app type for your app ideas.

“But how do I create a social media app?”

Rest assured! Let’s discuss 5 essential steps to create a social media app.

Here, we have answered almost all the questions that arise when we plan to create an app. Now, it’s time to design and guide you through every step you need to consider to make it successfully happen.

How to Create a Social Media App? [5 Steps]

Being a non-programmer, if you do not know how to make a social media app, then do not worry. We have discussed the steps to develop a social media app that you can consider. Now, let’s dive deeper to check all the steps.

How to Create a Social Media App

Step 1: Define Strategy and Purpose

Having an app idea is not enough; you will need to study the market to find the competitive field and analyze the requirements. Moreover, try to draw up a portrait of the target audience and establish a goal of key performance indicators.

Developing a social media app is a tricky battlefield to navigate because you need to understand what your potential users will like and what the competitors lack at present.

After getting a clear idea and the purpose, it’s your time to put your ideas together to build a social media app.

Consider the options to retain users, the strategies to grow and engage the community. And if you are planning to make money using your social media app, then plan your monetization options carefully.

Here is the list of some basic app features and functionalities that you can consider in your list.

  • Customized newsfeed to post updates (photos, videos, and text)
  • Enable comments or like-features to foster user engagement
  • Push notifications help people to keep engaged with your application
  • Choose the app type for either private community or free for everyone
  • Security measures to keep your application and user information safe
  • Ability to link your app with other platforms for the wide reach of audience
  • Use of geolocation to locate active users and tagging feature

Step 2: Design the Workflow

We have outlined different core features and functionalities. Now, it’s time to design your app, the workflow for your app. The design itself consists of several steps:

app design process

  • Sketching
    Sketching is a way to approach the basic outlines of future applications. It assesses the future logic of the project, the number of screens, and the interaction between them. Moreover, it lets you figure out design issues even before you have started designing your app.

  • Wireframing
    Wireframing helps the development team to visualize how the app will work and the idea to link pages. In short, it gives a structured view of the app and what an end-user can expect from the app.

  • Prototyping
    This is the next step, which involves creating a working model of the app. This will give a better idea to your developers about the product. The prototype will make it easier to edit the idea before the coding process starts if required. It means you are in a stronger position for the developing process of a social media app.

  • App Design
    In the final stage of designing a workflow, convert wireframes in the social application design. Study the existing solutions, watch the latest trends, and elaborate on UX/UI design to get the best possible solutions.

Step 3: Development and Quality Assurance

We have listed out important aspects to make a social media app for both iOS and Android. To make this easy for you, we have also shared a list of specifications that we use while social media app development. Have a look:

Mobile Technology Platform

Programming LanguagesSwift 5.8Kotlin 1.3
IDEXCode 14.3Android Studio 4.0.1
Supporting OSiOS 12.x to 16.xAndroid 6.x to 13.x

Testing/Project Management Specifications

Project Organization ToolBasecamp 2, Slack, Skype
Bug Tracking Tools (Testing)Mantis 2.22.1 (As per need, also uses – Jira/ Trello/ Lighthouse)

Designing Specifications

Screen Designing ToolAdobe XD (27.2.12), Adobe Illustrator 2020 (24.1.1), and Adobe Photoshop – 2020 (21.1)
HTML – CSS Conversion ToolAdobe Dreamweaver (20.1)

Back end Admin Panel & Database Creation

Programming Language (backend Web Panel)ROR (Ruby on Rails) 6.0 / PHP 7.2 (YII Framework 2.0.30)
DatabaseMongoDB 4.2.2 / MySQL 8.0.19 / PostgreSQL 12.0

Usually, the development and social media application design processes run together in the software development life cycle. When you decide the platform of the social media app and the prototyping of the app is done, it’s time to build the back-end by setting up servers, databases, APIs, and working out perfect storage solutions.

Additionally, meet all the technical requirements, user guidelines, and platform standards. Try for manual and automatic testing of every part of the program to ensure there is no error in the code and everything is fine with the UX of the project.

Step 4: Publish and Grow Your Community

Once you develop and publish your app, this is the time to connect with the potential users to build your community.

Implement the best strategies in your initial social media marketing needs. Find how you can influence people to download the app or what incentive you can provide to your customers. This way, you can reach a wider audience.

Step 5: Analysis of The App

The analysis is an essential step to assess the success of your social media app. There is a wide range of analytics tools that can help you to do it.

  • Cost Per Install (CPI) – To track installs of users come from advertising
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – In all marketing efforts, the amount spend to attract customers
  • User Activation – Active users with compare to downloads
  • User Retention – Users who returned to the app
  • Churn Rate – Customers who have stopped using the app
  • User Engagement – Check their session length and interval to use the app
  • Traction – Patterns to show the growth of users every month
  • Burn Rate – Money consumed for the server costs, affiliate marketing, and staff

You can check the response of your active users or how much time they spend using the app. Constant track of app engagement will give you a clear picture of actionable changes for the future. This will also ensure to give the best user experience to your customers.

Do Yoy Want to Create Your Own Social Media App?

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How to Select the Best Social Media Application Developers?

In order to select the best app developers, first, you need to find them. Either you can go for a freelance app developer, in-house team, or hire the best developers through an app agency.

If you want to know the process to find developers, questions to ask while hiring developers, and the top sites to hire developers, refer to find answers in more detail.

Various websites will help you to find and select the best social media app developers. You can also consider Space-O Technologies to choose a team of the best developers. We have experience in developing more than 20+ social media applications with top features and functionalities.

Moreover, we are also listed on Clutch and have received 4.8 stars with 50 reviews. On Upwork, we have 100% job success and ranked amongst the top mobile app development companies on GoodFirms. These sites are top platforms to find and select the best social media application developers.

However, here are some of the points that you may consider while selecting the developers.

  • Check how much it costs to hire app developers and how much they will need to complete the project.
  • You must validate the expertise and portfolios of developers to ensure their skillsets.
  • Check how well you coordinate with the potential developers to know if they understand your requirements or not.
  • Ensure you are clear with your requirements about the product concept and the target audiences.
  • In the end, know the process of app development, the willingness of legal contracts for the app development, and project management.

If all the points match your requirements, then consider selecting the developer for your app development project. Also, check how much it cost to make a social media app to make the selection process easy for you.

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

Now, we will help you out in calculating the social media app development cost. We have shared the estimated hours based on the development stages of a social media app. To calculate the cost, all you need to do is apply a simple formula. Here’s the formula:

app development cost

Estimated Development Hours * Developer’s Per Hour Rate = Total Mobile Application Development Cost

Project Estimate Summary of Social Media App Development
Sr. No.DevelopmentHours Estimated
1Native Android (Smartphone) App Development for End- Users342
2Native iOS (iPhone) App Development for End- Users342
3UI/ UX Design50
4QC Testing121
5Project Management83
6Back End (Admin panel + Database)145
Total Hours1083

So, let’s take an example – If the developer’s per hour rate is $30, then you can multiply this rate with estimated development hours, which is 1083 in this case, then the total cost would be $32490.

1083 hours * $30 per hour rate = $32490 total cost

In case if you want to check the work-breakdown structure in detail to find how much time or cost it takes to develop features and functionalities, then download the file.

Software Development Plan

Download Complete Work Breakdown Structure

We hope that this table must have answered all your questions related to the social media app development cost. Now let’s check how apps of social media networks make money.

How Much Money Does Social Networking Apps Make?

We have classified different social networking apps with their revenues and top features. So, you know how much money these social media apps make by offering these features.

Please know that we have taken the revenue details from Statista, which is a leading provider of market and consumer data.

AppsRevenue (2019)Top FeaturesDownload


$70.69 Billion
  • Newsfeed to check content from Facebook’s friends
  • Message friends directly through the app
  • Post videos, photos, and status
  • Can comment on the post of friends and families
  • Check events nearby
App store Play store


$20 Billion
  • Filters for image editing
  • Location tagging
  • Private messaging
  • Live stream videos
  • Upload videos and photos
App store Play store


$15.15 Billion
  • Upload, view, share, like, and comment on videos
  • Subscribe other users or channel
  • Live streaming
  • Supports 360-degree videos
App store Play store


$6.7 Billion
  • Search for jobs
  • Hire new employees
  • Showcase skills
  • Grow network to get more opportunities
  • Stay updated with the latest jobs
App store Play store


$3.4 Billion
  • Send and receive short posts
  • Add and follow comments
  • Find social media trends
  • Polls
  • Integrated photo-sharing service
Play store


$1.7 Billion
  • Click snaps and share
  • Broadcast latest snap in a story format
  • Offers image filters
  • Geofilter
  • Video and voice calls
App store Play store


$1.56 Billion
  • Provides travel planning resource
  • Share reviews of hotels, restaurants, and places
  • Easy to upload photos
App store Play store


$1.14 Billion
  • Collect and organize content online and share it with others
  • Share the content on Facebook and Instagram to increase reach
  • Help to create compelling content
App store Play store

As you know how much money these social media companies make, let’s check how you can make money through your social network apps or social media channels. Even these big companies implement the following strategies to generate high revenues.

How to Make Money Using Social Media Apps?

As already mentioned above in the Statista report, 4.26 billion people are using social media apps, it is pretty apparent to ask how these social media companies make money by offering free services.

If you also have planned to make a social media app and want to make money from apps, then here are some of the ideas that you can implement to make money.

How to Make Money Using Social Media Apps


Advertisements are the best way to make money from a social media platform. Many apps have used this idea, including Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. They show various relevant posts and ads to their existing social media users in the newsfeed. For example, YouTube lets you watch videos for free, but it plays an ad video right before playing the video, sometimes in-between also.

Premium Subscriptions

This is another way used by multiple social media platforms, such as YouTube and LinkedIn. They offer their premium subscriptions for advanced features. For example, YouTube provides premium options to its users, allowing them to watch unlimited videos without interruption by ads.

In-app Purchases

If you got content, video, or an audio file that you believe your community members will love to purchase, then give them a chance to unlock products in exchange for money directly through the mobile app.

Venture Capital

Venture capitalists offer funds to many social media platforms. The best examples are Facebook and Twitter. They earn millions in venture capital, and therefore, their main purpose is to monetize the social media app or sell it to get profit.

Events and Activities

You can promote various events and online experiences through the application. This is one of the best methods if you want to make money. You just need to link them to your favorite ticketing platform and start selling to earn money.

You can inevitably implement these strategies in your apps to make money. However, now let’s discuss some of the good social media app ideas.

Social Media App Ideas

An App for Organ Donors With Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

What could be a better gift than giving a life to someone using a simple application?
Still, millions of people are waiting to receive an organ to save their lives in the world. The simple invention of an organ donor app can save them.

You can make a social media app for a specific group of people who are interested to donate their organs and create a common community to connect patients who need immediate organ donors.

Using the technology stack of AI and Deep Learning, collect data and connect with people who have similar health interests.

While creating an application for organ donors, make sure it is simple to connect people and also it helps to solve common problems and needs of the users by adding chat options.

You can also add the feature to share stories of the survivors within the community to motivate more people to donate organs.

An App for Pets with IoT

IoT works really well when it comes to keeping an eye on children or pets directly through the smartphone. Using special GPS tags or in-built capabilities, you can monitor their movements.

To make the app more social and for increasing user interaction, you can add features like chatting with other pet owners. Users can share tips and suggestions to care for their pets. Schedule a time to meet their pets and also discover nearby pet clinics for any health-related issues.

With IoT, you not only get the assurance of the safety of your pet but also giving them their freedom. You can attach a tag to the collar of your pet that works on a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) GPS.

It has the virtual leash feature, which will notify you if the pet leaves the pre-set area. And if the pet is lost, you can take the help of an online community of pet owners to find them.

An App for Reward Platform with Blockchain

Let’s take an example of Steemit to understand this concept in a better way. This application is built on the concept of blockchain, a decentralized reward platform for publishers. It helps them to monetize content and grow the community.

This platform believes in sharing benefits with the users instead of sharing with the shareholders. It rewards the existing users for their contribution to the platform.

Steem is built based on a points system with the help of blockchain technology. Therefore, it allows trading points on markets as tokens. The users can buy and sell these tokens according to their needs.

Moreover, you can use additional features to add to your apps, such as transferable tokens between users or currency to buy any product.

Want to Make a Social Media App like Instagram or TikTok?

Want to validate your app idea? Want to get a free consultation from an expert?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process to build a social network website from scratch?

Here is the 7-step guide to build a social network website from scratch.

  • Select an Idea for Your Project
    Have a unique concept to stand out from the crowd. Know the purpose for building the websites and the services to offer your customers.
  • Choose The Target Audience
    You must know your potential audience before you start developing a social media website. Know their age group, locations, financial status, and hobbies.
  • Find and Hire the Best Web Development Company
    Find a reliable tech partner who has previous experience in creating a social media site.
  • Website Project
    Determine functional specifications to create the UX/UI social network design.
  • Development Process
    With development, testing is also essential. Make sure your site is not slow, and you get enough time to solve problems.
  • Publish and Promote Your Application
    To promote you can advertise through existing social networks like Instagram and Facebook. Other methods are email marketing, SEO practices, blogging, and paid ads.
  • Focus on Maintenance and Support
    Once your website is launched, maintain it on a timely basis to guarantee its effective functioning in the future.

Which are the top social networking apps?

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • TikTok
  • YouTube

What are the estimated hours to create an app like Instagram?

Based on our experience of developing social media apps, it takes around 1591 hours and 1910 hours to create an app like Instagram for the iOS and Android platforms respectively. If you want to check in detail, then refer to this webpage.

What are the must-have features of a social media app?

These are the features that you must include while developing a social media app.

  • Signup
  • User profile
  • Search
  • News feed
  • Chats
  • Media files sharing
  • Push notifications

What are some of the social media trends?

New ideas and trends are always evolving. However, at this moment, you can consider the following list as social media trends.

  • Interactive Content
    It is estimated that many people are interested in interactive content, such as AR/VR, 360-degree video, quizzes, and games.
  • Video Content
    Video content attracts a larger number of audiences; be it short videos on TikTok or Instagram Stories or long videos on YouTube, social video apps are gaining much popularity.
  • Social Commerce
    This has become a primary way of retailing. Therefore, this trend will surely attract mass with an increase in social networks that offer selling features.

What are the different types of social media apps?

  • Media sharing networks
  • Social network app
  • Discussion forums
  • Bookmarking and Content Curation Network
  • Consumer Review Network
  • Blogging & Publishing Network
  • Interest-based Network
  • Social Shopping Network
  • Sharing Economy Network
  • Anonymous Social Network


Ready to Build a Social Media App?

Developing a social media app is not an easy process as it comes with great responsibilities that you need to cater to your audiences. They expect a lot more from an app. Therefore, don’t make any mistakes while selecting the right social media app development company for your project.

As shared, Space-O Technologies is the leading social networking app development company; we will help you find the best solution for your complex needs to develop a social networking app.

Our dedicated team of experts has experience in developing more than 20 social media apps for clients. Whether you run a small or big-scale startup company, our social media app experts have the ability to uplift your business.

Bhaval Patel

Written by

Bhaval Patel is a Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has 20+ years of experience helping startups and enterprises with custom software solutions to drive maximum results. Under his leadership, Space-O has won the 8th GESIA annual award for being the best mobile app development company. So far, he has validated more than 300 app ideas and successfully delivered 100 custom solutions using the technologies, such as Swift, Kotlin, React Native, Flutter, PHP, RoR, IoT, AI, NFC, AR/VR, Blockchain, NFT, and more.