How To Build a Social Media App – Build Your Own Social Network Platform In 2022?
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is the new trendsetter. Entrepreneurs claim to have observed a steep elevation in their business outreach and conversion rates with SMM.
Statistics suggest that 93% of entrepreneurs worldwide are using Social Media platforms for marketing their brands.
Where 90% of entrepreneurs claim to have improved their business exposure with social media platforms; 75% claim an increase in organic traffic.
However, how will you build your social networking platform? Let us have a better insight
Table of Contents
How to build a Social Media App
To build your social media app, swear by this flowchart.
Define the Purpose:
You already have an amazing idea for building your social networking platform. However, what Next? How can you define the purpose of your app?
Firstly, you must identify into which category does your social media app fall? The below table can give you an insight into some of the most popular niches of social networking platforms.
|Social media app niches
|To connect with the audience by sharing views, opinions, and information.
|Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
|Media sharing network
|To watch media graphics online (photos, videos, posts, stories)
|Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat
|To discuss and have debates
|Reddit, Digg, Quora
|Content curation and bookmarking
|Share trending content & media as well as discover new ideas
|Buy, Sell, find, share, and trade services/products
|Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Uber
|Check reviews for product/place/services/travel/destination/restaurants, etc.
|Blogging & Publishing
|For discovering, publishing, commenting, and posting information online
|Tumblr, Medium, WordPress
Define the goal:
Now that you know the purpose of your app, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you expect from your social media app?
- What is your target audience?
- What is the USP of your brand/product/service
- What are your key performance indicators?
- How are you different from your competitors?
- Are you willing to monetize the app and generate revenue?
For launching a successful social networking platform, it is very much important to have a better understanding of your target audience. You must thoroughly study the market, and keep a keen eye on your competitors.
Develop the Strategy:
To make a decent, yet aesthetically appealing app, you need to assemble a set of features and functionalities. You should develop an app that can efficiently Attract, Engage, Retain, and Convert the audience.
Some of the basic features & functionalities that you must consider integrating into your app are:
- Enable like/comment/share functions to encourage user engagement
- Customize newsfeed for posting regular updates with images, videos, graphics, and content.
- For increasing user engagement, consider enabling push notifications.
- Select the type of app you want; a private app targeting a specific user segment, or a public app free to use and open to all.
- Facilitate linking the app with other platforms, for a wider reach.
- Geolocation to enable tagging features as well as tracking the live location of active users.
- An intact security system for keeping user information and identity safe.
Plan the workflow:
How to plan the workflow? Follow the below steps.
Step 1: Sketching:
Sketching gives a quick outline of the future app. It helps in accessing the future logic of the defined project, the number of screens, and the type of interactions between them. You can figure out weak areas and design issues even before designing the app.
Step 2: Wireframing:
Wireframing is a crucial stage in the app development process. It gives the developers a visual understanding of how your app will look, function, and interact. The skeletal structure displays a structured view of your app, expressing what the users will experience while using your app.
Step 3: Prototyping:
A prototype represents the working model of your future social media application. This is the phase for trial and error. Before initiating the development phase, you can edit, modify, or restructure your app, in this stage.
Step 4: Designing the App:
This is the final stage of the workflow. Here you must finalize the prototype, and convert the wireframe into app design. In this, you give body to the skeletal structure of your app.
App development and Quality Assurance:
To complete the software development lifecycle, it is crucial to building a strong back end, considering both iOS and Android platforms. For this, we need to set up servers, APIs, and databases, and pick suitable storage solutions.
Verify the code with a series of manual and automated testing. Your testing team must rule out bugs so that there is no scope for error during deployment.
The Quality Assurance team must verify that the product adheres to all user guidelines, meets all technical requirements, and adheres to all security standards. Also, everything lies within the criteria of the defined project.
Publishing and Marketing:
Your idea has manifested and taken a form. Your social media app is ready to publish. Now it’s time to announce your presence. Here you can take the help of existing social media platforms. You can make announcements with promotional materials like images, videos, descriptive texts, etc. Marketing is the most important stage, as it decides user conversion rate. Try not to spend all your energy on app development, conserve a part of it for Marketing your app.
App analyses and Maintenance:
Analyze the response of active users, gauge engagement rates, measure conversion rates, monitor bounce rates, and track usage patterns. Analyzing the app gives you an idea to take future steps for providing the best UI and UX.
App maintenance is vital to ensure the proper functioning of your app on all platforms. Periodical audits, security checks, and regular updates keep your app functioning efficiently.
How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Social Media app?
The development cost of your social media app depends on its complexity level.
A simple social media application is integrated with basic features and functionalities. It requires simple UI components, simple filters, map makers, and a feed list. There is no need to integrate APIs, third-party functionalities, or back-end infrastructure.
Developing a simple social media app takes less than 500 hours. Its budget can range from USD 15.000 to 30,000. This is the lowest price range. Spending less than this can make the app useless.
Moderately complex app:
An app with a moderate complexity level requires a customized UI component, real-time chat functionality, API integration, responsive adaptation, as well as a simple backend server.
Developing a moderate complexity social media app takes 1000 to 3000 hours. Its budget pricing starts at USD 30,000.
Highly complex social media app:
The highly complex app is fully featured with advanced functionalities like custom animation, audio/video processing, real-time synchronization, complex backends, integration with third-party services, and much more.
Developing a highly complex app takes 18 to 20 months. Its cost starts from USD 80,000.
This is only an estimate for developing social media apps. Consider adding expenses for outsourcing if you are to hire an offshore development team.
Also, consider the cost of distribution & marketing, support & maintenance as well as App shutdown (in an emergency).
How to make money from social media apps?
You have your social media app published and running fully fledged. How will you make money from it? Here are the ways to monetize your social media app
It is the best way to earn money from your app. Facebook, YouTube, and many popular social media platforms use this to make money. How? While streaming on YouTube you have to watch the chain of 2/3 of short-lived ads, after which the feature video starts playing. You can show relevant ads (posts or videos) to your users and make money.
You can offer your users some high-quality & high-value content/ services like exclusive education courses, expert consultations, detailed reports, exposure to job opportunities or anything that suits your business brand. For this, you can leverage subscriptions, for an exchange of your services. However, make sure that your offerings are high quality and worth payable.
Once you have built your community and have an audience showing interest in your content, you can try publishing sponsored content from other businesses on your app. This is a safe way of making money through your app. Make sure that the context of sponsored content is relevant to the theme of your app.
Sell your brand’s product/services:
Now that you have your social networking platform, you can sell your products/services on your terms, without any limitations or restrictions. Either sell directly through product links or integrate an online store (like Shopify) in your app. This makes it easier for the audience to make purchases.
Some of the most popular social media apps like (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) earn a lot of money in venture capital. So, they tend to monetize or sell social media apps for making profits.
Allow your audience to access quality products or exclusive services within the app, with in-app purchases. Give your audience a chance for unlocking products or deals in exchange for direct payments through mobile apps.
Events & Activities:
Promote events and activities on your social media app, that match the interest of your audience. This is an easy way to make money.
Why you must consider building your social networking platform in 2022?
Still, have doubts about building your social networking platform? Here are some convincing reasons.
Connect better with your audience
Your social media app can increase your reach to the relevant audience segment, making the interactions easier and smoother as compared to existing social media apps.
Increase engagement rate:
Social media apps depend on algorithms to decide which content to display and which not. Constantly battling in such a competitive ecosystem can be a bit overwhelming. With your social network, you can easily reach your audience, without falling into the trap of complex algorithms.
Build your community:
With your own social media network, you can build your community and attract an audience organically. You have the freedom to approach the audience on your terms, access valuable information, and drive interactions accordingly.
Share your ideas and creativity:
Twitter has character limits (to upload content), and Instagram has size limits (to upload graphics). Social media platforms have their limitations. With your social networking platform, you can share your content, ideas, and creativity, without any limitations or restrictions.
Monetize your service/product/brand better:
Business accounts on social platforms are gaining traction, with the increasing appetite of audiences for e-commerce and online shopping. Your social networking platform can directly connect you to the customer segment genuinely interested in your brand and willing to spend. Your networking platform can generate organic traffic with increased conversion rates.
A distraction-free space:
300 million photos are uploaded every day on Facebook; 95 million photos & videos are uploaded every day on Instagram; Twitter generates 456,000 tweets every minute. Your creativity might get overshadowed in the storm of social media distractions. Having your custom social media platform helps you to engage your audience without any distractions. Thereby giving you free space to display your creativity.
The evolution in the IT sector has brought forward growth opportunities in the social media and networking sector.
The number of social media users crossed 4.5 billion in 2022. This accounts for 56% of active social media users i.e., half of the global population.
With half of the population inclined towards its usage, Social Media Networking Platforms are rapidly developing as multi-use platforms: Connect, interact, like/comment/share, and discover. There is a rising trend in e-commerce, online shopping, online meet-ups, and ordering online food.
Social networking platforms are opening new avenues for growth opportunities. Softqube Technologies can help you build your social media app, and skyrocket the growth of your business. What are you waiting for? Connect with us today!
I am the Managing Director of Softqube Technologies Pvt. Ltd., a modern-day digital transformation, design and development service provider. We provide services to businesses of all verticals across the globe. I believe and live by a mission that I help more entrepreneurs to build, launch and grow profitable businesses.
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