HOW TO CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA APP: FEATURES, DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT & COST
14 min
Mar 15 2022
Nikita L
Nikita LExecutive Director
Alex K
Alex KTechnical writer
Social networking apps and websites come in all shapes and sizes. Today, they have become an integral part of everyday life and also a huge market. In this blog post, we will talk about social media apps’ features, design, development process, and cost to make.

CHOOSE FEATURES FOR A SOCIAL NETWORKING APP

Now let’s discover more details about mobile app development. Social media apps may have lots of tools and functions, adjustable for your community needs. You can choose some features to make an MVP and test it in the market. Later, you’ll improve your product, adding more opportunities for users.

Basic Features to Make Your App Work

All social media apps are different, though the core functionality remains more or less the same. If you want to create a basic version of your social media app, study the feature set from the table below.
Basic Feature What for
Sign-in and log-in systems Users register on your social media app with login and password and then use this information to log in. It’s also possible to integrate social login via popular networks like Google or Instagram.
User profile Users create personal spaces that are often customized. Standart profile information includes name, photo or avatar, location, etc.
Friending and unfriending options Users send friend requests within a social media app, follow others to see their updates, etc. They can also unfriend, mute, or block other users.
Groups and subgroups Users can join specific spaces and discuss narrow topics within your social networking app.
Post creation Users create and publish posts, sharing news and opinions with their friends or your whole community.
Feed Users see this feature as the central part of your social media app because here they check updates from people and groups they’re following. You can add categories like Video, Events, Streams, etc.
Comment section Users can discuss topics started in posts.
Post likes and shares Users mark their favorite content, from photos and videos to comments and posts in the feed. They can resend any content and spread among followers.
Search bar Users find topics, groups, and people via keywords and filters (e.g., by data).
Private messaging Users chat in private mode. They can share posts from feed, media content, links, etc. It’s worth making both personal and group chatting options.
Notifications Users quickly learn about updates, friend requests, being tagged in posts by others, etc. Notifications should be organized by categories (friends, followers, communities, admin, etc.). You can also apply push notifications that users see on their phone screens without logging in to your app.
File uploads Users can upload photos, videos, and other media with a couple of clicks.
Geotags Users add geographical identificators to their uploaded photos and videos or created posts.
Hashtags Users find content by clickable metadata tags with the hash symbol. They can also add them to their own posts.
What else can mobile app development do? In addition to these user features, it’s worth adding some essential tools for social media app administration.

Security Measures

What is more, think about security when you build a social media app. Your users will share a lot pf personal data, so be prepared to safeguard passwords and logins, payment information, locations, and so on. Protective measures may include:
  1. Multi-factor authentication;
  2. Security questions;
  3. Auto-checking password strength;
  4. Privacy settings for user accounts, posts, and other content;
  5. Software to prevent phishing and hacking attacks and other cyber threats;
  6. Spam detection tools and content moderation;
  7. Monitoring tools and an early warning system.
Security on social media
There are many ways to protect your users
All these features will help you build a smoothly working app for the social media community.

Advanced Features to Engage People

There is plenty of uniqueness that you can get from mobile app development. These features may help your product survive in heated competition. What will encourage people to download your app from stores? Apart from a smart marketing campaign, you should offer potential users some valuable experience.
Advanced Feature What for
Livestreaming The instant connection between you and your audience or between community’s influencers and their following.
In-app calling Your social media app will be more popular if users can make free audio and video calls with a quality connection.
Voice messaging Attract more users by adding various messaging opportunities.
Face filters Funny faces on users’ photos or during video calls became a desirable feature for many users. Consider adding it to your social media app.
Customization Users feel at home on your social media app if they can add their personalities into profiles by changing colors, cover images, avatars, profile names, social media statuses, sticker and emoji sets, and other elements that create the look.
Multi-language support Half of social media users don’t select English in settings. Include other widespread languages if you want to reach an international audience.
Chatbots Artificial intelligence can answer popular questions, entertain users, and help them get started with your social media app.
You’ll make your social media app unique if you choose the right niche for it and carefully select a few advanced features.

BUILD AN AMAZING SOCIAL MEDIA APP

Let’s find out how to design your app and make it user-friendly. We’ll also look at technologies to build a social media website and application, and talk about its support and post-launch improvements.

UI/UX Design for a Social Networking App

UI (User Experience) and UX (User Interface) are crucial parts of every social media app. You can hire a team of designers or contact a software development company that will do all kinds of work for you, from prototyping and design to coding and testing. We’ve collected some best UI/UX practices according to the latest social media industry trends, market research, and the best designers’ experience. What you should remember about the potential users:
How do you build a social media app and satisfy the users? Just keep in mind that you should create the most convenient interface for them.
Here are some quick and helpful rules for social media app’s design.
Uiux design for a social media app
A few golden rules for designing social media apps
We recommend you first design a basic version of your social media app. Think globally, consider all possible user interactions and create well-thought architecture. A development team needs to see a bigger picture even if you’re just making an MVP (minimum viable product). You and your specialists will decide which features will be implemented now and which are to leave for later versions of the custom social media app.

Web and App Development for Social Media

As long as you selected the core features and prepared UI/UI design for your social media app, it’s time for developers to start their work. We advise you to decide early on the platforms – iOS, Android, or both. This choice is typically determined by the existing business plan and target audience. For example, it’s well known that users of Apple devices are generally older and more open to purchasing via social media apps. Android and iOS app development for social media will require different technological stacks. Today, there are many programming languages, frameworks, and other technologies at developers’ disposal. The larger your project is, the more diverse tech stacks will be for mobile app development. Let’s look at some examples.
Web and app development for social media
These tech stacks developers use to build a social media app
There is another opportunity to get both iOs and Android apps. Flutter SDK allows one developer to create a cross-platform solution for both iOS and Android. You get two fast-working apps with a single codebase and also spare resources. If you hire Flutter developers you'll get a perfect opportunity to save up to 50% time and budget on a high-performance app for iOS and Android. This technology is specifically good for startups that want to create an MVP faster and more efficiently.
Many popular social media apps, such as Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and freelance hiring platform Fiverr are built with MEAN stack, which includes MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, and Node.js technologies. If you want to learn more about it, feel free to read our guide on how to hire MEAN stack developers.
You also might want to reach further with your social networking app and create a website with the same functionality. Even if you choose to make a native app, it will need a web-based administration panel to manage all content and activity. Alongside designers and developers, you’ll need a project manager to guide the whole workflow and deadlines, resolve issues, and enable smooth communication between you and the team. Mobile app development companies will also provide QA (quality assurance) services to check up the first version of a custom product. There is also lots of testing during the development process when specialists find bugs and eliminate them.

Support and Maintenance for a Social Media App

Simultaneously with mobile and web development, think about the ways to support and maintain your end-product. In the future, when redesigning your app or releasing new features, you need to make sure that the current version works stably. Support and maintenance usually include the following services:
Once you create a social media app, be prepared for continuous work on its stability and improvement.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO MAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA APP?

Now you know how to create a social media app. The last question is about the budget you need to plan. The main cost component of mobile app development is the team’s hourly rates. Here you have three classical options.
Freelancers In-house team Outsourced team
Price from $10/hour from $80/hour from $30/hour
Pros & Cons The cheapest price is a major benefit. However, a freelance developer may be unreliable or lack the needed expertise. A development team within your company is convenient in many ways but rather expensive. Outsourced staff is experienced and reliable. It’s more expensive than freelancers, yet still costs less than an in-house team.
Backend and frontend development for a custom social media app often takes lots of time. However, you can launch an MVP within 3-4 months and then continue further development and improvements. How do we work here at Exceed Team? Let’s look at the rough price estimates for a typical content-sharing app like Instagram.
What to do Rough estimation
Custom app development (per one platform) from $35 000
UI/UX design from $8 000
QA testing from $7 000
Project management from $5 000
Total cost from $55 000 (per one platform)
These estimates will give you a general understanding of your project’s budget. If you have a special and unique idea about a social media app, it’s best to contact professionals to learn more about the development specificities and calculate the costs.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Do you have a new idea for a social media app? Do you think your idea has the potential? Would you like to create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to present it to real users and collect first feedback? Exceed Team can help you with everything related to social media app creation.
Most popular questions

What technologies do developers use to build a social media app?

The scope and complexity of the project will define the tech stack for it. For example, big social media apps like Youtube or Instagram are built with MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, and Node.js), while sufficient databases to store likes and other social media data will be MySQL or PostgreSQL.

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

It will depend on the world region where you hire developers and designers. In Eastern Europe and Russia, for example, custom web development costs about $35 000 per one platform, and UI/UX design is about $8 000. The app development also requires quality testing and project management. The total cost will be from $55 000 for a platform, iOS or Android.
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