How to Make a Social Media App? - Prismetric

How to Make a Social Media App?


Facebook, the pioneer of social media, has ranked in $85 billion in revenue in 2020. The phenomenal success stories of social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and Twitter have opened up doors of wide possibilities. According to a report, the internet has around 4.5 billion users, and 3.7 billion users have social media accounts. These social media users spend, on average, around 2.5 hours on their social media accounts.

The potential of a social media app is huge, and this is why many entrepreneurs are attracted to the idea of building their own social media app. Although you can hire the best mobile app developers to build a robust social media app for you, it’s necessary that you have some basic idea about the business you are getting into. Two of the most important questions that come to mind when you think about building a social media app are

  1. How to build a social media app?
  2.  How much does it cost to build a social media app?

In this blog, we will answer both of these questions.

What kinds of social media networks are there?

Before you ponder over the question, how much does it cost to build a social media app? You will need to consider the type of social media networks out there.Every social media network has a different focus and attracts different types of people towards itself. These are the major types of social media networks out there.

Relationship networks

Relationship networks are those kinds of social media networks that help people make new connections. Facebook, the first name that comes to mind when you think about social media, is an example of a relationship network. Relationship networks are one of the most widely used and popular networks in the world today.

Media sharing networks

Media sharing networks are the kind of social media networks that help users to share media content like videos and photos with the world. Social media apps like Youtube and Instagram are examples of media sharing networks. The media-sharing networks provide the users with the ability to express themselves. This is the reason for the immense popularity of media-sharing networks.

Review platforms

Review social media platforms are the kind of platforms that allow the users to choose the best service or products by reading the reviews posted by other users. It is common for such types of social networks to include location-based features so that people can leave a review of local businesses. Tripadvisor is an example of a review social media platform.

Discussion forums

There are active social media communities and forums where people come to discuss their issues and find resolutions for these issues. Quora is a nice example of such a discussion social media forum.

Social publishing platforms

Social publishing platforms are social media platforms where micro-blogging and sharing text and media content is the key aim. Twitter and Tumblr are the most famous social media publishing platforms.

Social media bookmarking platforms

The bookmarking social media platforms are those platforms that allow the users to build a library of their favorite content. Pinterest and Flipboard are examples of bookmarking social media platforms.

Interest-based networks

Interest-based social networks are the networks where people having similar interests come together. Goodreads is a type of interest-based social media.

Features to include in a social media app

Basic features

To ensure the success of your social media app, you will need to include certain basic features into your app. A few examples are mentioned below.

  • Profile
  • Sign up/sign in
  • Posts
  • Notifications
  • Search bar
  • Send/ receive requests
  • Social feed
  • Chat and messaging
  • Multimedia sharing
  • Block/unblock someone
  • Groups and subgroups
  • Custom themes
  • Search
  • Link with other social media platforms

Advanced features

Apart from the basic features, you can think about adding a few advanced features to your social media app. This way, you will be able to attract more users to your social media app. Here are a few suggested advanced features that you can consider adding to your social media app.

AR filters

You can include AR(augmented reality) filters like Snapchat and Instagram into your social media app. These AR filters will boost the engagement rate of your social media app as they prompt the users to try new filters every day and post them on their social media page. For instance, a user can add an old age filter to their image and see how they would look in old age.

Location-based content

You can add a location-based content suggestion feature to your social media app. The location-based content feature will show the most popular content in the user’s location. This way, you can boost the engagement of your social media app.

In case you want to know more about the must-have features in a mobile app, then please refer to our guide on best app features.

How to estimate the social media app development cost?

The social media app development cost depends on a lot of factors like

The scale and complexity of the app

If you plan to build a social media app with a lot of complex features, then it will definitely cost you more as compared to building a simple app with only the basic features.

The location of the app developers

The location of your social media app developers also plays an important role in determining the final cost of the project.

A social media app development cost of hiring a company located in western Europe or the USA would be around 3-5 times more than an Indian social media app development company.

Type of app

Another factor that plays a vital role in determining the cost of your social media app is the kind of app that you want to build. A native app, for example, will cost you more than a hybrid app. A native app is an app that can work only on a single platform. For instance, if you build a native iOS app, then your social media app won’t work on Android. With a hybrid app, you can build an app that works both on iOS as well as Android. This way, you can cut down the social media app development cost in half if you choose to build a single hybrid app instead of two native apps.

Considering all the above factors, the estimated cost of developing a social media app can range between $80,000-$175,000. Note that this is a broad range, and you will need to consult your social media app developers to find out the exact social media app development cost. For more details, you can refer to our app development cost guide.

How to make money from a social media app?

A successful social media app can prove to be a money-minting machine. Here are the ways in which you can monetize your social media app.

Paid subscriptions

As long as the content delivery value, people will be more than happy to avail paid subscriptions. Instagram is one such social media platform that allows creators to charge a premium from their followers for premium content. You, too, can do so and charge a commission from the creators who charge premium content.

Physical purchases

People sell all kinds of stuff on social media. Why not earn from it? Like paid subscriptions, you can allow users to buy or sell merchandise on your social media platform and earn commission from it.

Sponsored content

One of the biggest strengths of a social media platform is the number of engaged users that it is able to garner. You can charge a premium from advertisers who want to gain access to this user base.

Events and activities

You can partner with businesses for events and online activities on your social media platform. This way, you can charge a commission on every ticket sold through your social media app.

Steps to build a social media app

Whatever is the kind of social media that you want to build, building a social media app will boost your business. Why? Because as per statistics, out of the 4.48 billion social media users, around 99% use a mobile device to access their social media accounts. A mobile app can help you tap this large section of people. Let’s have a look at the steps involved in building a social media mobile app.

Step 1 – Target audience and purpose

To build your presence in the cluttered social media market, you will need to analyze the competition thoroughly and ensure that you have a complete understanding of the target market.

Conduct robust market research to understand the needs of the users. Market research will help you assess the target audience better and understand the inherent features of the niche in which you are going to enter. Along with market research, you will also need to conduct robust competition research. Comprehensive competition research will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. You can then decide the features and functionalities to include and exclude in your social media app based on the experience of the competitors. Competition research will also help you identify need gaps in the market. You can acquire new users easily by providing features that fill these need gaps.

You should have a clear idea about the purpose of your social media app. Think about the strategies that you will use to grow and engage your community and how you plan to make money from your social media app. You can consult a social media app development company to help you with the process of defining the target audience and purpose of your social media app.

Step 2 – Features and functions

As an entrepreneur, it is natural to get swayed away and build a social media app with a wide range of features. Understand that sometimes even after thorough research, it is not p[ossible to predict the behavior of the users exactly. This is why it is best to build an MVP(minimum viable product) first. An MVP is an app that has all the basic features that the users require and nothing more. You can always add the bells and whistles later when you gain confidence that your app is getting a decent response from the market.

When you decide the features and functions, consider including only those functions that your active users use.

Step 3 – Development & Design

Once you have finished outlining the core features and functionalities of your app, it’s now time to start with the design and development stage. You can start by creating wireframes for your app. Wireframes will help your entire team visualize how the app will work and how it will look.

A social media app architecture has a three-tier structure consisting of a mobile client, backend, and database. Below is what an approximate tech stack of a social media app would look like:

Tech stack of social media app

For a social media app, you will need to decide on a robust tech stack. Discuss with your social media app developers to finalize the ideal technological stack according to your needs.

Frontend development

The front end of the app is the part where the users interact with the app. The front end of the app needs to be attractive or else the users won’t interact with these apps; thus, it can negatively impact the performance of your app. Angular and React are two widely used technologies that can build an attractive front end for your social media app.

Backend development

The backend of the app determines the scalability, efficiency, and performance of the pp. Think of it as the engine of an automobile that is under the hood and does the heavy lifting. Without an efficient backend, your social media app won’t be able to perform according to expectations. The technology stack needs to be selected based on the amount of load the backend is expected to handle.


There is an enormous amount of data that needs to be processed in a social media app. Hence the need arises for a strong database tier. Based on the requirements of the app, one can choose from options like MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and more. While selecting the database, it is essential to ensure that the database is flexible, secure, scalable, and is equipped to handle multiple queries simultaneously.

Admin panel

Social media apps require an admin panel so that the admin can monitor the critical metrics like the number of active users, the kind of posts that the users share, and the content that engages the users. An admin panel allows the users to manage users and content. Using the admin panel, you can also remove abusive or illegal content. By integrating analytics tools in your admin panel, you can gain invaluable insights about what your users want and can add features accordingly into the next updates.

Step 4 – Grow your community

Once you have developed your social media app, it’s now time to attract users to your app and grow your community. To grow your community, think about the initial marketing strategies that you will need to deploy. Here are a few strategies that you can deploy to attract users to your social media app.

Content marketing
Use blog posts, infographics, and videos on topics that interest your audience. This will drive the users towards your app.

Use your website
You can advertise your social media app in case you already have a website.

Leverage your existing networks
If you already have a large email list or a decent following on social media, then ensure to let your customers know about your social media app.

Paid ads
You can use Google ads or purchase ads on other social networks to drive users towards your app.

Connect with influencers

Influencers can prove to be a great source to attract users to your social media app. Reach out to the influencers who you know can prove to be a great fit for your app and explore the possibilities of promoting your app to their audience.

Use referrals

Use referrals to nudge your active users to invite friends to your social media app. Referrals can prove to be a powerful way of marketing your social media app.

Step 5 – Analytics

To assess the success of your social media app, you will need to have a look at some critical social media metrics. These metrics will help you make actionable changes in the future. We have discussed a few critical social media metrics below.

Customer acquisition cost

The customer acquisition cost is the cost incurred to acquire a new user. This cost includes the cost of marketing. The customer acquisition cost helps you determine if the app’s business model is a sustainable one and helps you to improve the ROI(return on investment) of your social media app development project.

User activation and churn rate

The user activation rate is the number of active users in comparison to the users who have downloaded the app. Active users are the users that are valuable hence it is necessary to ensure that there are a good number of active users in your social media app. The churn rate is the number of users that have stopped using the social media app.

User engagement rate

The user engagement rate is defined by the number of actions that a user takes in the app. Session length is an important metric to track to measure the user engagement rate.

Burn rate

The burn rate is the rate at which money is spent on the app. The costs include the server costs, staff cost, marketing and sales cost, app maintenance costs, and so on. The burn rate will help you to track the monthly expenditures and revenue growth.


We hope that we have answered the questions about how to make a social media app? and how much does it cost to develop a social media app. A social media app can prove to be a worthy investment if you execute the project properly. You can take the help of a top mobile app development company like Prismetric to build a high-quality social media app.

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