How to Create a Social Media App

Social networking segment is one of the most attractive markets for new businesses. Even though it feels occupied at first glance, lots of new projects become successful every year: when we had Facebook, Twitter arrived. After people moved to Instagram. New generation moved to Snapchat, and so on.

Our team of mobile developers worked on many social applications in the past, and we wanted to share our knowledge on how to make your own social media app. Let's try to break down a social network into different sections, and see what it takes to develop something fresh and exciting.

Table of contents
  1. Main sections of a social networking app
  2. Registration and login
  3. User Profile Screen
  4. Networking
  5. Social Interactions
  6. Messaging
  7. Create a new Post
  8. Feed
  9. Summary

Users always look for new and exciting ways to be connected. Have you ever thought that people would be interested in posting 140-symbol messages to vast numbers of strangers? Or making disappearing photos? Now all these services have millions of users, and they continue growing. If you want to create your own social network app, think about new and unique ways of sharing content - it will help to acquire users easier.

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Main sections of a social networking app

Social App - Sections

Let's think about main features that we will need to add when we try to create a social media app:

  • Registration and login. Even though there are social networks that allow users to join anonymously, in this article we will talk about more traditional networks.
  • User Profile Screen: we want to build a social media app. If we are working on something "social," it will have user profiles.
  • Networking: another obvious feature: adding friends, following people, and more. Usually, it will need a list of friends or followers and some smaller features on other screens like "Add Friend," and so on
  • Social Interactions: when we create a social networking app for iOS or any other platforms, we want users to engage in conversations, and interact with each other. They should be able to like other people's posts, comment on them, share, and so on.
  • Messaging: unlike features from Engagement category, messaging is usually private.
  • Create a new Post: when creating a social network app, we need to allow users to share something: posts, photos, videos, their location, anything! This is the main idea of all the social solutions: share something interesting.
  • Feed: the place where everything will happen. Collection of all the posts shared by user's network

Let's talk about them in detail.

Registration and login

Social App - Login

There are different ways to allow users to make accounts:

  • Classic email-and-password way: this is something does not need an introduction. We ask the user for his email and password, and this is what will be used in the future to log in. On average, developing this type of authentication can take about 25 hours, and will cost ~$875;

  • Phone registration: relatively new process to verify users: we ask the user for his phone number, and we send a verification SMS. It can be more comfortable for a user because he does not have to remember a password but can be a problem if the phone is lost. This method takes only 12 hours to develop and costs around $420.

  • Social login, which allows the user to login with existing accounts: Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, and others. Since all users use different networks, it is better to have a couple of login options available, in case somebody does not have a Facebook account, for example. Integration of one social login takes 8-12 hours and can cost up to $420.

Except for actual registration, we will need to get all the main info about the user, such as name, photo, some description, and so on. Depending on the parameters you would like to gather, it can take around 14 hours or $490 with a $35 hourly rate.

Thinking about your own dating startup? We worked on couple of dating apps, and would be glad to help. Also, we wrote an article about it: how to create a dating app.

User Profile Screen

One can't make a social media app without profile screens. Whenever a person shares something, other users should be able to view more info about him. It can be just info about the person, or it can also include the history of his previous posts, his friends list, and more.

Depending on the design and the data that you would like to show, estimations can differ from 18 hours ($630) to 26 hours ($910), or more.

Networking

Social App - Networking

So you decided to create a social network app. Finished registration, user profiles, what's next? Now we need to figure out how to connect each user to another one.

There are many options, but most popular are:

  • Friending. The classic way of adding people to your network: the user sends a request to somebody, and if the person also wants to see the user in his network - he will accept the request. If not - the request will be ignored, and users won't see each other's personal posts and information. This is the best option if you would like to connect close people together because it will be easier to protect their data. This option might need around 40 working hours and can cost around $1,400.

  • Following. Each user can add interesting people to his following list. Later he will see only posts from people whom he follows. Of course, it automatically makes a list of Followers: others can follow each user. This option is better if the product will be focused on public info sharing. This option is cheaper and can take around 20 hours, which will result in a $700 price.

Social Interactions

Social App - Login

Social Interactions features help users to understand which posts were popular, help users to have conversations, and they help you, as a project owner, to keep customers in the app.

As always, we have multiple ways to engage people inside the app:

  • Comments. This is the most straightforward way to interact with other users when you create social network app. Whenever somebody makes a new post or adds a photo to his timeline - we will show a list of comments and will allow other users to leave theirs. The average number of hours needed to add Comments to the app: 24 hours ($840)

  • Likes: whenever a user wrote a great article or made a great picture, other users can comment "Hey, that was great!". Or they can just add a Like to the post. This is basically a way of endorsing others, to motivate them to continue making good content. Approximate estimations: 16 hours ($560)

You might also be intereted in another article from our developers: how to make an event app.

Messaging

When we make a social networking app, we often have to add messaging. It is more convenient - users can talk to each other privately right in your application. It helps to increase engagement since users will spend more time in the app, so this is something that we definitely should add.

Of course, there are different ways to chat. Text messaging, audio calls, video calls. However, for most social networks text chat will be more than enough in the beginning. Usually, it is a good idea to start building a social network app with text messaging, and after release, they listen to users' feedback. If they need audio calls or video calls - we can implement them later, but for now saved money can help with marketing, for example.

Text Messaging: 30h, $1,050.

Create a new Post

Social App - Create a new Post

Content is the core of social networking apps. When you are coding a social media app, you will definitely need a way for users to share something. Depending on your application focus, it can be posts, photos, reviews, locations, or something different.

Creating a post usually needs one main screen, which will be used for making content. From there, a user will be able to open Photos library to select photos, camera to make new images, map to choose a location or any other similar screens.

If you want to create a social network app that will allow the user to share text posts with photos, the approximate completion time for this section would be around 26 hours and $910

Feed

Social App - Feed

Finally, the central part of the application, the one that will be used by every user, 90% of the time - The Feed!

When you create a social network app from scratch, you need to think of post types that will be available in the feed, and how they look like. Since we decided that in our example application user can create text articles with photos - we assume that all the posts in the feed will have text, photos, or both.

Of course, each post will also show other info as well: user's name, date, number of likes and comments, and more.

Average feed screen will need around 40 hours and would cost $1,400.

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Summary

Social App - Summary

In this article, we described how to make a social networking app for Android or iOS with core features. Of course, in the future, the app might need more features (admin panel, analytics, reporting users, geolocation, and more), but for an MVP or very first release - these core features are more than enough.

Let's now see how much time and costs you might need to create a social network app for one mobile platform, iOS or Android:

Feature Hours Costs
Registration and login 39 $1,365
User Profile 18 $630
Networking 40 $1,400
Social Interactions (Comments + Likes) 40 $1,400
Messaging 30 $1,050
New Post 26 $910
Feed 40 $1,400
Admin Panel 60 $2,100
Total 293 hours or 10 weeks $10,255

If you are thinking to build a social network app, or have any question about this or any other type of mobile application - just write to us at mail@mova.io. Our professional mobile developers will be happy to help you with your project.


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