How to Create a Social Media App (2022)

In 2020, over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025. This means that over a third of the world’s population is using some form of social media. Social media is a commonplace platform for communication today, have you ever considered how to create own social media app?

Building your first social media app can be a challenging experience. To get you started, we’ve compiled this introductory guide.

How to Create a Social Media App (1)

Number of social network users worldwide from 2017 to 2025(in billions)

Social media app features

We compiled a list of seven must-have features to keep in mind when you develop your own custom social networking app.

Connection with existing social media

Using existing login information from a social network provider like Facebook, Twitter, or Google, the user can sign in to your app instead of creating a new account. This simplifies registrations and logins for end users.

Opportunities for self-expression

Users look for features that help them to edit the design and styling of the public profile. The app should include some tools and features like customization of profile pictures, cover photo, nicknames, etc.


Users love to connect with their friends and see what they are up to. Social media app developers should create features to allow finding and inviting friends with one click. Also, it should intelligently suggest them based on their shared connectivity as Facebook or Twitter do.

Arranging the newsfeed

Newsfeed involves different types of updates, content delivery network, ways to interact with the content, means to report inappropriate postings etc.


The content can be shown in chronological order. Or you can use complex algorithms to customize the feed and arrange the news based on its importance to a specific user. Some apps also offer personalized content suggestions, using machine learning algorithms to determine your preferences and interests.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are arranging their newsfeeds from the most to the least important.

Interaction with other services

To develop a full-featured app that does so much more than just messaging, it is necessary to integrate with third-party services. The users don’t have to switch between apps if your app will be more akin to a blend of messaging, social gaming, and social media. You can include the following services:

  • Relationship networks like Facebook, LinkedIn or Tinder.
  • Media sharing networks such as Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine or Snapchat.
  • Online reviews. For example, Yelp or Urbanspoon.
  • Discussion forums like Quora, Reddit, and Digg.
  • Social publishing platforms as Twitter, Medium, and Tumblr.
  • Bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Flipboard.
  • Interest-based networks. Integrate the for music fans, or Goodreads for book lovers.

Private communication

Most users will rather not let anyone know about their interaction. For those reasons, we advise you to include in the social networking apps built-in services for secure private communication.

We also broke down how to build an app like WeChat in another post!

Advanced Features to Create a Social Network App

AR filters

To make social media apps more engaging, you can integrate various filters and effects to the photo or video. For example, Instagram and Snapchat have a bunch of custom AR filters.


To achieve additional advantages, you should allow users to edit their pictures in a social media app. For example, you can offer such options as crop and rotate images, remove unnecessary objects, create a collage, and more.

Location-based content

This feature allows the app to analyze the user location and shows content posted by other users with the same location. Also, users can add their whereabouts to the photo or video.

So you have an idea and understand the essential features of the app. Let’s move to the direct creation of the application.

(Video) How To Create A Social Media App

We highly recommend you to start with the MVP or minimum viable product. MVP is a product with enough features to satisfy the initial customers and provide feedback for future development. A minimum viable product approach helps to announce the product rapidly, and save time and money. Once validation is finished, you can finalize the product.

How to Create a Social Media App (2)

How to create a social media app


At this stage, you have to define the requirements and the final outcome you want. Also, determine the target audience and what will attract them to use your app. It’s important to know the need of your users to find a special niche while developing a social media app for mobile.


A clickable prototype is a working model of a future application which provides a better understanding of the product. It is much easier to edit an idea and bring changes to it before the development process is started.


  • By sketching, you are setting the ground for your future interface and visually conceptualize the main features, the layout, and structure of your application.
  • Wireframing is the process of creating a mockup of your product. You can find a number of wireframing tools online. The most popular ones are Balsamiq, Moqups, and HotGloo, which allows you to not only drag and drop all your graphic elements but also add button functionality.
  • A prototype is mid- to a high-fidelity representation of the final user interface. The goal of a prototype is to simulate the interaction between the user and the interface. Whenever a button is clicked, the appropriate action must occur, mimicking the experience of a full product.


There are two sides to development: the client side (front-end) and the server side (backed).

Front-end involves everything users see on their screens. For Android development, the application needs to be written in Java, while iOS requires Swift or Objective-C. This immediately calls for creating two very different app versions, one for each platform.

If you choose the cross-platform approach, we recommend to use frameworks for cross-platform development. For example, React Native.

Now your app has been defined pretty clearly, and it is time to get started on the back-end of your system. You have to set up servers, databases, APIs, and storage solutions.

Let’s mention some popular programming languages and their major frameworks:

  • PHP. PHP is used for the development of 78% of all websites on the market. This programming language is dynamically typed. One component can perform differently depending on the context. So, this process PHP software is lower in speed and complex to scale.
  • Java. Java is suitable almost for any type of software development. It is often used for the development of social media.
  • Ruby. Ruby is a programming language with open-source code that can be changed. It has a wide range of ready-made instruments that give the ability to perform basic tasks. Ruby is a kind of laconic and doesn’t need vast code for the back-end. This option helps to build and launch prototypes.
  • Python. Python programming language is mostly used for web development and the building of desktop applications. It is a dynamically typed programming language with open-source code. Python has a syntax that is easy to comprehend and use.
  • JavaScript. JavaScript is a flexible programming language that can be used for both front-end and back-end. It has a wide range of different frameworks for the development of any type of solution. However, it is harder to scale, support, and has a low speed.

Your application needs a place to store its data, and that’s what a database is used for. There are two types of databases: relational such as SQLite, MySQL, PostgreSQL, or NoSQL and non-relational like MongoDB.

(Video) Create a Social Media App - (Design & Prototype) UI/UX Tutorial

All back-end tech stacks include the following main parts:

  • Operating system
  • Web server
  • Database
  • Programming language

But, we should note that when choosing the right back-end technology, you do not always need to select each component separately. There are already several back-end stacks where the components have proved to form the most optimal development environment. Let’s see the most popular technology stack examples that web developers use:

  • LAMP stands for Linux (operating system), Apache (web server), MySQL (database), PHP (programming language). LAMP is considered the most popular back-end stack and is appreciated for its scalability, security, and high customization options.
  • MEAN is an acronym of MongoDB (database), Express.js (application framework), AngularJS (front-end framework), Node.js (runtime environment). The MEAN stack is known for its high performance and flexibility, as well as a smooth learning curve since it uses the same language across all components.
  • MERN includes MongoDB, Express, React/Redux, and Node.js. This combination is reasonably called the most-used stack for building high-end single-page applications. MERN also offers a short learning curve, high productivity, and enhanced agility.

Switch for a moment from reading to video, and check some great suggestions of how to build apps by Alexey Grakov.

Quality Assurance

Run testing at every stage of the development process. By testing, you will not only check any errors in the code but test the UX of the project.

The alpha-testing (developers + testing team) includes the following steps:

  • Functional testing
  • Integration testing
  • Unit testing
  • Bug fixing

You can also run beta-testing (by actual users). Use beta-testing platforms, for example, Reddit allows one to invite users to beta-test a new application.


After previous stages are done, you have to publish a complete product on App Store and Google Play.

These marketplaces have very different policies when it comes to publishing a new app. Android does not review newly submitted apps right away. They’ll pass by at some point and check it out, but you are able to instantly add your app to Google Play.

IOS is different here. Apple reserves the right to review and approve your app before it can go live. There is no set timeframe for this, but you can expect at least a week before you hear back from them.


Read also How To Create a Dating App? Tips from Dating App Developers

Quantitative metrics for social media application

To analyze a social media app, you can use the metrics that track engagement and help to make the right decision. Following are some essential ones:

  • Acquisition: CPI & CAC. CPI (Cost Per Install) is calculated by tracking installs of users that came from advertising. The formula for calculating Cost-per-install is quite simple: Your total ad spends divided by the number of installs.How to Create a Social Media App (3)

CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) is the cost associated in convincing a customer to buy a product/service. This cost is incurred by the organization to convince a potential customer.

How to Create a Social Media App (4)

  • User activation. A number of users in comparison to a number of downloads. Its actions are customized for each app.
  • User Retention and Churn rate. Customer retention is a measure of how many of your customers are loyal to your brand and return for another visit. Customer retention only deals with existing customers, with no consideration for new customers. Churn sometimes shows how many customers don’t return to your app. Customer churn takes into account new customers in its calculation.
  • User engagement. User engagement is a number of target actions taken in the app.
  • Traction. Traction shows patterns of the month-to-month growth of users.
  • Burn rate. The burn rate is the pace at which you are spending down your cash reserves. It allows you to measure how fast you are going through your balance.

If you want to receive a full tech stack for an app, please do not hesitate to contact us at Now let’s take a closer look at monetization and development cost.

How to monetize your social media app?

Building apps is a business, and you need to earn money to keep going. But, with a number of options available for monetization, what tactic should you adopt?

The following video explains how to monetize your app.

How Much Does It Cost to Make a Social Network App?

The costs of building social media app can range from $25k to $250k, depending on features you want to add. The more features and the more robust infrastructure you plan to implement — the higher the development costs will be.

Here are some approximate development cost estimates of the most popular social apps:

(Video) 3 Free Apps For Content Creation | Phil Pallen

    • Facebook: $420k — $465k
    • Instagram-like product: $100k — $300k
    • WhatsApp: $120k
    • Pinterest: $120k
    • Vine: $125k-$175k
    • Clubhouse: about $33k for a basic app
    • Dating app like Tinder: $50k–$150k+
    • App Like Tik Tok: $65k – $115k
    • Zoom-like MVP: $120k to $260k
    • Twitch app: $250k–350k

Note, MVPs will cost you at least half of that.

Now you know the basic steps of social media app development.

Want to make an app for social media or integrate social features, but don’t want to spend time on and programming? VironIT services can be very useful. Our team has vast expertise in iOS, Android, and web applications development and chatbots launching. If you want more information, please contact us.


Is it possible to make a social media app? ›

Social networks app development can be provided from scratch or as an add-on to the existing web version. At The APP Solutions, we can work with either option, since we have experience with coming into the development process at any project lifecycle stage.

How do I create a social media platform? ›

I've compiled a list of 8 steps that you need to follow in the process:
  1. Identify your community. ...
  2. Define the features and functions. ...
  3. Choose the right technology. ...
  4. A must have structure. ...
  5. Design Activity Stream. ...
  6. Create Status Update Features. ...
  7. Quality Viewing Data options. ...
  8. You need to attract the right users.
25 Aug 2017

What makes a good social media app? ›

Here are 10 key features every social media app should have:
  • #1: Simple and Friendly User Interface (UI) ...
  • #2: Visually Appealing and Accessible Design. ...
  • #3: Secure Login. ...
  • #4: Networking Element. ...
  • #5: Content Sharing Method. ...
  • #6: Messaging System. ...
  • #7: Open Forum.
  • #8: Real-Time Notifications.
28 Jan 2021

How create an app like WhatsApp? ›

Let's begin the process of developing WhatsApp-like Android App
  1. Analyze Market Need. Source: Google. ...
  2. Select the App Module Which Suits Your Business. ...
  3. Choose Trending and Must-Have WhatsApp Features. ...
  4. Select App Design. ...
  5. Hire Android App Developers to Develop an App Like WhatsApp.
23 Nov 2020

How long does it take to build a social media app? ›

There isn't a straightforward answer. It could take almost 10 to 12 months, with 450 development hours to incorporate features. The development time will also vary depending on the level of developer and designer expertise, choice of platform, and tech stack.

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

In case you would like to build a sophisticated social media app that has complex features, sophisticated design, and support, for two and more platforms, you shouldn't expect a low price for it. The development cost of such a project will likely be over $115,000.

How can I make an app like TikTok? ›

Five steps to developing an app like TikTok
  1. Research the target market. To bring an idea for a social media app with music videos, you need to conduct research and find out more about your target market. ...
  2. Choose the monetization model. ...
  3. Hire an app development team. ...
  4. Create an MVP for a TikTok alternative. ...
  5. Grow your app.

How do you make an app like Instagram? ›

Here is how to make an app like Instagram in 10 steps:
  1. Conduct market research.
  2. Make competitor analysis.
  3. Validate an app idea.
  4. Create app design.
  5. Choose a technology stack.
  6. Decide on features.
  7. Choose monetization strategy.
  8. App development.

How do you code a mobile app? ›

How to Code an App for Android
  1. Get the Android app development tools you'll need. To begin, set up your development environment so that your PC is prepared to meet your Android development objectives. ...
  2. Choose between Java and Kotlin for app coding. ...
  3. Familiarize yourself with the files. ...
  4. Create your own Android app.
1 Feb 2022

What was the first social media app? ›

The first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users.

How do you make an app like Twitter? ›

How do you make an app like Twitter?
  1. Open
  2. Choose the Social Media template (Twitter, Facebook, Website, etc.)
  3. Click “Next” on the screen.
  4. Follow the guide.
  5. Name the app.
  6. Upload a custom icon( You can use the given)
  7. Click the “Create” button. Your Twitter is ready.

What makes a social media platform easy? ›

The best apps thrive because of their simple and clean designs that make sending and receiving messages, pictures or videos as easy as a simple click. Building upon their ability to allow users to communicate, popular social media apps have the ability to broadcast opinions, thoughts, concerns and questions.

How do I create a simple chat app? ›

Create a Chat and Messaging App for Android and iOS in just 3 steps. Communicate with other users with instant messages or video call options.
How To Make a Chat App in 3 Easy Steps
  1. Name & logo. To make an app choose a template, or a blank app and set the name and icons.
  2. Set Features. ...
  3. Publish.

How much does it cost to make an app like WhatsApp? ›

WhatsApp development cost

Development of applications for instant messaging like WhatsApp will cost $50000: Prototyping — from $5000. Applications development (iOS + Android) — from $28000. Backend — from $17000.

Who controls WhatsApp? ›

Facebook acquired WhatsApp in February 2014 for $19 billion.

Can one person develop an app? ›

It's possible for one person to create an app. However, there is no guarantee whether or not that app will be successful. The competition is tough and people are ready to go to any extent to make their apps successful.

How much money does it take to make an app? ›

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App on Average? It may cost from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop a mobile app, depending on what the app does. The short answer is a decent mobile app can cost $10,000 to $500,000 to develop, but YMMV.

Does owning an app make money? ›

App owners and app developers can still generate money from in-app purchases, advertisements, and subscriptions that offer premium upgrades. If you follow this guide, you'll be on the right track to building a mobile app that actually makes money.

How long does it take to create an app like Instagram? ›

As you know, the time to develop an app depends on the complexity of the project and the experience of the app developer. However, to give an approximate time, it takes around 4-6 months to develop an app like Instagram.

How much will it cost to build an app like Facebook? ›

The cost of an App like Facebook lies between $5000 to $17,000. You can also customized your app according to the features you like. For more details please contact us now.

How much money does it cost to maintain an app? ›

The industry norm for software maintenance is about 15 to 20 percent of the original development costs. So if your app cost $100,000 to build, roundly estimate to pay about $20,000 per year to maintain the app.

Who coded TikTok? ›

Zhang Yiming, a 38-year-old software developer from Beijing, is the man credited with creating TikTok. According to a Financial Times profile of the developer, Yiming studied biology at Nankai University in Tianjin, China before switching his major to software engineering.

Who owns TikTok? ›

ByteDance is the parent company of TikTok and is headquartered in Beijing. The Chinese Communist Party has an ownership stake in ByteDance. Reports suggest more than 100 CCP members are located in ByteDance's Beijing office.

How much does TikTok cost? ›

TikTok is a free app, but there are in app purchases that users can make with single purchases up to $99.99 to get the most coins in one go.

Is it easy to create apps? ›

Apps have transformed the way we use our phones. After prototyping, things get more complicated. There's design and development work, coding, testing, refining, and finally, launch. On average, the whole process takes 12 to 18 weeks, and can require a sizable team, depending on what you're building.

How much does it cost to make an app like? ›

How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App?
App TypeEstimate CostTime
Simple App Development$40,000 to $60,0002-3 months
Basic App Development$60,000 to $150,0003-6 months
Complex App Developmentfrom $300,0009+ months

Which programming language is used for Instagram? ›

Instagram employs Python in one of the world's largest settings, using it to implement the “business logic” needed to serve 800 million monthly active users. We use the reference implementation of Python, known as CPython, as the runtime used to execute our code.

How do free apps make money? ›

Free apps are monetized through various means, including advertising, in-app purchases, sponsorship, and affiliate marketing.

Is creating an app hard? ›

Launching a successful app is highly difficult, and it certainly isn't for the easily shaken. Although many app ideas will fail on their journey to success, a few will survive. Yes, you can be a part of that few. The key is to know what it takes to build an app startup and prepare yourself for the journey.

Can you design an app for free? ›

There are many free app makers, like appy pie, on the market today, but Alpha Anywhere Community Edition is different. You get the full capabilities of a trusted app development platform to build apps for both mobile platforms.

Who is the father of social media? ›

Joining me today is the father of social networking. In 1996, Andrew Weinreich founded SixDegrees, a social network that pre-dated Facebook by about 7 years. He even got the first patent on social networking.

Why is it called social media? ›

Because of its direct, one-to-many-and-back-again method, it's called “social.” But more than that, social media allows information to run around the authority source. And whole conversations about any topic can be discussed directly among all the constituents, regardless of their physical location.

What are the six types of social media? ›

What Are the 6 Types of Social Media? The six types of social media, though this can be broken down in many ways, include social networking, bookmarking, social news, media sharing, microblogging, and online forum sites.

How do I become a meta developer? ›

Metaverse developers must have basic practical experience in different programming languages such as JavaScript, Swift, Python and others. In addition, you should develop a strong command over concepts such as loops, inheritance, encapsulation, control-logic, abstraction, and many others.

How do you make an app like Instagram and Facebook? ›

How To Make A Social Media App Like Facebook | STT - YouTube

How do I get free followers on Facebook? ›

21 Ways To Get More Followers on Facebook
  1. Develop your Facebook marketing strategy. ...
  2. Post often. ...
  3. Host giveaways. ...
  4. Vary your posts. ...
  5. Post at the right time. ...
  6. Create shareable content. ...
  7. Interact with your audience. ...
  8. Promote your Facebook Page everywhere.
6 Apr 2021

How many social media apps are there? ›

The rankings on our list are based on the number of Monthly Active Users (MAUs).
  • 1. Facebook — 2.9 billion MAUs. ...
  • YouTube — 2.2 billion MAUs. ...
  • WhatsApp — 2 billion MAUs. ...
  • Instagram — 2 billion MAUs. ...
  • WeChat — 1.26 billion MAUs. ...
  • TikTok — 1 billion MAUs. ...
  • Sina Weibo — 573 million MAUs. ...
  • QQ — 538.91 million MAUs.

How much does it cost to make Twitter? ›

1) Twitter

This means — assuming you already have a laptop — the cost is almost nothing to build the next Twitter. Assume $160 for a Ruby on Rails course plus free Heroku, a cloud platform as a service that allows you to instantly deploy an app.

How much did Elon Musk buy Twitter? ›

In a regulatory filing on Friday, Mr. Musk said Twitter was in “material breach” of the acquisition agreement.

How much does Instagram app cost? ›

Instagram is a free photo and video sharing app available on iPhone and Android.

How does Instagram make money? ›

Like Facebook, Instagram makes its money from advertising. Instagram's strengths include its young and global user base.

How Instagram app is built? ›

Instagram's user app (front-end) is written in React Native, a cross-functional language compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems. For the back-end (server-side), Instagram uses Python (Django framework) and HTML5. Amazon cloud computing services are used to maintain such a loaded service.

How much does it cost to create a social media app? ›

So what's the cost of developing a social media app? The typical cost to create a social media app can range from $35,000 to $1,000,000+, depending on factors like features, software complexity, design, and whether or not you'll be needing a team and/or will be developing from scratch.

How can I make an app for free? ›

Create an App for Free
  1. EASY. Choose a template. We have many options, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.
  2. CUSTOMIZE. Drag and drop. Intuitive Platform, to develop your App without the need to write code.
  3. UPLOAD. Publish in Stores. You can publish your application in the. Play Store and App Store.

How long does it take to build a social media app? ›

There isn't a straightforward answer. It could take almost 10 to 12 months, with 450 development hours to incorporate features. The development time will also vary depending on the level of developer and designer expertise, choice of platform, and tech stack.

Can I build an app like Instagram? ›

You can't make an app like Instagram without providing users with the ability to search for other users, groups, content, tagged photos, the latest news, and so on. Real-time messaging is one of the features that makes Instagram tick.

Can I create an app on my own? ›

With a small investment of time and a willingness to learn, you can create and manage your mobile site or application using one of the app building platforms listed below.

How much does it cost to create an app like TikTok? ›

An app like TikTok can cost anywhere between $40,000 and $45,000 to develop with all of the basic features for a single platform (Android or iOS). The cost of developing a TikTok app can rise to $100,000 by including advanced features and developing for multiple platforms.

What was the first social media app? ›

The first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users.

What is a social media template? ›

Social media templates are pre-made graphics or video files that can be edited in programs such as Adobe Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere Pro and then used to create content like Instagram Story templates or Instagram Reels.

How do you make an app like Instagram and Facebook? ›

How To Make A Social Media App Like Facebook | STT - YouTube

How many apps are created a day? ›

A 2016 article at Business of Apps states that the App Store adds approximately 1,000 new apps per day, while Google Play adds about 1,300 new apps per day. Data on regional development of mobile apps was limited.

Is it hard to make an app? ›

There's no getting around it — building an app takes some technical training. Although you can build a mobile app prototype at home with a little practice (check out our tutorials here to see how easy it is), to create the final product, you're going to have to learn to code.

How much does it cost to run an app? ›

A ballpark average that an app owner will need to spend could be around $250 and $500 a month initially to keep the app functioning perfectly. You can budget 20% of the cost of initial development when calculating the cost of maintaining software.

Does owning an app make money? ›

App owners and app developers can still generate money from in-app purchases, advertisements, and subscriptions that offer premium upgrades. If you follow this guide, you'll be on the right track to building a mobile app that actually makes money.

How much money does an app make per download? ›

How much money do apps make per download? The average revenue per app download varies significantly but the average is $0.60 to $1.20.

How do I learn to develop apps? ›

How to Become a Mobile App Developer? [A Step by Step Guide]
  1. For iOS, For Android, Using Mobile App Development Software.
  2. Practice Your Skills. I. Develop an App Idea. II. Lay Out the Details of the App. III. Collaborate or Hire the People You Need. IV. Test Your App.
  3. Convert to Other Platforms.
7 Jan 2022


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