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How to Create a Social Media App & How Much It Costs

Social media apps have changed how we convey information and communicate with each other. Now more than ever, people spend much time online, scrolling news feeds on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. That is not to mention other social media apps that target a specific niche of users and can even motivate users to develop something similar.

The popularity of most social media apps is the freedom they extend to users. Users can share their thoughts, dreams, goals, and achievements with the whole world. Therefore, that is precisely why the social media app development market is one of the leading trends in IT today. People want to exchange ideas, share, and chat with other like-minded users.

So, if you want to know how to create a social media app, continue reading this post.

Types of Social Media Apps

If you’re thinking of starting a social media app, it’s first important to know what type of social media your idea belongs to. First, you need to define your target audience, identify competitors, and offer your targeted users more appropriate functionality in their overall user experience.

Let’s define the specific types of social media apps:

  1. Social Networks

The primary aim of this type is to connect people with shared interests and who pursue different goals. For example, LinkedIn helps users find professional opportunities and build professional connections. Facebook offers a lot of thematic groups and more than 2 billion users to connect and befriend.

  1. Media Sharing Networks

From its name, you can tell that these networks allow users to share different content. Users can share live videos, photos, and images. These days, the margin between social networks and media sharing networks is narrowing because such apps as Facebook are allowing users to share live videos and images.

  1. Discussion Forums

These social media networks are gaining popularity because they allow users to learn from experts and share opinions on different topics. For example, discussion forums allow users to find the right information on specific topics. In addition, it’s possible to start a discussion, ask questions, and get responses from experts and knowledgeable users. The leading discussion forums include Quora and Reddit.

  1. Consumer Review Networks

The primary objective of these social networking sites is to let users share reviews, opinions, and thoughts about products, locations, services, brands, and more. Consumer review networks can bring customers to the brand in case of positive reviews. In addition, company owners and stakeholders can get genuine client feedback and improve their products. Examples; Yelp and TripAdvisor.

  1. Content Sharing Networks

Also called bookmarking apps, content sharing networks allow users to save and organize links to various online resources or websites. Users can save links in different folders according to topics. These platforms host more exciting features. For instance, Pinterest lets users upload their photos. In other content-sharing networks, users can download pictures they like. Most users choose these content-sharing networks to look through creative images and draw inspiration. Examples include Flipboard and Pinterest.

  1. Blogging and Publishing Networks

Blogging is not as easy as it sounds. First, you must possess creative writing skills to keep your users engaged on a topic. Bloggers need applications that will enable them to pen their ideas from any device. It’s generally not difficult for you to build a social media app like this. YouTube and Facebook are the market leaders in this domain. But over the last few years, several other platforms have gained popularity like WhatsApp, Wix, Bubble, Squarespace, Microsoft Expression Web, and Medium.

Social Media App Development Cost

There are many websites offering clones of the Instagram app. These are templates with a few options for customization. So, it can be tempting to choose one of these and try to save money. However, utilizing them can breach privacy and security. In addition, you will still be required to develop a backend.

The truth is that a social media application development from scratch stands out because of its compelling brand, design, and functionality. But just like any other functional application, it takes time and money to develop. So, how long does it take, and how much will it cost you?

Let’s take a closer look.

Social Media App Development Timeframe

The one-platform version of a social media app may take upwards of 2000 hours to develop, including UI and UX design, app development (client-side and server-side), and accompanying activities like deployment, testing, and project management. In addition, if you want to create a promotional landing page for your app, it may require another 100-200 hours.

Social Media App Development Costs

The cost of a social media app depends on how much you choose to pay your developers. You usually have three main options as outlined below:

  • Freelancers – From $15 per hour.
  • In-house development team – From $90 per hour.
  • Outsourced development team – From $50 per hour.

The problem with freelancers is the difficulty and necessity to coordinate their efforts and the possible lack of expertise which is especially difficult to notice if you’re unaware of the complexities and intricacies of web development. On the other hand, hiring a local development team is way too expensive – it means spending far too much on simple fixtures.

Therefore, the way to go is to outsource a development team. The outsourcing option is a great way to tap into the expertise of a local in-house development team at just a fraction of the cost. For an Instagram-like social media application, you can take the below rough calculations:

Application development: Android/IOS – $25,000

Client-side app development – $13,000

Server-side app development – $25,000

UX/UI design – $9,000

Total Cost: $72,000

Social Media App Features and Their Costs

So, to calculate the cost of a social media app, you need to consider the required features since they affect the cost significantly. In addition, these features must perfectly fulfill the expectations of your target users and seek to solve their problems. There are two main features you must consider: the minimum viable product MVP and advanced features.

Must-have or minimum viable product features stand for basic functionality to satisfy users’ needs and offer them the appropriate user experience. It’s common for developers to launch the MVP version of the social media app, then gain feedback before investing more money in the idea itself. The MVP allows understanding what specific features need improvement. It’s only after this basic understanding that you can add more features.

Basic MVP Features to Build a Social Media App

With an MVP, you have better chances to get investments since a working app earns more trust from stakeholders. To give you a hint, we’ve singled out some MVP features.

  • Search
  • User profile
  • Sign-up feature
  • Chat
  • Newsfeed
  • Push notifications
  • Add post

Advanced Features

  • AR filters
  • Editing
  • Location-based content
  • Post-release marketing

Social Media App Development Trends

Social media is changeable. New app designs come and go. Therefore, the following elements can prove to be a game-changer in the coming years and something to add to your next social media app development project.

  • Interactive content. 91% of social media users are striving for interactive media content. Key aspects of interactive content include 360-degree video, AR/VR, games, quizzes, and many more.
  • Video content. Video is one of the most interactive content forms, and it’s gaining more popularity. Whether it’s short videos like on TikTok and Instagram Live or long videos like on YouTube, the social media video apps are defining the future.
  • Social commerce. Social commerce is becoming the primary way of retailing, whether online or offline. Shortly, this trend will intensify with the advent of an increasing number of social networks offering new sales features.
  • Leveraging social networks to serve customers. This change took place slowly as brands began noticing customers were contacting them through social networks. It’s simply the easiest way to get in touch with some social media users.

Contact NS804 for more inquiries about social media app development costs.