The popularity of social media is reaching greater heights, which has made social network app development one of the hottest trends today. The social media app market is booming with numerous opportunities, and so as an entrepreneur, you simply can’t afford to miss the chance of being a part of such a profitable and rapidly growing market. With the rapid technological advancements, you can quickly turn your awesome social media app idea into an epic digital reality. If you’re planning to create a successful social media app like Facebook or Instagram, this ultimate guide on social network app development for 2021 is meant for you.
So, let’s begin!
Top Global Social Media Giants at a Glance
As per the Statcounter, here’s how the top giants divide the global social media market in 2021:
Facebook – 74.81%
Pinterest – 6.32%
YouTube – 4.25%
Instagram – 3.74%
Tumblr – 0.98%
Different Types of Social Media Applications
Before you start with social apps development, you need to know your target audience. There are various types of social media applications, which will help you to find your niche market and know your competitors.
Social Network Apps
Social networking apps like Facebook and Twitter are intended for personal connection while LinkedIn is meant for building professional networks.
Media Sharing Networks
People love sharing their photos, videos, and other media files. Media sharing networks Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Imgur, and Snapchat have made media sharing a wonderful experience.
Community and Discussion Forums
These platforms allow users to ask questions and discuss topics with fellow members of the community. Platforms like Quora and Reddit allow their members to share ideas, insights, answers, experiences, and more.
Online Networks for Customer Reviews
Customers often look for reviews on businesses by customers who have had experienced their services or products. Yelp is a striking example of online networks intended for customer reviews.
Social platforms like Medium and Tumblr are extremely popular amongst those who are ardent bloggers or content authors.
Anonymous Social Networks
This category of social media apps includes After School, Whisper, and Ask.fm. that are loved by teens.
Dating apps like Tinder or Badoo allow people to find their soulmates online. They also have the highest number of users of all categories.
A messenger app allows users to chat with friends and family. Social messaging apps attached to Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc. have become very popular in recent years.
These social platforms allow users to explore interesting content of other users and save it if they find it useful to view it later.
News applications offer users the latest news and updates. Apps with the video streaming feature are also very popular these days. Some of the leading players in this category include Flipboard and LifeHack.
Goodreads and Last.fm are social platforms where users are united by common interests, hobbies, and related experiences.
Job Seekers Social Networks
Platforms like Jobster, JobFox, MyWorkster, VisualCV are exclusively built for job search and recruitment.
Once you select the type of social media app you want to develop, it becomes easier to research the target group and think of unique features that will make your social media app stand out. Keep pace with the latest trends and features to build future-ready apps for your audience.
Trending Features that Will Make Your Social App Stand Out
When it comes to social apps development, you must make sure that your app is attractive, engaging, and interactive. Adding cool features to your social networking app can attract massive users and you can earn more profits. Some of the latest social network app development trends include:
AR & Face Filters
Social apps with funny face filters are the hottest trends these days. Snapchat and Instagram are perfect examples of such apps. They come with AR and face filters that users enjoy.
Transient content is live for 24 hours and then it disappears. Today, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc. are leveraging this social network app development trend, allowing users to add stories that vanish after some time.
Live Video Streaming
Users prefer to watch live videos over reading content or posts, and therefore, this trend is becoming increasingly popular in social networking app development.
AI and Chatbots
AI and chatbots have gradually penetrated the world of social network development over the years and their need will continue to grow.
If your social app is going to target a global audience, then make sure it supports multiple languages. For example, in the case of Twitter, 49% of users choose their native language other than English. So, doing market research will help you understand the language support you require for your app can attract more users.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality environments facilitate social media interactions. With the giant social media platform Facebook investing through Oculus, virtual reality technology can help users to interact in immersive VR environments.
You will find numerous opportunities to incorporate the latest, trending features that add value to your app. Deciding upon the features is one of the exciting phases for social apps development.
Now, the question is how to build a social media app that can attract and engage a massive audience?
Let’s find out!
How to Get Started with Social Network App Development?
Social network app development can be fun and challenging at the same time. Adopting a systematic approach to development can help you build a successful social networking app.
So, how to get started? It’s simple! You can start with your awesome app idea.
#1 Understand Yourself and the Niche Market
Knowing your strengths and brainstorming with a social apps development team can help you understand why you want to build a social media app. You can perform SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis to know your strengths as well as weaknesses and also know your competitors or threats.
#2 Strategy and Planning
Now that you have an amazing social app idea, it’s time to devise a complete strategy that will facilitate successful social networking app development.
Based on the market research and analysis, you will gain valuable insights into your target audience, competitors, and your target social media category. This will help you create the best strategy where you can define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your app.
Including lead generation, monetization methods, and user retention can make your social media app a big hit. You can even obtain feedback from your app users and incorporate the necessary changes to meet the expectations of your users.
#3. Design Social Network App Development Workflow
Next, comes the designing phase where you need to focus on the future logic, the app’s UI/UX designs, and the user interaction. A good design can leave your users in awe. So, it’s essential to adopt a systematic approach to get the most perfect design for your social media app.
Here’s how you can create a perfect design workflow:
Sketching and Wireframing
First, start with creating some basic outlines of your social media app, evaluating the future logic, the number of app screens, and creating visuals of the sketch.
App prototyping is all about creating a working model of your social networking application. Creating a model makes it easier to understand and serves as a foundation of social network app development.
Design App Skins
At this point, the wireframes will transform into stunning social media app designs. Keep an eye on the trending features and UI/UX designs to offer an exceptional social media app to your potential users.
#4 MVP Development and Quality Assurance
An MVP or Minimum Viable Product incorporates the key app features and is a ready-to-use digital product. It’s a good idea to start with MVP development as it helps you spend money wisely, attract investors, and avoid risks. The development phase involves building your app backend that includes setting up APIs, databases, and servers.
It is also important to have the support of the QA team that will test your application for any flaw or technical glitch. An MVP helps you gain early leads and also facilitates future enhancements.
#5 App Publishing and Marketing
At this juncture, you will need to create promotional material or content which includes app screenshots, video tutorials, app descriptions, etc. These help you stand out from millions of mobile applications published on the Google Play Store and Apple Store. Choose the right category and tags for your social media app and it will help reach out to your potential users.
App marketing and promotion is an essential part of social apps development. You need to focus on interesting and relevant promotional and selling essentials to grab more app users.
#6 Ongoing App Support and Maintenance
Obtaining feedback, making improvements, fixing app errors, and updating your app is a continuous process as long as you want your app to survive in the market. Therefore, investing in ongoing technical support and maintenance services helps you keep your social media app up to date and in the best possible condition. So you see, simply building and publishing your social app on the app stores is not the end of the story. Your app needs constant support and maintenance as well.
Once you’ve built your social media app, the next question that comes is related to app monetization. What are the effective ways to monetize your social networking app?
Social Media App Monetization Methods
It is very important to formulate a proper app monetization strategy to help your app survive longer in the market. Here are some of the methods you can follow:
Make Direct Sales
If possible, make direct sales to your target audience. You need to maintain a proper balance between self-promotion and exciting content along with appealing products.
If your product has visual appeal such as fashion, interior design, or real estate, making direct sales can be the best option.
Video marketing is one of the most effective app monetization methods. This strategy may involve ad revenue from gaining views from app users, social media influencer promotion, and affiliate marketing. You may create product-centric video content that drives more engagement and viewership, thereby helping you increasing your audience base and gaining brand recognition. YouTube videos get millions of views which can help you generate passive business revenue.
This app monetization technique can help you convert your potential social media customers. You will come across numerous ways to generate good leads from social media and boost your revenue. However, you must focus on providing your potential customers with something that is relevant, engaging, and valuable as they step into your sales funnel.
There are various ways to capitalize on your social media audience and you can proactively implement methods that work for you.
You may consult with a professional social network app development company to select the best app monetization strategy for your social media app.
The Cost of Social Apps Development
Now, let’s talk about the cost of developing your social media application. The overall cost of social apps development largely depends on the following factors:
The number of app features
Technology stack selection
The type of project design – app’s UI/UX design, custom development
Project development and management
Testing and quality assurance
Following a systematic approach to app creation and best practices can help you save on your costs significantly. As said earlier, it is best to build an MVP first and then enhance your social app with additional features.
A basic MVP App can take up to 2-3 months to develop and can cost around $22,000.
Creating an MVP with additional features can take up to 4-6 months and can cost about $45,000.
An advanced MVP application will take more than 6 months and can cost around $115,000.
The cost of building a social media application also depends on the complexity level of your social media app.
A basic app can cost $60,000+ and take up to 3-5 months to develop.
A social media app with a medium level of complexity can cost $120,000+ and may take 4-9 months to build.
A complex social media application can cost $230,000+ and can take more than 9 months.
If you want to develop your social app cost-effectively, you can hire a social network app development company in India. India social app developers are highly skilled and can cost-effectively build your app within the shortest timeframe.
Coming up with an awesome social app idea is not enough. You need to implement the best practices and approaches to social apps development. You may consult with a professional social network app development company that can provide you with the right guidance on developing a successful social media app and monetizing it effectively.
Chandan Kumar is a professional content writer at Social Engine India. He has 4+ years of experience in writing blogs and articles related to technology, trends, web and mobile app development, and business growth strategies for entrepreneurs. He is very growth ambitious and loves exploring the digital landscape to come up with new ideas and interesting topics.