Article

Andrew Gromenko
Andrew Gromenko 14 February 2022

How to Develop Your Own Social Media Application

You may be asking yourself questions such as "How is it possible to develop an app like Instagram?", "What is the key to the success of an app?" "How to make it unique?". If your answer is ‘yes’ then you are at the right place. We'll answer all the critical questions and walk you through every step you need to take to make it happen.

First, let’s look through some numbers:

  • There were 4.55 billion social media users in October 2021, representing 57.6% of the world’s populace.
  • Average daily usage is 2 hours 27 minutes.
  • 5.29 billion unique mobile users mean that more than two-thirds of the world's populace has access to a mobile phone.
  • 68% of U.S. adults report that they use Facebook.
  • The most popular social media apps are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp.

All these stats show that you have a big chance to quickly grow your audience and monetize the app.

How to Create a Social Media App: Main Steps

So, you are going to build a social network. It's not as tough as it seems, but it's not as easy as you'd like. Let's break this process into ten stages.

Stage #1. Development of Ideas

Great projects start with great ideas. It must have value and be unique. For sure, you can copy Twitter, but who needs one more Twitter. Make sure that your social network is interesting to users. Segmentation will help you with this. You can create a social network for movies, books, or music lovers. But... it's already there. In any case, the idea should set you apart from others.

Stage #2: Create a Strategy

This step involves studying the idea and the competitive field, analyzing the requirements, drawing up a portrait of the target audience, and determining the key performance indicators that need to be achieved.

Stage #3. Preparation of Documentation

First, you need to make a list of the features. It can be a small document that briefly describes the purpose of the social network and its function. Then you need to choose the name of the social network and the domain name.

Also, you should take care of hosting. If you are planning to launch a large social network that will have 500,000 - 5,000,000 users per month, we strongly advise using solid servers, such as VPS. This will allow you to cope with high loads.

Stage #4. Design

This stage includes several steps. They do sketches, wireframes, prototypes, app skin designs. Sketching helps to evaluate the logic of the future project, the number of screens, and the interaction between them.

The framework gives a detailed view of the application and the experience that the end-user will have. Prototyping is a working model of a future application. The Skin Design step involves converting the wireframes into the design.

Stage #5. Development

The development starts with the choice of tech stack. There are two main options: CMS and frameworks. Social networks CMS is a ready-made social network with a template design and basic features. You only need to create a new design and customize the project to your needs.

Frameworks are used to develop various web applications. In fact, they are universal and created specifically to improve the quality of the code and accelerate the coding process. Framework-based projects are fast, highly secure, and scalable.

Stage #6. Testing and Launch

Then, it is necessary to test the social network. As you understand, issues in registration/login or in the main features will have a terrible impact on the promotion of the social network. Users must like your site.

Stage #7. Marketing

Once the testing is finished, it is time to run an active advertising campaign. Thus, you need to get an audience that will create content and feel in the life of a social network. According to our estimates, it is necessary to attract 20,000 - 50,000 visitors in a few days. So let's see what are the most common traffic sources you can use: Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, guest posts.

Stage #8. Choose the Monetization Model

The monetization of a social network has its own characteristics. Users are not used to paying, so most networks, including Facebook, are completely free. There are three types of business models that are suitable for such projects, premium feature, venture capital, and advertisement.

Stage #9. Maintenance and Support

Now that you've created a social media app that suits your target market, what's next? You must launch your app in app stores for easy access. A common misconception is that this step is nothing more than a mere formality; however, it is in fact inviolable to the existence of your product. It's time to invest time and resources in getting feedback and using customer feedback to make customer-centric changes.

Stage #10. Preparation for Investment

When a project becomes bigger, it attracts the attention of investors. Social networks are the most interesting direction among startups. Facebook is going through hard times, and people are ready to try something new. The key is that your social network has a unique feature, something that can attract people. In this case, you can get terrifying success like TikTok.

Quantitative Metrics for Social Media Application

Business analysis requires adherence to indicators that track engagement and help make effective decisions. The set of tools may vary depending on the type and the goal of the app. But here is a list of the most critical:

CPI & CAC

Cost Per Install (CPI) is determined by tracking installs of users that came from advertising. It is counted by dividing advertising costs by the number of app installs.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is the sum of the total amount of all marketing efforts that are required to attract a client. It is one of the key points that show if the company has a viable business model. This indicator of business scaling possibilities.

User Engagement

User engagement is the number of targeted actions that take place in the application. Among them are session length and interval. The first shows the time between the user entering the application and exiting it, the second shows the time between two sessions.

Traction

It is a quantitative indication of the market demand for a product. In other words, it shows patterns of monthly user growth.

Burning Rate

The amount of money that the mobile app consumes (burns) every month, such as server costs, marketing, staff, etc. It shows the number of necessary resources at the disposal needed to plan further growth and raise funds.

Final Words

So we have this. We've covered everything you need to know about building a social media app. 

People want a true digital connection with no strings attached. Niche social media apps are the solution you and your community are looking for, and now is the perfect time to build it. Well-designed niche platforms inspire more user trust, go viral easily, and often show much higher audience engagement than regular social media platforms.

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