App Like Facebook: How to Develop a Social Media App in 2023

Difficulty: Intermediate

Estimated Completion Time: 17 minutes

The ultimate success of Facebook is too stale of a topic to discuss. However, using the best practices of that success story to start reaping the benefits of the modern social media market is more than relevant today. Without going for official market figures, we will state the obvious — everybody now is into social networking. Only Google search probably gets more daily users than Facebook.

So why not grab a juicy piece of profits by timely entering the booming market? How to create an app like Facebook? Heed the following pro tips by specialists at Weelorum to learn how you can start building a market-defining social media app with one of the best teams by your side.

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Why It Is High Time for You to Build a Social Media Application and Enter the Market

According to Oberlo, the total number of social media users is steadily growing from year to year, making up about 4.59 billion users in 2022. That is up to a billion new profiles created each year. Facebook alone gets 2.89 billion active users monthly, which gives you a more than sufficient reason to build its clone.

Yes, you need to create a competitive solution in order to really grab hold of the target audience and discover success in the niche. We can confidently state that the gradually formed sector of Facebook-like app development is filled with senseless clones. However, you get all the chances to outrun them if you have knowledge of social media software specifics and work with a reliable team of professionals implementing a unique application. 

So let’s start from the top and figure out what kinds of social media solutions are out there and how an app like Facebook can be defined against their backdrop.

Types of Social Media Applications

As much as everybody considers Facebook to be the main reference when it comes to the term social media or social network, there are actually many niches you may occupy in the social media market, building different types of apps. To give you a broader picture of prospects that you may consider, let’s take a look at the major formats.

Social networks

Social media solutions like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are only the tip of the iceberg, providing the most familiar ways to communicate and indulge in various social activities online. Eventually, the niche of social media software branched out into a number of popular platforms where a specific underlying theme is emphasized, like media sharing, topic discussions, etc.

Media sharing networks

The eager desire of Internet users and smartphone owners to actively share all sorts of media, from selfies and fun videos to memes and reactions, brought us Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, and many others. These platforms are all about “visual satisfaction”, where creativity takes the lead, conquering the hearts of millions of users with the simplicity of content consumption.

Discussion forums

Reddit, Quora, and similar platforms appeared as separate mediums for themed discussions, providing a great outlet for opinion expression and ruminations beyond the confines of comments or DMs. Such resources have also become a great way to discover information by posing a direct question and turning its discussion into a whole thread.

Content curation networks

Pinterest, Flipboard, and others expand media-sharing opportunities by offering entire databases of curated content. These are sources of inspiration and places where users create custom collections of visual content.

Publishing and blogging networks

With emerging social interaction opportunities, traditional blogging has eventually gone stale. Such platforms like Tumblr and Medium appeared as expanded blogs where more dynamic, visually-rich, and even interactive content can be published.

On a side note, there are also social shopping platforms, like Etsy, where product buying/selling opportunities are built on communication and social interaction.

Now that you know what’s what, let’s give the main source of inspiration for your upcoming social media app a closer look.

Overview of Facebook Social Media Application

Founded back in 2004 as a basic social media website that we are all familiar with, Facebook has since grown into a platform of its own, packed with features and integrations that open vast social opportunities. Standalone mobile app versions of the social network saw the light in 2008 for iOS and 2010 for Android. 

Today, it resembles a big social hub where users aren’t limited to unique profiles and direct messages. 

Besides business account features, polls and analytics, and even platform-wide monetization opportunities, Facebook hosts its own applications, including games, services, and miscellaneous. At some point, direct messaging was supplemented with a separate messenger app, too. So there’s a lot to learn from the biggest social network when figuring out how to make an app like Facebook. 

This is why it’s time we looked under the hood of Facebook itself.

Features of Application Like Facebook

This huge social network packs a massive number of features, which can be overwhelming for entrepreneurs seeking inspiration and regular users of the platform. 

And the pretty important point is that you do not need to have all of those capacities onboard. Facebook is considered by many to be quite overloaded with functionality, occasionally confusing the target audience. This is why a vast part of its audience has gradually shifted towards simpler platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and, lately, Telegram.

This knowledge allows you to handpick the essentials and add extras that would fit and eventually help you to create a custom social media app like Facebook that hits the spot. You can build something that satisfies all the necessary digital social needs and makes it versatile and fun with just the right extent of functionality.

Must-haves

  • Customizable user profile
  • Search
  • Friend requests
  • Posting
  • Messaging
  • Push notifications
  • News feed
  • File sharing
  • Library of content
  • Groups
  • Geolocation
  • Security
  • Analytics
  • Moderation
  • Administration

Extras

  • Verified profiles
  • Payment integrations
  • Polling
  • Push notifications
  • AR and face filters
  • AI and chatbots
  • Advertisement
  • Video calls
  • Streams

Technologies that You Need to Develop App Like Facebook

We must note that there is absolutely no need to try to copy the Facebook app’s tech stack identically in order to make an app like Facebook. It just wouldn’t stand out among others. Instead, we recommend the following technologies to build a sturdy all-around foundation for your future app and even outclass it. 

In particular, you will need storage spaces for images and data that can handle a lot of content. We also don’t go into native development in this guide because, today, you can easily get all the powers to go cross-platform and create a single app like Facebook for Android and iOS at once. As a different option, you may also turn to a Backend-as-a-Service provider to save time on coding. We discuss this option in more detail below.

Backend tech stack

  • Picture storage — AWS S3
  • Data storage — Redis, Hadoop, AWS S3
  • Web server — MySQL
  • Memory caching — Amazon ElastiCache
  • Cross-platform compatibility — Thrift
  • Performance tracking — AWS Monitoring
  • Dynamic pages — BigPipe
  • Load balancer — Elastic Load Balancing – AWS
  • SQL query engine — Prestio, Athena

Frontend tech stack

  • Interface programming — React.js

Mobile development

  • Interface programming — Swift, Kotlin or Flutter, React Nativ

8 Steps to Make an App Like Facebook

With the general specifics and proper knowledge of technology, a competitive social media app like Facebook is easier to get than you think. Let’s move on to the essential stages of implementing one.

Step #1 — Research and planning

It all starts with a thorough study of the following:

  1. market environment
  2. competitive solutions
  3. target audience
  4. project requirements

It is crucial to determine the market’s overall state and correlate your ideas and capacities with what’s demanded and what poses fierce niche competition. Only for you to decide whether to enter a heavily competitive niche (provided you have the resources and will) or grab onto a bandwagon in a highly popular or emerging sector. 

A thorough study of solutions offered by the top relevant competitors can give you a better idea of what’s really working and what can be safely omitted. Best practices are always great drivers for newly introduced products.

Outlining the persona of the end-user audience you will be targeting — is another must. Decide whether your app will be focused on certain demographics (like professional communities, like-minded creators, or similar) or will be a universal social platform of general use and purpose. 

You can work through, collect, and set specific requirements based on all the above inputs. This should include the tech stack, the budget, the planned scope of work, required specialists, a user engagement strategy, and marketing goals.

Step #2 — App wireframe and prototyping

The early sketch-out of a social media application like Facebook is the blueprint for developers and designers working on your solution. The wireframe would be the most basic representation of future architecture. Designing a mockup allows filling that early outline with colors, images, and dynamic content (like animations) to achieve the proper visual design.

Project developers then equip the basic “carcass” with functional elements, like buttons and interactive features, setting up a prototype that allows testing user interactions and fine-tuning software responsiveness.

Step #3 — Backend creation

Full-on backend implementation starts with coding within the confines of the functional prototype. The backend is the engine under the hood of your application that sets things in motion and handles the internal system functionality. You can choose to go two different ways with this one.

Custom backend

You can code the backend from scratch — implement an authentic solution inside-out and get full control over all functional specifics. This is optimal when you have a sufficient budget and a reliable team of developers willing and ready to create something unique. And while it may be the “path of most resistance,” you get to avoid hidden costs and set a flexible foundation for further scaling.

BaaS

Using Backend-as-a-Service, you save time and money on manual coding and custom development by subscribing to a ready-made backend service provider. You tell the provider exactly what you need, and they give you a fully-functional backend hosted on their side. But keep in mind that while this alternative can save you much time, you will have to deal with a third-party backend where changes and optimizations can only go so far.

Step #4 — Frontend creation

A big piece of advice regarding frontend coding would be to keep it minimalistic and to the point. Users love the air of exclusivity, so simple shapes complemented by a pleasing design and inviting color scheme should do the trick. But you still can customize it as much as you or your designers’ imagination goes.  

Step #5 — Landing page design

A dedicated landing page is like a shopping window that outlines the main benefits and specifics of the application. Your social media app, similar to Facebook, should have a unique and memorable landing page that would grab the attention and motivate. This is why you should invest in its design, making it visually appealing and well-described with a high-quality copy.

Step #6 — Analytics and admin features

Analytics will give you a better idea of your app’s overall performance in the field, helping you gain valuable insights, properly scale it, and tailor its functionality and looks to achieve better metrics. It is important to timely integrate an analytics/admin dashboard that will gather all metrics in one place and serve as the hub for administering your solution’s performance in the field.

Step #7 — App publication

In order to be able to publish the finished application, you need to have the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use in place. You can do this by either buying a ready-made template and filling it out with proper details, or hiring a lawyer that will prepare it for you according to all relevant legal standards.

To publish your app on Google Play and App Store, you will have to go through two sets of procedures (a pretty simple and fast with Google, and a bit more complicated with Apple).

Google Play publication

  1. Set up a Developer Account
  2. Pay a $25 one-time registration fee
  3. Now, you can publish several apps from a single account
  4. Fill out your app’s Title and Description
  5. Upload hi-res screenshots
  6. Pick the category for your app
  7. Upload the app’s SDK
  8. Set the price

With automated approval in place, you can publish an app on Google Play in about three hours.

Apple Store

  1. Set up a Developer Account or Company/Organizatoin Account
  2. Pay a $99 annual subscription fee (or $299 for Company/Organizatoin Account)
  3. Take a good look through the App Store Guidelines
  4. Make sure your app is bug-free and stable
  5. Upload the app to the store
  6. Submit your app for App Store’s official review (which is done manually by Apple’s specialists)
  7. Get the approval in about two-three days

Step #8 — Promotion and monetization

It is not enough to develop an app like Facebook that benefits its users directly and stands out. To successfully launch it into public use, you need to market it properly. You should implement a well-designed marketing strategy way before the app’s release to heat up the audience and prepare the ground for the introduction.

Then, there’s the question of how to monetize your app to really reap the benefits of providing high-quality digital social opportunities for users. There are multiple monetization methods you can go for:

  • Run ads inside your application (Meta makes billions of dollars on Facebook-wide ads)
  • Provide premium features (e.g., ad-free access, additional options, etc.)
  • Enabled direct sales on the platform (let other businesses sell products using your app as an eCommerce medium)

At Weelorum, we offer flexible workflows shaped by the experience and expertise of top-qualified professionals

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How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App Similar to Facebook?

Several underlying factors shape the total price of developing an app similar to Facebook, from your approach to backend creation and choice of features to the scope of development and design workflows. The approximate range to plan your budget can go from $5,000 to $17,000.

Keep in mind that it is always a great idea to turn to your software provider for a timely estimate of the project costs. Only experienced specialists can give you the closest approximate budget figures.

Develop Your Own Social Media Application with Weelorum

At Weelorum, we have seasoned specialists that know how to develop an app like Facebook and make it prosper in the market from years of first-hand experience. We provide a full range of services to cover social media application projects of any scope and complexity. 

Final Thoughts

You have all the chances to outrun the competition in the niche with a fresh custom solution if you know how to build an app like Facebook and make it shine in the market. Ultimately, it is all about the quality, determination, and expertise-driven approach. So make sure to have a capable tech partner if you set out to create a disruptive social media application.

FAQ

How do I create an app like Facebook?

You will have to set off a whole workflow dedicated to creating one. It should start with thorough preliminary research and planning. Explore the market and your future competitors, analyze the target audience demands, and weigh out your business capacities. Then form the budget and project scope based on the required tech stack, range of features to implement, required specialists, and other specifics. 

With the project roadmap in hand, start with a basic wireframe of your app. Then designers expand it into a mockup, and, based on this, developers create a functional prototype. Polish out the backend of your solution with this prototype and reinforce the internal functions with the custom code and proper integrations.

Pass on the prototype to designers to complete the UI/UX. Test your application and create a dedicated landing page as a preliminary marketing effort. Make sure to equip the app with analytics and admin tools, prepare it for publication, and publish it properly on the leading mobile platforms (Google Play and App Store). 

A considerable part of the process is hiring a savvy, experienced team of professionals with hands-on skills in creating social media apps similar to Facebook.

How do I cut time-to-market when creating an app like Facebook?

You can save time and money on custom development by going for a BaaS (Backend-as-a-Service) approach, where you purchase the ready-made backend functionality via a subscription. You may also outsource the development and try to find lower rates across international providers.

With this approach, however, you are missing out on creating something truly unique and authentic — a handcrafted solution that may outclass the leading competitors in the market and even Facebook itself. For this, you need a team of professionals that really knows how to create Facebook-like apps that stand out.

How do I make an app similar to Facebook that brings profits?

You can monetize the finished and released app in a variety of ways. The most well-tried-and-tested methods would include posting paid ads right in the application. You can also offer a premium subscription where users get ad-free access to the app by making regular payments. Lastly, you may enable other businesses to distribute goods via your social media app and reap profits from direct sales.

Table of content
Why It Is High Time for You to Build a Social Media Application and Enter the MarketTypes of Social Media ApplicationsOverview of Facebook Social Media ApplicationFeatures of Application Like FacebookTechnologies that You Need to Develop App Like Facebook8 Steps to Make an App Like FacebookHow Much Does It Cost to Develop an App Similar to Facebook?Develop Your Own Social Media Application with WeelorumFinal ThoughtsFAQ
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