Social Media App Development: Key Stages and Requirements

Difficulty: Intermediate

Estimated Completion Time: 16 minutes

People of the digital age lead two lives: one in the physical world and one in the virtual one. Thanks to the ubiquity of social media, we can communicate with practically any person on the planet, provided they have Internet access (that is, over 5 billion people) and a profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any suitable platform (4.7 billion). As internet coverage expands its scope, these astounding numbers are only going to increase, especially in Asia.

Business-wise, this is a fast-growing market that offers mouth-watering revenue prospects for any entrepreneur. Tapping this enormous user niche is possible by launching a social media app.

Social Media App: What Is This?

A social media app is an application for your smartphone or internet browser where you can share photos and videos, communicate with friends and family using text messages, and access interactive content of various kinds. Last year, an average person spent about an hour a day on social media apps, which is quite a lot, given the busy schedule of people in the 21st century.

The isolation requirements introduced as a preemptive measure to combat the global pandemic contributed to the 40% spike in social media usage, according to a study by GlobalWebIndex. Naturally, such a huge target audience for these IT products opens up potentially limitless money-making vistas before startups begin to consider building a social media app as a worthy investment. 

How to create a social media app? The first step is to choose the type of app. 

Social Media App Categories Explained

There are several kinds of social media apps that serve different goals and users.

Social Networks

The major aim of such solutions is to provide connection. Some of them are narrow-purpose ones, like LinkedIn, that help in the job hunt or establishing professional relationships. Others (Facebook and Twitter) are more comprehensive, where like-minded people can enlist in various thematic groups according to their interests, tastes, and preferences. 

Anonymous Social Networks

Built as a connection channel, they don’t require validation of the email address or phone number to register, and thus enable people to communicate with others without disclosing their identity. MeWe, Whisper, and Secret are good examples of such an app type. 

Media Sharing Networks

Here, we find  YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. As you can guess from the name, these apps are instrumental in sharing photos and videos. Yet, since all social networks also extend this opportunity, the borderline between the two types is vague. That is why, if you think about how to develop a social media application of this kind, it is better to focus on a certain content type, the design of which is easier to tackle. 

Blogging and Publishing Networks

They allow bloggers to write posts from their devices to engage their audience and inform them about their experiences. The most popular apps of this kind are Medium and WordPress.

Discussion Forums

Here, you can also write. However, the purpose is not to share your thoughts but to apply for advice or information. Using Quora or Reddit, you can learn something new from experts or anyone ready to help. Or you can discuss different topics.

Audio-Only Apps

Contrary to the previous two types honed for writing and reading, these are based on voice. Some of them (like Riffr or Audiolist) enable recording and listening to podcasts of various lengths. Others are a venue for live communication. They can help unite people of certain interests (for instance, Discord, where gamers flock together) or are used by all and sundry irrespective of their hobby or occupation (like the trendy Clubhouse).

Messaging Apps

Exemplified by Slack, WeChat, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, these platforms are, in fact, chats where you can send and receive instant messages via your mobile gadgets. 

Consumer Review Networks

They let people share their opinions about a product, service, and brands that deliver them. Besides, they are useful tools for companies that can react to user feedback  and improve their output. Developing a social media app of this type often involves integrating GPS to show where a restaurant or hotel under discussion is located.Why is the choice of your future project type crucial? Because it will ultimately condition how to make a social media app and the functionalities it must contain.

Still afraid to enter this highly competitive market?

Stop hesitating and get in touch with the Weelorum team. Maybe it is your app that will be the next Facebook.

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Zooming in on Social Media App Features

By and large, social media apps have the same principal features.

User Sign Up

To complete registration, users must create a password and validate the procedure via their phone or email. You should include the “Forgot password” option to let people easily recover the forgotten parole. If the person is a total IT layman, an onboarding tutorial accompanying the registration will help them find their way around it. 

Profile Setting and Personalization

Every user should be able to customize the profile they create and choose the most convenient instruments for consuming the content.

News Feed

This is where users discover news, updates, and messages from people and communities they are a part of. Some apps (like Instagram) even make it the home screen for their product.

Push Notifications

Receiving push notifications; people will stay abreast of events and new content that other social media users post.  

Content Sharing

Users should have tools for sharing texts, photos, and videos that reflect their experiences.

In-App Chat/Calling

This is basically what social media are for. These can be personal or group chats and channels to let people communicate live with one or several users at a time.

Send Friend Request/Follow Request

The feature enables people of common interests to see each other’s posts and shared content if they are friends. If  someone is just a follower, you don’t see their public updates, whereas they can see yours.

Video/Audio/Image Editor

This feature allows people to process mentioned content types. They can manipulate, cut, and trim audio files, videos, and pictures in many ways. 

Video/Audio Streaming

Alongside the ability to save audio and video content, this feature enables sending it in real-time to everyone who would like to follow the live events. 


In social media apps, this feature is typically used to geotag the photos users post. 

In addition to these must-have functionalities, social media app development may involve implementing such optional features as offline logic or integration with various third-party systems. The range of features you need for the project determines the employment of different technologies for their creation.

Tech Stack to Make a Social Media App

One of the answers to the question “How to build a social media app?” given by IT mavens mentions selecting proper tools. Different developers have their own mixture of frameworks and languages for this purpose, but the end-to-end app development toolkit recommended by Weelorum comprises the following combination. 

The back-end development stack includes:

  • Hadoop, AWS S3, and Redis for data and picture storage.
  • Amazon Elasticache for memory caching.
  • AWS Monitoring for performance tracking.
  • BigPipe for the creation of dynamic pages.
  • Prestio and Athena for SQL query engine.
  • MySQL or PostgreSQL for web servers and databases.
  • Thrift for cross-platform compatibility.
  • Elastic Load Balancing AWS for the load balancer.

The front-end tool we prefer is React.js. As for mobile development, the necessary technologies and languages are Java, Swift, and Kotlin. 

The tech stack mentioned above will enable you to create a garden-variety social media app. However, to let it stand out among competitor products, you should keep up-to-date with the latest trends in the domain.

5 Social Network Applications Trends

Having several successfully completed app projects under our belt, we at Weelorum believe it’s essential to pay attention to the trends that carry the day in social media application development.

AI and Machine Learning

These cutting-edge technologies make a robust advancement into multiple IT-driven realms and are going to stay among the top trends in mobile app development for years to come. Social media apps can benefit greatly by integrating this know-how as well. They will find here numerous use cases, including visual recognition, filtering spam content, fake news identification, network recommendations, chatbot creation, etc.

Visual over Textual

The decrease in the popularity of TV makes it evident that people increasingly go to modern media for video content. That is why you should prioritize video sharing and streaming over textual communication tools when you make your own social media app. 

Social Commerce

Today, people like to do numerous errands without leaving their social media, including financial operations of various kinds and, first of all, person-to-person (P2P) payments. To enable this option, app developers should envisage a card connection that is secure enough to comply with all regulations banking systems are subject to. Plus, users must be given a choice of payment method convenient for them.

Ephemeral Content

Also referred to as self-destructing content, it covers posts, videos, images, or GIFs that can be scheduled to expire and thus disappear from the web page after a certain period (say, a week, a day, or even an hour). The popularity of the short-lived content is explained by the air of urgency and intimacy it creates, and by the greater level of users’ privacy they usher. 

Local Targeting

While still open to acquaintances all over the world, people tend to prefer finding colleagues, friends, and kindred souls in the near vicinity and being able to meet them later in person. To cater to this whim, forward-looking software developers should consider extending locally-targeted options in the social media apps they offer. 

Now that you are aware of what kind of social media app you need and what to use for its creation, you can get to the development hammer and tongs.

Need help with choosing features and types of content for your future app?

Weelorum will take care of everything and advise you on the best solution.

Contact us

How to Develop a Social Media App: A Road Map to Follow

As a seasoned player in the niche, Weelorum has come up with a simple but efficient phases for app development. It covers the following stages.

1. Defining the Niche

In this preliminary phase, you should picture the potential user of the app: their interests, preferences, habits, and grievances. Such a comprehensive image will largely determine the app type and its feature list. 

2. Validating the Idea

This is mission-critical, especially for startups. You must build an MVP first to make sure your business idea holds water and people are ready to pay money for it. Only when the consumers’ feedback proves the product’s viability and the market’s favorable state can you invest money and time in app creation on a large scale.

3. Planning

Here, you identify the know-how and equipment you will need for app creation (tech stack, hardware, cloud facilities, etc.), choose an operating system (iOS, Android, or go hybrid), determine integrations your app will require, and map out its architecture and dependencies within it.

Besides, you should come up with a list of specialists who will tackle the project. As a rule, it contains a project manager, an Android or iOS specialist, a back-end engineer, a UX/UI designer, and a QA expert. If the project scope is large, this core team can be reinforced in any of these app development areas.

4. UX/UI Design

An app must please the audience with its appealing look and seamless usability. That is why you should pay special attention to the foolproof navigation and user-friendly interface. Building a prototype is a second-to-none means of achieving both.

5. Development Proper

All the previous stages were preparatory. Now you can embark on the longest phase of app development and code away.

6. Testing and Quality Assurance

Nothing is over until the product is thoroughly tested. This procedure aims to ensure  your app has no bugs that hamper its operation and that it functions according to expectations. 

7. Deployment

When the app proves to work flawlessly, you can place it in app stores for people to download it.

8. Maintenance and Support

An obliging and responsible software vendor doesn’t call it a day even when the app appears on the virtual shelves of app stores. Its specialists monitor the work of the product for at least a month to render help or advice to app owners or users who may need their assistance.

Another important aspect of app creation is calculating its cost.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Social Media App?

Two factors influence the cost of any IT project. The first is the number of working hours needed to develop its features, and the second is the hourly rate charged by the vendor.

The first is never a fixed number since it depends on the project’s scope. For apps, the creation of the onboarding capabilities may take from 80 to 160 hours, personal profiles and contact management – from 60 to 130 hours, notifications — from 30 to 100 hours, etc. The most time-consuming process is the integration of communication tools, which can take up to 200 hours. And these are only mandatory features. If you want the app to contain a geolocation or offline mode option, be ready to pay for an additional 140 or even 300 hours of work. 

The hourly rates can also differ in various regions. Thus, developers from North America or Western Europe are the most expensive to hire (on average, $100 per hour), while South Asian specialists can be recruited for $20 or even less. In the latter case, though, the quality and time of delivery may suffer. By outsourcing app development to Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Poland, Romania, or the Czech Republic), you will get the best price/quality ratio. 

In any case, producing an IT solution is never a chump-change issue, so you should think carefully about your monetization strategy.

How to Monetize a Social Media App

The most direct way of making money from your app is to fill it with in-app advertising. However, most people don’t like pop-up windows or intrusive videos. We recommend considering more subtle yet efficient monetization methods. 

Affiliate or Referral Marketing

You can make money by participating in affiliate programs launched by major-league brands and promoting their goods and services. Make  sure you choose the most advantageous pricing scheme (cost-per-action, pay-per-click, cost-per-view, or cost-per-install).

Brand Partnerships

In this model, you find third-party agents to advertise your product. Typically, these are celebrities, popular bloggers, opinion leaders, or other influencers respected and trusted by your target audience. They often agree to work on a barter basis in exchange for benefits or discounts.

Creator Funds

You can harness the idea initiated by TikTok and pay the brightest talent among your audience for producing content thus attracting more people to join the user community.

Consider Weelorum Your Trusted Partner

Weelorum has gone a long way to obtain the necessary expertise and experience in developing Android– and iOS-powered mobile apps across multiple industries. The chief tenets we adhere to in our work are:

  • Focusing on success. Our mavens are competent in selecting the most suitable tech stack to produce a responsive and fast product.
  • Prioritizing quality. We steer by modern standards in the niche to build scalable solutions that manifest outstanding performance.
  • Improving the initial concept. We do our best to enhance the idea you offer to help your app become a niche leader.

By addressing us, you will surely receive a top-notch solution that will impress you with seamless operation and exquisite design. Contact us to get the social media app of your dream.  


Nowadays, social networks have become an inseparable part of our life. By following the best practices of app building, you can invest in creating a social media app of any kind to monetize it and bring a stream of revenues into your coffers.


How much does it cost to develop a social media app?

The average cost of building a social media application depends on the features it contains, the number of working hours required to build them, and the hourly rates software developers charge to do their job.

What are the current trends in social media?

The best trends to follow when developing a social media app are related to leveraging AI and ML technologies, enabling social commerce and ephemeral content, prioritizing visual over textual instruments, and focusing on local targeting.

What technology stack is required to create a social media app?

You should select optimal tools and languages to perform mobile development as well as front-end design and back-end programming. Weelorum team uses the following technology stack:

  • Hadoop, AWS S3, and Redis
  • Amazon Elasticache
  • AWS Monitoring
  • BigPipe
  • Prestio and Athena
  • MySQL or PostgreSQL
  • Thrift
  • Elastic Load Balancing AWS
  • React.js
  • Java,
  • Swift 
  • Kotlin
  • Node.js 

What are the three main social media platforms?

Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram enjoy the greatest number of users and the largest revenues among social media platforms.

Table of content
Social Media App: What Is This?Social Media App Categories ExplainedZooming in on Social Media App FeaturesTech Stack to Make a Social Media App5 Social Network Applications TrendsHow to Develop a Social Media App: A Road Map to FollowHow Much Does It Cost to Build a Social Media App?How to Monetize a Social Media AppConclusionFAQ
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