How To Make a Social Media App?

Social media is incessant and infinite in its strength and éclat, making for massively promising domain not just for users but also for elite business entities. With social media platforms dominating the world of marketing and advertising, business wanting to capture ample audience can see it as a lucrative opportunity.

Of course, the competition in this market is simmering with a few jubilant players. But as technology evolves, the new creative social app development ideas are getting big attention.

Before embarking on the social media app development project, expertise in mobile device is must. If you are planning to break into the social market through a dedicated mobile app, you must realize that the major cost falls on the shoulder of backend developers, and that challenges for making it from scratch are high. Therefore, you require great deal of resources and talent to make it work.

Here is how you can give it a jump start:

Main ingredients of social media app

1. Integration with existing social media

The power of true user experience often stems from enabling users to explore the full-fledged interaction. Since they already are a member of a few other famous social platforms, they expect your app to provide them with a button to stay connected with those profiles. Your app can allow them to login to the app using existing social accounts.

2. Sharing expressions

Users want to set a stage of expression on your social app to flaunt their unique creative ability. Your social media app must contain features that empowers users to share their life stories and experiences along through personalized profiles, videos, backgrounds and customized pictures. Take examples of YouTube, Instagram, Flickr, Vimeo, Snapchat, etc.

3. Creating a network

Being able to connect with distant friends and increasing the number of followers make the platform more desirable for users. Like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, social app developers must create a system that lets members to invite new friends.

Read Also : 24 Best Social Media Apps 2021

Smart networking system can help build communication between people. LinkedIn provides professional networking opportunity whereas Tinder, Badoo and Grindr enables personal and dating services

4. Reviews

Social media app doesn’t necessarily need to be confined to mean just social. Since users leave great loads of data, users can take advantage of this information to make purchasing decisions just like Yelp.

The app can know users’ geolocation and let them leave comment and suggestions about interesting brands or local businesses.

5. Newsfeed

Content is what attracts people to decide and subscribe to services. Social network apps run on influential content.

Through expressions, status, video, photos and audio sharing, users generate colossal amount of content in order to display their opinions and be heard.

Therefore, iOS and Android app should contain news feed very typical of quintessential social apps.

6. Community forums

Community forums and discussions like Quora, Disqus and Reddit are fundamental to social apps. Such knowledge sharing can form the basic mechanism of powerful social interactions within the app.

7. Publishing platforms

Blogging and microblogging platforms make for social media services users capitalize to publish creative text and media content. Examples of such apps are Medium, Your Story and Tumblr.

8. Interest-focused networks

Interest-based media creates a powerful community of like-minded people who share similar interests. A media app this genre creates tremendous appeal by bringing together individuals of common tastes. Goodreads is for literature lovers, for example, and and Spotify are for music fanatics.

Read also : How To Create an App like Instagram?

9. Private Chat conversations

Having a built-in service of private communication increase ROI for social networking app as it inspire users to resort to your app more often to connect with their friends and followers.

This means users will spend more time in your app.

Creating a  Social Media App

To build such an ambitious social networking app, you should ask developers to first create an MVP for the app. MVP contains core features and functionality that let you test its performance while saving on investment and time.

After acquiring good buzz, you can scale it up to add more features andUI/UX elements. To keep the app’s performance up and healthy, you need powerful architecture built of:

1. Backend

This is a backbone of your mobile app that handles intense rush of http requests as a result of numerous user actions happening within your app.

Node.js, .NET, Xamarin are a few great options to pick for building a mighty, high-performance and scalable networking app backend.

2. Database

MySQL databases along with SQLite or NoSQL are amongst the most preferable database tech for social networking apps as it swimmingly takes over dynamic contents.

3. Hosting

To handle constantly fluctuating traffic to your app and on-demand uploads along with likes and shares and other stress, you need a reliable hosting service plan. AWS is a competitive and widely used option with superior adaptive capability and scalability.

Read also : How much does it Cost to Create an App like Instagram?

4. 3rd Party APIs

Integration of3rd party APIs is the convenient option for mobile app developers as it reduces the efforts needed to build every single part of your social app and enables certain readymade solutions.

APIs can be integrated for solutions like payments, push notification, geolocation and other sensor-based indicators.

Basic steps of developing social media app

You should follow these critical steps for a creating successful social media app:

1) Target audience

In this phase, the idea is analyzed and studied to understand the requirements and map out the target audience. The first step to creating a successful social app is to identify the user needs and challenges they face.

In the end, project analysts can derive KPIs to be achieved in a social media niche. Developers now have a substantial choice of using a ready framework designed to create custom social apps with excellent user experience.

2) Calculating realistic estimates

Once determining the target audience, it is time to build a strategy and calculate realistic budget estimates. If your wish is to create highly engaging and technically immaculate social networking app, as an entrepreneur you should consider investing wisely. Too limited budget can’t produce the app you desire.

The cost estimate depends on the platform you choose, and iOS could be a great option to first develop an app. Then you can opt for Android platform later. Though it is hard to estimate traffic volume, it is essential to prepare database for end users.

3) Design considerations

The social networking design strategy starts with a basic outline and a rough sketch that includes expansive logic, screens to target and layout.

Then comes preparing a good wire frame which is important to development team as they begin to conceive a skeleton and structural view of the app.

Read also : How To Create Video Chat Apps

The next step is to create a prototype that represents a working model of the app and gives detailed understanding of what it is going to be. You can make changes to prototype idea before developers start writing the app.

This is followed by the design of app skin where app wire frame is used to create a solid design.

4) Development & QA testing

Due to rising development process technologies such as DevOps, design, development and QA testing phases are often synchronized and combined to run in perfect symphony.

After prototyping step, developers consider all technical requirements to start sculpting its backend architecture and implement servers, database, APIs and more.

Engineers focus on all the latest guidelines and platform terms for native iOS and Android app development to deliver brilliant performance.

During and post development, testers leverage manual and automated testing and cover extensive use cases to ensure the app is bug-free and well-programmed and has its expected UX standard.

5) Publish, Market and Promote

After everything is checked and tested, the app is deployed. Your app development partner will help you publish the app on popular online stores and create a comprehensive marketing strategy to evangelize the app.

The marketing team will optimize the app marketing with description content and video guides so that businesses can save time on making the app stand out at Google Play or the Apple Store market as well as on popular social media platforms.

Read more : How To Create A Chat App Successfully

Make sure you communicate your concerns about what all are included in your project contract. Some companies separate the cost of development from the fees reserved for marketing and promotion activities.

Also, to achieve better audience, it is advisable to start marketing the app 3-4 months before the app is ready to publish.


Social media app development is not as straight as it seems. The process is rife with many challenges and brainstorming.

Only a veteran mobile app development company with extensive experience, rugged resources and competitive talents can help you build a successful social networking app and fulfill your business goals. They know what technologies best align with your business objective and help create fascinating features.

How Much Does it Cost to Create an App like Instagram?

It goes without a mention that an app like Instagram has millions of users. With incredibly intuitive interface, relevant icons and stunning features and powerful photo editing tools, Instagram is now an everyday part of our lifestyle that lets share anything we capture in a matter of seconds.

Such scintillating success often spurs an idea of developing an app like Instagram among startup owners.

Developing an app that mirrors Instagram does not really mean building an exact clone. The app like Instagram should reflect most captivating features and image sharing capabilities along with effective marketing activities.

Social Media App cost

A few apps that have dared create as much buzz are Flickr, Vine Camera, Snapchat, Swipe and more. So how much would it cost you to deliver an app that compete with Instagram?

Let’s see all the areas of development that are major cost drivers in the process:

Must-have essential features

Depending on the scope of your project, you should include these basic features in the app.

  • User account & Registration
  • Login and Authentication
  • Profile Editing
  • Integration with Camera (Photo/Video)
  • Social Integration
  • Photo/Video Editor
  • Tagging
  • Geolocation
  • Messaging
  • Push Notifications
  • Custom Settings

You can also consider having a photo sharing website that reflects all features of an app just like what Instagram has done. Desktop application helps reach more users.

Most important aspect: Technology stack

Your primary research work that starts long before developing the app should necessarily involve critical findings on tools and stack of technologies to go into building the mature and robust architecture of mobile app like Instagram.

Instagram stands on the pillar of an extensive set of frameworks, languages, DevOps tools and server load systems. While determining tools, it is important to focus on load balancing capacity, iteration speed, code implementation and sharing, testing quality and operational system.

Read also : 24 Best Social Media Apps 2021

Based on the functional category the following set of tools can be used:

Frameworks: React Native, Django, Xamarin

Languages: JavaScript, Java, Objective-C, Python

Developer Tools

  • HAProxy (Load balancing and as a proxy server)
  • Sentry (Cross-platform application monitoring)
  • Babel (JavaScript compiler)
  • Webpack (Module bundler)
  • Nuclide (IDE – Integrated Development Environment)

For Computing and load balancing, Instagram uses Amazon web services (AWS) such as:

  • Amazon Route 53,
  • Amazon EC2
  • EBS

To enable speedy operational system, Instagram mainly relies on Ubuntu Linux 11.04.

Django framework of Python language builds Instagram’s web server with impressive processing units.

For creating data storage, Instagram capitalizes on PostgreSQL that facilitates user data, tags, meta data and more.

Not all the technologies and tools mentioned above are open-source; some of them come with fixed or dynamic charges which are included in developer’s bill.

Backend development cost

To create the backend of Instagram-like photo sharing app, we consider four major components that shape the skeleton of the app:

  • User interface
  • Content
  • posts
  • messaging

These four elements build the backend structure of Android or iOS app. Like Instagram, you can build the architecture with Django framework (based on Python language) and HTML5.

Domain Similar App How To How Much Our Price
Food Delivery Instagram Create an app like instagram Instagram app cost View price

Alternatively, you can opt for Java or Kotlin for Android platform, and Swift and Objective-C for iOS aps.

To give a shape to entire backend, it may take 300-400 hours.

For Android

If you have chosen Android platform for developing a native Instagram-like app, it is crucial to set mind on time and resources to go in the development. the cost will be subject to the specific technical challenges and complexities involved in Android ecosystem. The elements like design, screen sizes, app opening time may affect the overall cost.

Functionalities for Android that might be strenuous to develop are:

  • App infrastructure
  • Backend structure
  • Profile editing
  • Optimization for Screens
  • Capturing photos/videos
  • Photo Editor
  • Search
  • Geolocation
  • Push notification

For Android, the app is likely to take 1300-1500 hours.

For iOS

For developing iOS app, challenges do not perturb developers much since iOS developers can easily build a photo sharing app with social media integration. This is because Instagram offers ready document interactive API, and other iPhone-friendly tools to work their way.

iPhones also give the benefit of having pre-loaded images with a regular square size (640px X 640 px) for Instagram. Since iOS devices are mostly configured to meet basic requirements of Instagram app, developers can build all the great features using its Swift or Parse languages in Xcode environment for iOS, WatchOS and MacOS. This facility from iPhone saves a lot of time for iOS developers.

For iOS, Instagram clone can be built in nearly 1300 hours if everything goes as planned.

Other critical costs to shapethe app infrastructure

Though these are additional expenses, they are still essential in order to make a full-fledged, high-performance and unblemished app of excellent quality.

The costs explained above are meant for developing an app for a single platform. This means they don’t necessarily include preparation efforts spent in set up process, database architecture and cloud computing. These may   close to 150-200 hours.

Read also : How Much Does an MVP Mobile App Cost in India

Moreover, for your app to look and feel like Instagram, you need an intuitive and interactive UI/UX structure which is covered by design and admin panel experts.

In the end comes software testing services. There are some software development companies that additionally charge for testing services. You will need to discuss the commitment terms and price breakup with your development partner before starting the project to avoid serious predicament later.

Calculating the cost of MVP development

After having a thorough knowledge of what to include in your app to make it rich and usable, it is time to conclude the cost for developing an MVP. It is to be noticed that the MVP of an Instagram-like photo sharing app will focus on basic features, to see if it creates a massive appeal to the crowd.

For each platform, you will need to invest at least 1000-1300 hours until the development is perfectly completed. To calculate the cost estimated by software development companies, the usual approach is to consider per hour rate and multiply it to the total number of hours.

For instance, if the average rate of developers is $50 per hour, the cost of development may hit $60000 taking into account 1200 hours.

The price excludes design services and backend or admin panel development. In India, the prices proposed by app development companies are justifiably fair. However, the cost per hour for projects of this caliber in North America usually ranges between $100-$250.

Summary on final cost

In this final section, after discussing all vital elements that shape an app like Instagram, we can easily deduce how much the app will cost. The two main factors that play bold role in determining the cost will always be the timeline and rate of resources consumed which includes developer fees and paid APIs and technology platforms,

Read also : How To Create Video Chat Apps

To count the average rate of fees, we can see $40-$50 per hour as an ideal estimate. Based on this, the total estimate for various app architectures may come down to:

  • 350-400 hours for backend
  • Total 1300 hours approximately for development (each platform)
  • Nearly 100 hours to design
  • Additional 100 hours for creating a web application (optional)
  • 80-100 hours for detailed app performance testing

If we consider above factors to be the case for your project, we can summarize that the whole process would generally cost around $100000 to make a photo sharing app like Instagram.

If you aim to make it available and functioning for both iOS and Android, you may spend additional $50000 or more to enable cross-platform coding structure.


The success story of Instagram did not happen overnight. Its initial version was built in 2 months by only 3 software engineers though the app was sold to Facebook for $1 billion in one year.

The epic characteristics of Instagram app that thrilled millions of global users were its exceptional performance, engaging features and unparalleled photo-creative capabilities.

You may need to adopt an experimental approach to build an app like Instagram. But as you learned, it is worth the time and efforts spent.

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