A few years ago it is was hard to imagine some new social media platform can push Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram off their pedestals

What happened next?

In 2018, everyone is dazed with the rapid rise of Tik Tok - earlier known as a teen-focused social media app called Musical.ly. Tik Tok surpassed the world’s most popular social networks in the number of installs. And since that time, continues rising in numbers (800M+ active users at a current time).

The Tik Tok phenomenon is great evidence of how new players can compete with their giants. Thanks to a well-built concept, correct product/market fit, and meeting all the needs of the target audience.

Keep in mind: creating both a new and successful social media platform is NOT an easy game. Even when it comes to narrowly-focused ones with a smaller audience, keeping that audience requires a lot of effort.

The major to-do things are:

  • Constant market research (learning from competitors, discovering the latest trends, etc.)
  • Examining users’ behavior (discovering people’s needs and interests)
  • Big investments in promo (smart ad campaigns is the key to success)
  • Creating a 100% user-friendly website & app platform (requires constant updates & improvements).
Hyfa - a social discovery platform
This is the design concept for Hyfa — a social platform for sharing products & experiences you love. Your feedback and suggestions likes are much appreciated! Check out Fulcrum’s other cases: https://fulcrum.rocks/projects

Are all those efforts worth the game? Definitely! Almost every social network you know brings great revenue to its owners. Aside from disturbing ads, they earn on selling premium accounts, subscriptions, virtual products.

Why Do You Need a Social Media App?

In 2021, there is no single social media platform to NOT own an app.

And this is why:

1.Better UI

Facts say apps load the media content much faster than actual websites. Let’s be honest, we all hate slow websites. Another great perk of an app is that it may partly work without a constant Internet connection.

The app architecture allows developers create exclusive and useful features with intuitive navigation

2. Better Interactivity

Mobile apps encourage smartphone users to view or share posts, read a message, leave a comment, etc

3. Loyalty

According to eMarketer, users spend 90% of their time interacting with their mobile devices in apps. Owning your app is the key to keeping users loyal to your social media platform.

4. Better User Analytics

The enhanced functionality of mobile apps allows online stores to

  • have better control over user interactions compared to websites
  • get more detailed analytics.

These benefits help business owners to personalize content. And, as a result, implement better recommendation systems.

6 Stages to Create a Social Media App

There is a lot more behind social media app development than simply designing the interface and writing code.

Tons of research and analysis stand behind the work, which can be visually evaluated. Here at Fulcrum, we call it a Discovery Phase - a scoping phase that gives everyone an understanding of how viable and feasible your app can be.

At the beginning of the client & Fulcrum collaboration, we go through four main stages of the Discovery Phase:

  • Stage 1: Finding the Product-Market Fit
  • Stage 2: Conducting a Market Research
  • Stage 3: Examining the Target Audience
  • Stage 4: Determining the App Model

The second part is fully devoted to the process of App Development. It consists of two major phases:

  • Stage 5: Performing a Good Design
  • Stage 6: Creating MVP & Testing Ideas

This plan represents a complete cycle of social media app development. On average, it takes 4-5 months to cover all the stages before an actual app is released.

So what exactly stands behind each stage?

Stage 1: Finding the Product-Market Fit

You should understand how well the concept of your social media platform. Is it resonates with the target audience? As long as the product doesn’t fit the needs of the current market, the app is likely to fail.

It’s okay to fail during your first tries. The truth is, you can always fix it. More to say, the market needs are changing, and it’s recommended to study the product-market fit now and then.

Examining your target users and their needs helps your app to adapt better to the current realities. That is exactly how Instagram, Twitter, and a whole lot more giant platforms maintain the right product-market fit and maintain on the top.

Stage 2: Conducting a Market Research

It’s important to understand how big of a player the market research is in the entire cycle of social media app development.

Carefully-performed market research defines the entire success of your future app. Our company leaves this task to marketing & analytics experts who will study competitors from A to Z.

They say, who owns the information, owns the world. Learn competitors to enter the market without copying someone else. Otherwise, if you don’t offer anything new, why bothering so much?

Stage 3: Examining the Target Audience

Listen to those who may potentially become your app user. The best way to examine the target audience is by making one-on-one interviews. Or at least, conducting an online poll.

Also, you may take advantage of such methods as persona creation and customer journey map (CJM). The first one will help you to brainstorm characteristics of the app’s typical user. The CJM focuses on the user’s behavior while browsing the app.

Stage 4: Determining the App Model

Together with the type of your future social media app, apps differ in their business models:

1.Freemium

A famous example of a freemium social network is LinkedIn. Any user can join and run one’s profiles for free with many basic features available at no cost. But some users can sign up for a few premium services. Paid services are available for those who purchased a premium subscription.

2. Advertising (for revenue)

As you may already guess, advertising for revenue is a more common business model out of both. Apps come 100% free in all features while earning from data-driven ads (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc.). The main goal for such platforms is to engage as many users to their platforms as possible.

None of both options is right or wrong. At Fulcrum, we may support clients with our recommendations on each business model based on our own experience. What we know for sure, predicting the profitability of each scenario is important if you want to ensure the expected revenue growth.

In the following Canva presentation, we summarized the main objectives of the Discovery Phase.

Meanwhile, we are moving on to the awaited Phase of Development - the one where theory transforms into practice.

Stage 5: Performing a Good Design

Good design takes a lot of effort. Before you see the expected design a bit of preparation has to be done.

And the main preparation is creating an app prototype. Down the link - our recent guide on prototypes to get you acquainted with the possible unknown design term.

create an app prototype

You need to consider the app controls between the prototyped screens. In other words, you will be able to see the customer’s path before it’s recreated.

Then, you start working on the common system architecture. It includes services, integrations with other systems, and interaction within one app.

Finally, you define the ultimate design concept. It all about the color palette, fonts, illustrations, icons, etc.

Fulcrum.Rocks Design Services
Fulcrum.Rocks Design Services

Stage 6: Creating MVP & Testing Ideas

An MVP aka the minimum viable version of the product will save you time, money, and extra effort. An MVP contains just enough basic app features to make tests and get valuable user feedback on your app.

Quite recently, we made a detailed guide on building a Minimum Viable Product. Take a look to learn the steps of building an MVP and it helps your app to innovate.

The more feedback you can get - the better. More reviews will help you determine whether you need to make small improvements or change the concept as a whole.

Think about how you will engage users to leave their honest opinions about the app. They should see you make huge efforts to create a product that suits their needs and how valuable their feedback can be.

Which App Elements To Include In Your MVP?

  1. Splash screen - the first visual to be seen on a screen;
  2. Sign-in page;
  3. Welcome tutorial - guideline on how to create an account & navigate;
  4. Content feed - with ANY content acceptable;
  5. Profile page - image & descriptions included;
  6. Chat - the major communication channel between users;
  7. Search bar - for finding content and connections;
  8. Settings - for individual app customization.

It’s worth noting that the given list varies from one app to another. At Fulcrum, additional elements & pages may be added to your request.

P.S. Fulcrum offers a 60-day MVP production service.

MVP Assembly Line
MVP Assembly Line

Estimate the Price of Your Social Media App

So how long does it take to build a social media app and how much is it going to cost? The total price of launching an app includes app development, design, and startup costs. While a basic app may cost $20000, a more complex one will go beyond $70000.

Read More: How Much Does It Cost to Make an App?

While you are guessing how much it may cost to build a social media app from scratch, Fulcrum does this job for you.

We offer a convenient Price Calculator allowing you to estimate the approximate cost of your entire app development.

What defines the final price of the project?

  • Platform (IOS, Android, Multiplatform, Web)
  • Features (Admin Features, API & integrations, Content Generated by Users, eCommerce, Location & Dates, Security, Social networks & Engagement)

With each chosen feature, a certain number of hours is added, which defines the final pricing of your social media app.

Estimate the Price of Your Social Media App

We can proceed further to discuss your ideas and find the most suitable solution for creating the desirable app.

Why Can We (Fulcrum.Rocks) Help You Build a Social Media App?

Here at Fulcrum.Rocks, we help startups and businesses create mobile apps “on a turn-key basis”.

We work on the project from scratch until the client receives a complete full-fledged application.  All set up for growing audience and monetization.

By the way, developing a social media app has already become a part of our experience.

Among numerous cases, Fulcrum stood behind the emergence of Hyfa. It is a UK-based social discovery-platform for sharing products and experiences with friends.

how to make a social media app like instagram

More information on the Hyfa case is described on our website.

Case Study: Social Discovery Platform - Hyfa - Fulcrum.rocks
Hyfa Ltd came to Fulcrum with the existing app which had lots of bugs to be fixed. Fulcrum took the app over and moved it to a new backend to speed up its performance. After that, we successfully elaborated Hyfa’s in-app logic, add micro-interactions and redesigned the app.

Main Benefits of Fulcrum:

Transparent with terms. After learning more about your case, we set the terms and meet the deadlines. The approximate timing for each service is also specified on our website.

Fixed costs. The final price is negotiated before the start - no surprises.

Target audience only. Our analysts make a deep examination of your target audience and their needs towards the software. The right approach to a pre-development analysis ensures the needed targeted traffic;

Well-built usability. We run dozens of usability tests to achieve the smoothest user interface;

Coordination is the key to the result! To give a client a sense of control and avoid misunderstandings, we organize weekly/daily meetings (Jira & Slack). Our response time is 1 hour.

Summary

Each step mentioned above is crucial to the success of the app. Talk to our team to learn more about creating a social media app.

outsourcing