How To Create a Social Media App

By James Tredwell on June 13, 2021

New implementations and more advanced features are being introduced every day which boast the incredible advancement of programmers and developers as well.

Standing here in 2021, more than 58% of the planet’s population above 13 years of age uses Social Media mobile applications or web applications. It has been predicted that with more users joining every day, the number will reach 4.4 billion people by 2025, a huge leap from the 3.8 billion active Social Media users now. However, even now, more than 50% of the entire planet uses Social Media with the numbers touching 90% of all mobile internet users.

Most reputed courses and resources for developers cover the creation of Social Media applications, and it is one of the most preferred projects for students and mentors around the world.

Regardless of these implementations of a Social Media environment in browsers as web applications or in smartphones through mobile apps, these are the most popular and extensive applications that can be programmed and deployed for real-world applications. Let us learn the fundamentals of building a Social Media app and what are the things that we should keep in our minds.

What Are The Different Approaches To Building A Social Media App?

First, let us check out the options when talking about building Social Media apps.

1. Developing the App Using Programming and UI Tools

The best approach is to build the app yourself or with the help of expert programmers through the use of Android OS or iOS development environments such as Android Studio, Kotlin and Xcode. One can also choose to use the additional use of UI builders such as Swift UI and other Native UI kits. One can also take the approach of simply using JavaScript and React to build web applications that are governed by the concepts of a social media environment.

2. Software as a Service or Platform as a Service Applications

There are multiple SaaS and PaaS applications that can be used extensively to build or develop Social Media apps for smartphones, the web and even the cloud. PaaS would be more useful for organisation-specific social media or community apps, however, SaaS can be very useful in making customisable applications that can be accessed across multiple platforms easily.

3. Using Tools and Software Which Require No Coding

There are multiple tools and software that are able to build social media apps without the need for programming. However, these tools are limited and cannot be customised extensively. There is also the lack of easy upgrades and advanced features.

Most of these tools and software allow users who do not know coding to build apps using drag and drop features, simple function declarations and a bit of UI designing.

4. Using Open-source Builds and Software

This approach requires coding as well as the ability to host the builds over a server. Using this approach, one can skip the need to build the basic structures and layouts, proceeding to customise the interface and additional features. This is a less time-consuming method, however, one should bear in mind that compared to building apps from scratch, this will limit developers heavily.

Choose The Target Operating Systems

Before delving into the type of Social Media application that one wishes to build, one needs to decide upon the OS of choice or if the app will be a cross-platform one. It can also be a responsive web app that can work on both smartphones and in web browsers. It truly depends on the target users and whether you are building the app yourself or with the help of others. Different Operating Systems or Cross-platform builders involve specific development procedures, sometimes being vastly different, other than the core concepts. So if one wishes to build the application himself or herself, one must first consider which OS environment he or she is more comfortable building in.

If developers then want to expand to other OS systems, they can use migration tools or modify coding and architecture components according to the other target Operating Systems.

Android is the preferred choice for app development as it is comparatively easy with plenty of resources to help in learning android app development for developers in beginning phases.

There are also many more Android users as compared to iOS users, which is another factor that should be considered when working on a restricted budget or with limited time.

Decide Upon What Kind Of A Social Media Environment It Would Be

There are multiple variations of the concept of a Social Media platform. Before delving into developing, one must first decide on the type of platform or social media representation it would be. For most of these, the primary features that allow users to connect to each other are common.

1.   Social Networking Application

These social media apps can be used by people for online interaction, data transactions and information sharing.

2.   Media Sharing Application

These are social media apps that are geared towards users for sharing media such as videos, animated images, photos and files.

3.   Customer-oriented Application

These are social media apps that are built to allow customers and consumers to connect to each other, discuss products and even leave reviews.

4.   Reader Network or Interest-centric Application

These social media applications are to connect users with the same interest. These range from music, books and even objects.

5.   Content Mirroring Applications

These are social media applications that can be utilised for saving content from other sources and sharing them with other users. These applications also allow users to discover content from other places and curate them for others.

6.   Discussion or Community Forum Application

These applications can be used by people to gather when they are in need of answers. These applications are used for finding answers to questions of varying topics and the users are able to communicate with each other to share resources or their knowledge.

7.   Blogging Application

These social media apps are great for people who love to write blogs. These can be built to allow users to write about the things they like or their various experiences. Other users are also able to comment and interact with the bloggers as well.

Features That Should Be Built On A Social Media App

Regardless of the type of social media app that one decides to build, all social media apps must follow certain concepts and have specific features in order to truly qualify as a full-fledged Social Media app. Here are the features that must definitely be integrated into your app.

●  Profile

This is a must for a social media app. This feature allows users to put down their basic information and media in an isolated space. Care must be taken when developing the permission required to access this space as the profile owners should get to decide who they wish to share their profile with or if they want to keep it public.

●  Posts

This function can be implemented as blogs, media or text through which users can update or post information about their experiences and themselves.

●  Notification

Notifications are mandatory for users to get notified of comments, updates, messages and connections. Notification functions can be integrated as push notifications in order to slide in as native notification inside an OS or smartphone.

●  Chat or Messaging

This function is compulsory in order to allow users to communicate with each other separately or in groups.

● Adding a Friend or a Connection

This function is absolutely mandatory to make a social media app complete. This function allows users to add each other as connections. This in turn promotes finding friends or people with similar interests and being connected to them online. This can also be implemented as a ‘Follow’ feature.

● Search

This option allows users to search for others for specific posts, pages, topics and hashtags.

● Media Upload

This is a must in order for users to have the ability to share media and files with others. Good social media apps must support most of the common video, image and audio file formats.

● News or Friends Feed

This feature allows users to keep a track of the things that are going on around them, the people they follow (of interest) and their friends as well.

There are a few other things that one can implement in order to make their social media app even better.

  • The additional feature of groups, pages and communities.
  • A library for resources and a help section as well.
  • Ability to monetise the application.
  • Additional security functions allow users to feel safe as well as protect their data.
  • Adding automated filtration of foul language, spam, harmful files and illegal activities.
  • Profile customisation options for users.
  • Adding analytics for commercial or ad/marketing purposes.
  • Admin feature for users to moderate sections or spaces.

A Few Things To Keep In Mind When Building A Social Media App

Here are a few tips that should be considered before finally starting to develop the application.

  • Keep the design simple and user-friendly.
  • The platform should be responsive and apps should show consistency across smartphones and web browsers.
  • Keeping profile pictures and images results in a circular shape to promote easy discovery.
  • Provide users with the options to choose their privacy and security settings.
  • Keep colours that reflect your company or purpose and use the colours throughout the app to imprint your application in the minds of users. This also helps in building familiarity and user relationships.
  • Provide easy navigation and use easy searching algorithms.
  • Understand your budget and what you can deliver. Understand your limitations and then deploy the best possible quality within the boundaries.
  • Build prototypes and working models before deployment.
  • Extensively test the app before making it go live. Debug and fix glitches or bugs if required.
  • Use stable servers to host the application.


Building a Social Media app is not easy, however, with the right tools, resources and experience, one can easily make a fully functional social networking or media sharing application that brings users across the globe together.

Social Media is the future of communication and networking, and building apps will also allow developers and programmers to gain more insight into how to make them function better, implement more features and allow users with similar interests to connect efficiently.

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