Social media niche seems to be extremely promising in 2019. Having a moderately low budget, one is able to build a social media app and turn it into a tool of getting high revenue with a strong growth rate. At the same time, a brand new social media development and promotion could become tricky as the market is already occupied with well-known companies.
Facebook with more than 2.3 billion users is the global leader, being a company whose assets are estimated at 505 billion dollars.
The second global player is YouTube with an audience of almost 2 billion and an estimated value of around 160 billion dollars.
The third example is WhatsApp with 1.6 billion active users, according to 2019 statistics. In 2014, WhatsApp was sold to Facebook for 19 billion dollars, and since then its estimated price became 3 times bigger.
In the article we’ve tried to analyze whether there is any place for the new social network on the global market, calculate budgets and give some practical tips on how to create a social network.
Before You Create a Social App: Find Your Niche
What do all major social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube or Facebook have in common? Right, all of them are not dedicated to any specific topic.
The idea of dominant players is to connect as many users with different interests as it is possible and then to group them according to their preferences and interests. Forbes once said that there is no place for any new all-covering social media until the technological progress has created a new niche for the new type of communication. However, there is always some place for social media covering the specific need of people gathered around specific subjects.
As a developer of a new social media, you’ve got at least one indisputable advantage. Since your app shouldn’t be convenient for everybody, you are flexible enough to serve the target group much better than Facebook or Twitter do.
Niche thematic platform can bring more profits than the general one, having active and more involved users.
The social platform based on interests where the specific audience hangs out does not overdose users with irrelevant content and, at the same times, gives them an opportunity to show their posts to many people.
An active audience also helps you to promote your business without any additional expenses. The audience is more loyal than the passive one. The question is how to find a profitable niche and define the target audience. There are some tips on how to start the research:
Learn different niches’ current financial rates
In what niche the most expensive solutions are being successfully sold? Which niche includes companies with the highest assets estimates?
Learn historical category ranking
That will help you to define which niche is highly demanded and is the easiest (and therefore the cheapest) to get into.
Track niche growth rate
Find out which niches are most promising at the moment. Define the niche growth rate comparing data from different intervals.
Follow the leaders (1% and 10% downloads)
Before creating a social network, you should be aware of at least 2 download tiers in your niche. Track the leaders’ strategies and study their development history to set realistic business goals. Mind that you can’t get to the top at one moment.
If you’ve got a small budget and you are still not sure if your social network is likely to become popular, continue the research with target group study. Any social media platform is about people and their needs, so try to learn their tastes by starting a facebook page on your topic or simply gathering the focus group and presenting your ideas to it.
To get the inspiration, check some examples of well-developing niche social platforms: Houzz is about home decoration, Dribbble helps designers to share their projects, Couchsurfing gives travelers a chance to stay at each other’s apartments without paying money.
How to Create a Social Media App?
Successful social media app shouldn’t be just good-looking and well-operating. First, you need to define why exactly it will be interesting and useful for your users. A social network is based on the users’ content, so your main task is to check if they would like to use your future tool to do so.
Imagine that you’ve already come up with the social media app idea. What’s next? There are several basic steps of thoughtful social media app launch.
Step 1. Strategy
To create a social media choose the niche, portrait your target audience and set the business indicators first. According to the competitive field situation, try to figure out the key marketing features you need to develop. It is also important to study the weaknesses and strengths of the competitors.
Step 2. Workflow and social networking designs
At this stage, you need to go through such processes as sketching the app user flow, wireframing, prototyping and finally UI and UX design development. More about this learn from How to build an MVP article.
Step 3. MVP development and QA
Build your app backend by setting up APIs, servers, and databases, and test your solution with the help of Quality Assurement team and focus group members.
Step 4. Publishing
The publishing process consists of promo materials and video guidance preparation, description writing and app publishing itself at Google Play Market or (and) Apple Store. Mind that you need to put your app in the right category and with the right tags in order to reach your target users.
Step 5. Marketing
A marketing strategy should be developed in the first stage of your project implementation. But the promotional and selling essential campaign’s stage usually starts just after the app has been published on App Store and Play Market.
Be attentive and promote an app during first 72 hours after publishing as actively as you can. In future, dynamics of first 72-hours involvement rate and users’ feedback will define your position and ranking.
Step 6. Technical support and updates
Be ready to get some feedback from your first users, respond to their questions, fix app errors and update your app due to the new experience. It is also a good idea to have a basic plan of updates since you start with MVP.
Make a Social Network App: Features for MVP
An MVP is a good idea of how to avoid risks and spend the development budget responsibly while building a social media platform.
An MVP app (Minimum Viable Product) is a ready-to-use digital product that performs key app features and nothing more. They usually use MVPs to test the startup idea in general, generate early leads, or to define further development vectors. More about what does MVP mean and why you need it.
Start working on your MVP with the list of the key features of your future product. In this case, think about your future users’ need that should be definitely fulfilled with your brand new solution. Here you could find the list of major app features. Choose which of them are obligatory for the app and which are not.
- Landscape mode
- Registration (via mail, bigger social network, password)
- Automatic data encryption
- Profile customization (user picture, background photo, name, bio)
- Global posting and commenting
- Online media editing tools
- News Feed arrangement
- Payment system integration
- Invite friend feature
- Groups’ management
- Private in-app communication (texting, media files exchange, calls)
- Push, phone or email notification
- Location tracking
- App management tool
- User content manager (text, images, video)
- Other source integration (databases, other apps)
Having the list of the most important features you’ll be able to calculate costs and implementation time. Keep in mind that the more features you have, the more screens are required and therefore the more money you need to create an app.
The price will turn even higher if you decide to interact with other platforms and services, such as chatting through Messenger, importing visual content from Instagram or checking online reviews platforms. However, using the third-party platform as an in-built tool you may reduce development costs.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Social Network App
Market campaign development and implementation usually are the most expensive part of social network mobile app development services.Moreover, marketing expenses unlike soft development ones tend to be not one-time, but regular and even scalable.
The trick is that after certain number of downloads it gets harder and therefore more expensive to attract extra users. Ironically, the more popupal you become the more you need to spend promoting your app.
The second place stands for social networking designs and prototyping, or backend depending on what is more important for your future app.
Taking into consideration the Lean Startup approach, we’ve calculated approximate costs of the native social network app MVP development. Mind that there are several factors affecting the total costs: the number of features, design requirements, deadlines (urgent tasks are always more expensive) and the chosen programming language.
- Sign up and sign in
- Personal profile customization
- Private Messaging
- App search
- Posting tools (text plus media)
- News Feed performance and commenting
- Public page and groups creating and administering
- In-built ads
The social media development itself will take around 2 months and 3 months is likely to be spent on all the concerning tasks including project management, market analysis, UX and UI design, quality assurance, marketing, and customer support. In general, look-like apps price starts from 22 000 to 50 000 dollars for one platform. If you would like to have an exclusive wow-looking design, be ready to pay 25% more.
Remember, that building a social media you can reduce some costs using outsourcing labor from any of cheap countries with a good digital outsource ranking.
Needless to say that Eastern Europe and Asia are 5 and more time cheaper than the US or Canada when it comes to app development tasks. In 2019, the hourly rate there starts at 10 dollars. An experienced worker could be hired there for the price of 40–50 dollars per hour.
More information on app development costs read in our article.
Creating a social network process is difficult for several reasons. First, the social media market has long been captured by giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Secondly, the application needs an audience. This means that you need to invest a huge resource in studying the needs of your future users, as well as developing a strategy for attracting them and stimulating their activity on your platform.
The good news is that not only global social platforms with millions of users bring good profits. Themed niche social networks give users more than all-inclusive giants.
Niche platforms are literally adapted to the needs, opportunities, and interests of their target audience. Well-made niche platforms generate more users’ trust, easily become viral, and often demonstrate a much higher degree of audience involvement than common social media.
So how to make a social networking app? The work on a new application consists of market analysis, setting MVP features, UI and UX design, backend and marketing campaign. The minimum social media development time for a traditional social networking app MVP is 3 months, and the cost is 22 000 dollars.
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