Social media app are most among the popular apps in the world. Many startups build a mobile app with unique ideas and consider Instagram like social media app as a strong competitor. Instagram has inspired several startups to create amazing photos & videos and social apps. Creating a social media app is not an easy job, you need to consider various factors like app requirement, features, costing, monetization strategy and many more. Do you also have an app idea and are planning to build a next social media app with ‘photo/video’, then you have landed on the right page to get some effective tips and success stories.

Instagram is not only a photo & video sharing app but it has become an effective marketing tool with the ‘Social Commerce’ strategy. Through this blog, we will know how to make a social media app like Instagram. The following checklist will help you to build an robust and user-friendly social media mobile app.

1. Finalize Your App Concept, Strategy, and Design

This is a very crucial part of the project. A mobile app with a unique concept and design goes popular and featured on the app store. Before creating a social media app, you should strictly use paper and pen to work out on the concept and vision of your business that is fulfilled by your app. Building the photo-sharing app is very common but making an app with the different concepts will bring success and value in the market.

After finalizing functional and non-functional requirements, defining vision and app development goals, you should prepare some sort of wireframes. It would be appropriated if you use a software tool like Balsamiq or Microsoft Presentation to create wireframes of the app.

Design is a key success of the photo-sharing app, if you can not create user-friendly responsive designs, you should contact a design agency to create an intuitive user experience for your app.

2. Features You want to have in Your Social Media App

  • Social Instagram Messenger: Social app is incomplete without a messenger feature. Instagram has also improved its messaging function to increase interactivity between users. Modern messenger can have audio messaging, video chat, GIF sharing, quick reply messages, and camera pictures sharing are useful features.
  • Photo Editing than Sharing: Users love to share photos on social networks. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have colorful filters, photo cropping & adjustments, markers, text, and contrast to make pictures more beautiful. These beautiful pictures can be shared on social media.
  • Short & Long Videos: Videos are now more popular on social media. We can consider that videos are the best content for app monetization and revenue generation. Instagram also allows users to post short & long videos on IGTV.
  • Stories: Story is also a very popular feature on Instagram. users can create stories and share them on social media.
  • Social Commerce – Deals/Coupons: Your app can allow business users to post deals and coupons for users.
  • User Post: share status, news, announcement, or any thought. Others can like, comment, and share.
  • Business Post: Allow business users to create sponsored posts and promote products and services.
  • Followers/Following: This is the most useful feature for any social media and photo/video app. Users can follow other users, business pages, brands, and artists.
  • Interactive user profile: profile page can have followers/following, likes, photos/videos posted.

3. Prepare App Monetization Strategy

Being a social startup company, you should be focused on revenue generation and app monetization. Before you jump into the development with a company, you should prepare app marketing and monetization strategy.

app monetization

This would work as motivation and you should start marketing with a launch date of your app. This is the best way to engage people with your app. While working on monetization strategy the following options you would consider from:

A. Advertising

The Instagram business model generates its big part of revenue through advertisements. Carousel ads, Video Ads are very popular features for businesses to promote their product and services. You must include this in your business model.

B. Sponsored or Business Post

A sponsored post is simple as a normal post with description and photo/video but it has a tag ‘sponsored’. Business creates sponsored posts that reach out to thousands of targeted audiences in selected regions. It is more popular on Instagram than Facebook.

C. In-App Purchase

Your social app can have premium features like photo filters, effects, membership to sell and generate revenue.

D. Social Commerce

It allows businesses to create business pages, promote brands, and sell products. Businesses can get followers and create brand awareness.

inapp shopping

4. How Much Does It Cost to Develop an Social Media App

It is most important to evaluate the cost of app development. Apps like Instagram take more effort in terms of time and cost. There will be task areas of app development and each one needs a different set of technical skills and they cost accordingly. The following resources are needed to create a featured social app:

resources for app

A well-funded startup or established company also hires a CTO who monitors the quality of the project. Estimate the cost of Instagram similar app based on the following rates and timeline:

app cost

You should look at some of the points below to optimize the cost of the project:

  • Compare quotes from onshore and offshore teams.
  • In the initial stage, your goal should be building a minimum viable product (MVP app) with a set of defined features. Strict the budget for MVP.
  • It is appropriate to start with one platform like iOS or Android and get some user feedback and work on those in future versions.
  • Also, check the cost of native app versus hybrid app development. The hybrid app will not take high cost and you will have an app on both iOS and Android platforms.

5. Find Developer to Create Social Media App

There are several companies who are specialized in social media app development. You would like to review their portfolio and go through social media apps to find out if they have developed a similar mobile app. Simpalm has a team of top social app developer that helps you to design, develop, and publish an Instagram similar mobile app.

It is recommended to partner with an expert mobile app development company because the Instagram clone is not a simple app to build in a month or so. Building an Instagram clone app needs years of expertise in the mobile domain. If you are in the USA, you will have the following two choices:

A. You can hire in the USA

Hiring an onshore development team is an appropriate solution. There are several expert app and web development companies in the USA. A local team will support you throughout the project. There are several benefits to hiring an onshore development company. They will provide you excellent support and communication. You can meet them in person and discuss the progress of the project. You should request a quotation from multiple teams to evaluate the cost of onshore development. It may not be too high and within your budget.

B. You can hire Offshore Team

If you have a strict budget and looking for a highly expert team, you can hire an offshore team from India, Europe, or China. The offshore team who also has an office in the USA is a much better option. You can communicate with their project managers, BA, and sales team in the USA. Also, you will not need to compromise with the quality of code and they can complete your photo-sharing app within the budget.

6. Don’t forget to check how competitors are doing?

App Stores are fully loaded with Photo & Video sharing apps.  Before finalizing anything, you must go through the competitive photo-sharing apps to see how they are providing service to users. What activities the user is enjoying while using the app? What is trending on these apps?

This quick research will help you in finalizing your app features and services you will be proposing to users.

Business Model

Before building an social media app, you must know the business model of Instagram App. Instagram has bought by Facebook in 2012 and they are the backbone of this business. Other than Facebook, there are several big investors who have invested in Instagram.

Instagram is available on the major platform and it has a vast network and user base. The app is now more popular since it has introduced several new features like Story, Messaging, Business Promotion, Product Selling, Live TV, and Advertisement.

Final Words

Simpalm has an expert team of app developers in Chicago and we list some effective suggestions to make a powerful app with photo/video processing, storage, transferring, and presentation. You just need to set standards and work on the solution with your app development partner. It is essential to work on design and discovery to have refined requirements and create a seamless user interface. Just follow the latest trends and try to see what users love to do on social media. This way you can build a successful social app with millions of app users.

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    Piyush Jain

    Piyush Jain is the CEO and Founder of Simpalm. He leads the business and engineering team to build the mobile and web product solution for clients. He loves to write thought leadership articles on IoT, Mobile, Blockchain, BigData, Web and other software technologies.