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How To Create a Social Media Platform (App and Website)

The world of social media is in upheaval after USA passed the bill forcing TikTok to get shut down or get sold. This isn’t the first time the preeminent short video platform gets in hot water with regulators, so just like in the previous cases, we can expect new competitors to appear, ready to fill the market gap. The question of “how to create a social media platform” becomes more important. In this article, we will explain it step-by-step, from vision and scope to using a video editing SDK to release faster. 

how to create a social media platform

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1. Vision


There have always been a place for new social media on the market, despite the apparent dominance of TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and other megacorporations. Other, specialized platforms have been doing great if they fit their niche. For example, Press Sports focused on athletes, coaches, teams, and colleges. As a result, it gained popularity among its target audience and investors.

On the other hand, Chingari seized the opportunity when TikTok got banned in India, and quickly became one of the most prominent social media platforms in its market.

It could be hard to compete with the megacorporations, but if you have a clear vision, you might not have to do it.

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2. Scope


This point is twofold.

Firstly, it is about choosing the platforms to release on. The most common are Android, iOS, and Web. You can go for all three at once, or start with one and expand to the rest later. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. 

Release everywhere: 

Pros

  • Maximum potential target audience
  • Better brand visibility
  • More user insights

Cons

  • Increased development time and cost
  • Potentially inconsistent user experience
  • Hard to update all platforms simultaneously
  • Platform-specific limitations 

iimg-Blog-Hero-House-of-Rock-02House of Rock - a social media and travel app

Release on one platform:

Pros

  • Lower initial cost
  • Shorter time-to-market
  • Simple updates
  • Consistent user experience

Cons

  • Limited audience reach
  • Less flexibility

The second part is choosing which features to offer from the start, in your minimum viable product (MVP). The general idea is to include the functionalities that fulfill your users’ needs and help your product stand out from the competition. In practice, the prioritization can take different forms, e.g. assigning points to each, placing them on an impact/effort quadrant, etc. You won’t be able to include absolutely everything, so choosing the most fitting features is paramount.

3. Team

Now you need to choose the people who will create your project.

If you have an in-house team, they likely know how to create a social media platform, at least in general. In this case, consult with them. 

Otherwise, you either need to assemble one or hire a software development company. Qualified engineers, designers, and managers can command high salaries, so an in-house team requires a large budget. Dedicated companies, on the other hand often have offshore development centers in countries with lower cost of living, so this is often a more cost-effective option.

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4. Technology

Once you know what you want to release and where, you can choose the tools to develop it with. You can consult with your team for this issue as well. Note, however that some software development companies specialize in certain languages and frameworks, and may nudge you towards using them regardless of whether it is the right choice.

In general, this is mostly a matter of whether use native or cross-platform mobile frameworks and whether to integrate SDKs to speed up development.

Native vs Cross-platform

Native technologies are those supported by the owners of a specific platform. They are Java and Kotlin for Android, and C# and Swift for iOS. 

Pros

  • Highest performance
  • Easy access to platform-specific features (AR, biometrics, etc.)
  • Higher stability

Cons

  • More expensive (requires a separate app for each platform)
  • Longer development time
  • Two teams needed. Alternatively, you will have to find developers who know both platforms, which means still higher costs.

Cross-platform frameworks allow developers to create a single app that would run on both Android and iOS with minimal changes. The most prominent ones include React Native and Flutter, though there are other examples.

Pros

  • Shorter development time
  • Code sharing with web (in the case of React Native)
  • Easier maintenance

Cons

  • Somewhat lower performance
  • Limited access to platform-specific features
  • Need to write some platform-specific code for each version

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SDKs

SDK (software development kit) is a ready-made module that you can quickly integrate with your project to get certain features. For example, Banuba Video Editor SDK is a full-fledged audiovisual content creation suite that usually takes under an hour to install. And it includes:

  • Video recording
  • Trimming/merging
  • Transition effects
  • 3D masks
  • Background changer
  • Rapid/slo-mo
  • Picture-in-picture
  • Color filters
  • Music provider integration
  • Etc.

VE_StreamApps_Trigger_360x720_coverTimeline and effects in Banuba Video Editor SDK

Developing all of this from scratch would’ve taken over 100.000 man-hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Integrating it potentially saves up to 50% of development time.

Video Editor SDK is compatible with both native and cross-platform technologies, which means you can benefit from it no matter what you choose for your social network. 

Integration

The first step is to request the SDK archive and the trial token. This way you’ll be able to test this product for 14 days, no credit card required. Simply send us a message through a contact form below.

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The second step is to merge the SDK with your project. It is distributed as CocoaPods or Maven packages (depending on the platform) to speed up integration. See the detailed updated instructions below (links to GitHub):

Conclusion

Now you have all the information you need to develop a social media platform. Start with getting a clear vision for it, so you can find the right niche and avoid the harshest competition. Decide on whether to release on mobile devices and in browsers simultaneously, or start with one platform and expand later. Then figure out the most important features to go into your MVP so that you can both impress the users and distinguish yourself from similar apps. Pick a team to develop your project and select the right technologies. 

Using Video Editor SDK is a smart move, as it could save up to 50% of development time. And getting it is simple – send a message through a contact form below.

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