Instagram is a popular social media app focused on promoting communication through images and videos rather than just text. Not only can you quickly take, edit and upload personal pictures, you can also use the app to promote businesses. Instagram is a giant in today’s social media scene that is famous on a global scale. Its spectacular popularity proves that there is a demand for simple photo-sharing apps not only for personal uses but also to promote business and get new customers. In this article, we take you through how to make a social media app like Instagram and explore why the format is so accessible. You can also contact our expert mobile app developers to outsource your project.
Why is Instagram popular?
After Facebook acquired it in 2012, the app has seen a surge of users looking to expand their home-based businesses as well as corporations seeking to promote their next big product. By focusing on visual input rather than text input, Instagram allow=s for faster content absorption and therefore, quicker responses. Responses can take the form of a ‘like’ or a purchase decision in your favor. Either way, businesses and individuals alike prefer Instagram over other social media. It is the same reason why entrepreneurs seem to be drawn to the format and look to creating photo-sharing apps like Instagram.
How to make an app that looks and feels like Instagram
Since the reason you’re here is to learn how to make a social media app like Instagram and make it look, act and feel just as good, let us get started. Here is a list of features your app must incorporate to achieve the same finesse offered by Instagram.
Regardless of the app, your first step will always be an authorization process of some kind. Here the user experience begins, and therefore, the first impression is critical. Like Instagram, consider providing opportunities to register using an email account or phone number. You can also offer connectivity with other social media platforms such as Facebook. In any case, make sure to save user data in a secure database and keep in mind that the type of authorization protocols you employ determine the kind of permissions the mobile app requires. For example, if the user registers using a mobile number, the app then requests access to SMS. Similarly, the user uses a social media account to log in; the authorization process continues with protocols such as OAuth.
Option to edit profile
User profiles are an excellent way for users to personalize their user experience. Once the user logs in, the app should prompt as a reminder to complete the profile and outline the benefits of doing so such as making friends easier or that it will be easier for known people to get in touch. Standard fields include name, gender, phone number, website, profile picture, and description. Of course, you can increase or remove as many as you like depending on the kind of experience you want to offer.
Smooth and effortless upload for both photos and video
For a photo-sharing app, the entire process must be as seamless as possible. This ease-of-access will be the most used feature of your app, and therefore, any hiccups or obstacles in this area are most likely to increase user striation rates. Furthermore, make sure to include features that only help upload photos and videos, but other Instagram features like preview display, commenting and tagging. You can try using API such as android.hardware.camera2 API and the Camera API for uploading processes on Android. For iOS, you might consider UIImagePickerController.
Editing for both photos and videos
If Instagram is known for anything, it’s the filters. Regardless of the type of user, the majority of pictures uploaded to apps like Instagram are not raw because users like to mess around with the photos they take and change how they look to better suit their tastes or needs. Therefore, picture customization, including rotation, straightening, and zooming is necessary if you want to build a similar photo-sharing app. However, keep in mind that development costs differ depending on the kind of filters you use. Developers usually have programming codes prepared for standard filters. On the other hand, the developer will need to write the code fresh from scratch for a custom filter.
Connections with popular social media networks
Sometimes sharing photos on Instagram alone is not enough. Most users like to post their content on multiple social media platforms. Alternatively, some users prefer posting solely on Instagram and then using other platforms to link up to Instagram. Either way, you can interact with friends and family regardless of which social network you prefer and therefore, the more you can integrate, the better. Your developer can tell you more about how this works but, in a nutshell, the developer establishes a connection between the account ID unique to your app and account ID for whatever social media app you want to integrate.
Location features such as geo-tagging
Another popular feature when making an app like Instagram is geo-tagging. This feature is a system by which users can add location information to their photos and thereby make it easier for other people to find out more about where they were. The integration of geo-tagging helps extend the functionality of your app and make it more interesting. For extra points, consider tagging the location on popular maps as well as the photo itself. In most common cases, developers implement this feature by linking up with built-in location APIs. For Android and iOS, the developer will use Google Maps or Apple Maps, respectively.
Search options with powerful indexing
A useful search function is one of the most versatile but often overlooked features in a social media app. It is the single best way to find someone or something quickly. However, to make the search function as powerful as it can be, you must work with a robust and holistic indexing system. The search option uses the indexing and a set of predefined parameters to filter content by posts likes or photos tagged.
The two primary means of communication in any photo-sharing app include direct messaging and public comments. Allow your users to communicate by incorporating a message exchange option for both real-time chatting and the opportunity to carry on conversations later on. Furthermore, users should have the ability to comment on posts and, at the same time, decide who gets to comment on their posts. You can also get your developer to include push notification settings into your photo-sharing app to keep users informed about new messages or comments.
Flexible and comprehensive settings
As mentioned earlier, the more users can customize an app to suit their style, the more likely they are to continue using your app. Similarly, performance and display settings should be easily adjustable to improve convenience during usage. You can include options for interface language, enabling or disabling push notifications and account privacy.
Now, although Snapchat was the pioneer in the ‘story’ phenomenon, it is an equally prominent feature for Instagram. As you may know, ‘Instagram Stories’ is a feature that allows users to share moments from their day, publicly, in a slideshow format, that last a maximum of 24 hours. After the day is up, those stories disappear never to be seen again (unless you save them of course). Furthermore, just like regular posts, users can add text, stickers, live filters, and geo-stickers to their stories.
Good practices for making an app like Instagram
So far, we have discussed how to make an app that looks and feels like Instagram. Now here you will find a list of things you can do to achieve your development goals better. Here’s how to make a social media app like Instagram the right way:
- Thoroughly research the market and learn as much as you can about your competitors.;
- Before starting the project, clearly define scope and target audience;
- Ensure your budget based on accurate assumptions and historical data. Prepare contingency plans for if you exceed it;
- Consult a specialist or someone you trust once you know what you want to build;
- Before selecting development companies (such as Folio3) do your research and learn more about them;
- Ask your development company to make a Most Viable Product (MVP);
- Make sure to include certain unique features that set you apart from the rest;
- Always beta test your app before releasing to the public;
- Always remind yourself that app development is a long-term process, and your app will continue to evolve.
Since we have been taking the example of Instagram through most of this article, here is an example of how the development team behind Instagram kept bringing in new features despite the app already becoming a hit in its first year. Instagram introduced the following features between 2017 and 2018, which significantly improved the user experience:
- A 1.5-second video that plays in a forward-reverse-forward loop
- Allows for extreme zoom videos that last up to 3 seconds.
- Rewind videos
- Option to rewind regular footage and make it look special
- Question stickers
- Allows users to ask a question within the post
- Emoji slider
- Similar to question stickers but also allows viewers to react using an emoji scale
- A custom ID card to enable people to find you easily on Instagram by scanning it;
- Hashtags and profile links in bio
- The option to include hashtags (#) and profile links (@) within the bio to make for better indexing and therefore search results;
- Shoppable posts
- Both business and individual accounts can mark their goods on photos uploaded to Instagram;
- Stories highlights
- It allows users to revisit their past or present stories, which were particularly memorable.
How much can a social media app like Instagram cost?
Regardless of whether you are a startup or a well-established company, evaluating the cost of app development is essential. Mainly because an app like Instagram can take far more effort and time than seems apparent, there are several facets of app development and each requires a specific set of skills and technology. For example, you might need a creative designer, either an iPhone or Android app developer, maybe a web developer for multi-device compatibility and probably a backend server developer. Furthermore, you might need to hire people to focus on the project management side of app development.
To avoid the hassles of managing everything individually, consider hiring an app development company like Folio3. These companies have most of the resources needed in-house and can, therefore, build efficient app solutions tailored to your specific requirements.
What apps are similar to Instagram?
This list should not be considered comprehensive by any means, but here are some of the apps similar to Instagram:
- We Heart It;
How long does making a social media app like Instagram take?
Building a social media app like Instagram can take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months, depending on the skill of your development team and the resources available to you. Talk to an app development consultant to now more.
Overall, the development of a social media, photo-sharing app such as Instagram is all about how the app processes pictures and manages the transfer and storage. Remember to pay close attention to setting standards and benchmarks for the images that users want to upload. Doing so ensures that it looks good in the profile gallery as well as in the feed.
Finally, you know now how to make a social media app like Instagram and what it takes to get the best possible result. If you can guarantee quality to your users, you enable them to fulfill their needs efficiently and conveniently, thereby ensuring the success of your app. Lastly, always keep abreast of the latest design and feature trends so that your app stays relevant.