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Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has remained a prominent player in the social media industry, offering its 217 million daily active users a way to freely express themselves in 280 characters or less.
This unique approach to social media has become a haven for celebrities, journalists, and politicians, including 83 percent of the world’s leaders, to engage with the public and share their thoughts on a variety of subjects. The microblogging platform has also secured itself as an effective marketing tool, with the vast majority of its earnings stemming from advertisements in 2021.
In this article, we’ll discuss further how Twitter has set itself apart from other social media platforms and explain the steps you’ll need to take when developing your own Twitter-like app. Keep reading to learn more.
What You’ll Learn In This Post
- Twitter Market Overview
- Popular Features of Twitter
- How to Make an App Like Twitter
- Marketing and Monetizing Your App
- Legal Considerations
- Social Media App Development Cost
What Is Twitter?
Based on the concept of “short bursts of inconsequential information,” Twitter was created in 2006 as an SMS-based communications platform that people could use to provide updated statuses of 140 characters or less. This character limit was doubled to 280 in 2017.
The platform also allows users to post photos and videos to their following and engage with other users by commenting on and sharing tweets. Additionally, a direct message system is available for private communication between users.
While it began as a tool for users to express their voice, Twitter has transformed over the years to become a news source for many users, as well as a means to follow brands and people they are passionate about.
Twitter Market Overview
With a net worth of $35 billion, Twitter has grown exponentially since its initial launch, especially since it was only valued at $220,000 in 2007. Nevertheless, Twitter’s overall popularity has paled in comparison to other platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
As of January 2022, the platform was ranked 15th in terms of monthly active users; however, its market share expanded by 55 percent in 2022, compared to Facebook – the world’s most popular social media giant, which lost 12 percent of its market share that same year.
This spike can most likely be attributed to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s purchase of the social media platform for $44 billion in October 2022. Since his takeover, Musk has sought to re-elevate Twitter’s emphasis on free speech, unbanning users like former US President Donald Trump and even releasing a series of internal documents dubbed The Twitter Files.
While Musk’s guidance helped the platform reach an all-time high in user growth during his first week on the job, he has been accused of not focusing on Tesla enough, causing the electric vehicle company’s stock to plunge since his Twitter acquisition. In December, he announced that he would step down as head of Twitter once a replacement is found and instead run the platform’s software and servers team.
The future of Twitter’s leadership remains unclear. Still, one thing is certain: the platform will likely continue its success as one of the world’s most unique and influential social media outlets.
Popular Features of Twitter
Twitter’s distinct appeal comes as no surprise when considering the special features the platform implements. In addition to its 280-character limit, Twitter offers users a variety of ways to engage with others, such as photo sharing, hashtags, and user polls.
As a microblogging platform, Twitter allows users to send and receive short posts of 280 characters or less, including spaces. These statuses will then appear on the sender’s profile page and timeline, as well as on the home timeline of anyone who is following that specific user. Twitter users can also share – or retweet – other users’ posts to their own following.
The ability to share images and GIFs is an essential feature of any social media platform, even text-heavy Twitter. While this can be done on the website, Twitter enables its app users to edit their photos by cropping, applying filters, and adding stickers. Users can also tag people and places in their photos without affecting the tweet’s character count.
Created on Twitter, hashtags have revolutionized social media by allowing users to follow trending topics. By using the # symbol before a word or phrase without any spaces or punctuation, Twitter users can search topics to discover content and accounts based on their interests. Tweeted hashtags can also be clicked on to reveal other tweets with that same hashtag. While there is no limit on the number of hashtags that can be included in one tweet, Twitter does recommend using no more than two.
Twitter’s poll feature allows users to privately weigh in on questions from other users, boosting engagement and making it easy for others to share their opinions. Users can create polls with up to four response options and set a custom duration time between five minutes and seven days. This has become one of the most loved features of the platform, with Elon Musk even polling his user base about whether he should resign as Twitter CEO.
How to Make a Social Media App Like Twitter in 4 Steps
Now that you have a better understanding of Twitter and its most popular features, we’ll walk you through the appropriate steps to take when building a Twitter-like social media app of your own.
1. Determine Niche
As always, the first step when developing any application is to determine a niche for your product. For example, you could choose to target a specific age group like Gen Z or individuals who share certain political ideologies – the possibilities here are truly endless. Once you have determined your niche, you should then research your target audience and begin compiling a list of features that will be required based on that demographic.
2. Design App
The next step is to design a prototype of your app and its necessary features. Wireframing tools will be the best practice to ensure functionality and visual understanding. You should also pay close attention to its user interface, which includes all your app’s interactive visual elements and navigational features, as well as its overall user experience.
3. Develop App
Once you have your app’s structure mapped out, you can then start the process of actually developing and coding your Twitter-like app. This step will involve extensive knowledge, skills, and experience, so you may want to consider hiring an expert development agency to assist you along the way. However, before hiring an agency, you should first research their portfolio to ensure they are the best fit for your project and also confirm that they offer post-release support options.
4. Deliver App
Now it’s time to deliver your app to app stores, but your work here is far from done. You will need to monitor your app for any bugs and errors, gather user feedback and make any necessary improvements. This step will continue for as long as your social media platform is available in app stores.
Marketing Your Social Media App
After releasing your app to the public, you will then need to start exploring ways to market your app. This is a crucial component of the development process, as it helps secure a monetizable user base. While there are many options when it comes to marketing a Twitter-like platform, we will discuss the top three strategies: App Store Optimization, search ads, and social media promotion.
App Store Optimization
Much like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for websites, App Store Optimization (ASO) consists of tailoring your social media app’s listing page to include relevant search terms in order to make your app discoverable to the right users.
Because app stores have ranking factors, such as app name, keyword usage, number of installs, and reviews and ratings, properly optimizing your app store page will substantially improve your visibility and user appeal, while also boosting your download rates.
Pay-per-click ads are another common marketing strategy for social media apps like Twitter. These ads are placed within app stores and appear to users with certain interests that are similar or relevant to your platform. While it can be difficult to convert these users to customers, PPC ads are still a great way to ensure that your app is discovered by a wider audience.
You can also utilize other social media platforms to advertise your own app. This can be done organically or by paying platforms like Facebook and Instagram to share your content with a specific audience on their existing user bases. Ultimately, social media marketing will help you build relationships and nurture connections with your users, while providing a means of targeting your ideal customers.
Monetizing Your Social Media App
Once a solid marketing plan has been implemented, you can now focus on leveraging your social media app’s user base to generate income. This can be done in various ways, including through sponsored posts, sales commissions, and account upgrades. However, it’s important to note that the most effective strategy will depend on your target audience and your app’s overall model.
If you understand the interests and behaviors of your user base, then sponsored posts are a highly effective option for your social media app to earn revenue. This type of monetization strategy allows businesses, brands, and individuals to post ads on your platform and pay you a fee each time the ads are clicked.
Used by e-commerce companies like eBay, the sales commission model involves taking a cut of each sale made on your platform. This can be implemented through a creator partner program, in-app store, or referral link system; however, if going this route, you will need to remember to outline any product commissions in your terms and conditions to prevent potential legal issues down the road.
Your social media platform could also offer a tiered pricing structure based on the SaaS business model. Users can open a free account with limited features but have the option to unlock more advanced functionality for a monthly subscription fee. Twitter, for example, recently began allowing any user to purchase its legacy blue checkmark, which was previously designated for verified celebrities, for $8 per month on the web or $11 per month on iOS.
When developing a social media app like Twitter, it’s crucial to consider various legalities to avoid content copyright and safeguarding issues. You should also consult with legal professionals prior to launching your app to ensure all legal components have been thoroughly covered.
Per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), you are required to have a mechanism in place to report any copyright infringements since your social media app allows users to create and post content. Failure to comply with this can result in various penalties, including jail time and fines totaling more than $500,000. For more information about the DMCA and how to protect yourself, check out this Idea Maker guide.
User Safeguarding Policy
A safeguarding policy is another aspect of social media apps that should be carefully considered, as it will ensure that your users are protected from harmful content. This policy should include age restrictions so children can’t access your platform, as well as guidelines for your app’s young users. For this, it’s best to consult a professional for legal advice.
Social Media App Development Cost
The cost of developing a social media app like Twitter will vary depending on several factors, including its features and functionality, custom code requirements, development timeframe, platform support, and scalability.
Idea Maker’s Experience In Social Media App Development
Founded in 2016, Idea Maker has extensive experience in mobile app development, including the creation of two custom networking platforms: I Am Available and Quick Friends. If you’d like to discuss our services and how we can help you develop a social media app of your own, schedule a free consultation today and take the first step in bringing your dream to life.