Creating an App is one part of a battle, promoting it is another. Marketing an app is a multi-dimensional effort. You need to scour every avenue available and make use of every opportunity. As per a report on App discovery by Forester which we mentioned in our previous post, around 19% of app downloaders find the apps through social media. In this post we are going to focus on influencing these 19%.
The figure 19% may not seem much but considering the fact that there are more than a billion smartphone users, 19% of a billion is quite a large figure. Moreover, influencing the social media users also influence those they refer you apps to so its hitting two birds with one stone. And the best part is that making social media work for you is dirt cheap.
Why Social Media matters for app developers?
Facebook has a user base of more than 1.24 billion users. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other major social networks have user bases in the figures of hundred millions if not billions. Social media is the ultimate promotion field. It gives developers, especially new developers who are working in budget, promote their app to masses without any significant financial investment. If nurtured carefully social media can help app developers create a dedicated army of fans that will provide you a word-of-mouth promotion that can rival any paid advertising campaign.
Which Social Media Platforms to use?
Before we begin updating, tweeting, posting, and blogging, we have to first carefully plan out a social media strategy. Unlike common perception you don’t have to focus on all social media platforms at ones. Its best to build a community of dedicated followers on one social platform and then expand on to other platforms. The trick is choosing the right platform. The general consensus is that
- Technology firms starts with LinkedIn as it gives more genuine leads
- Consumer app firms and Game firms focus more on Facebook because it has more reach and is perfect for attracting general audience.
- Niche apps and publication apps focus more on twitter as it has higher percentage of genuine and dedicated followers.
- Every one who wish to improve their Google ranks work on their Google+ profiles as it gives them SEO benefits.
However general consensus is not a hard and fast rule. You can develop any profile as you like. We recommend that you focus mainly on one in the beginning but create a profile in all major platforms. Push major content in the main profile but also share some content in other profiles also. This will give you base to build networks later on or give you flexibility to switch your main social network. Also no matter what don’t neglect Google+ especially if you have a android app or a website, which you should have no matter what. Google+ profiles may not bring app downloads but they provide SEO benefits.
Promoting in social media has three aspects
- Designing and Development of a profile
- Building a fan following.
- Engaging the fan following consistently
We are going to discus how you can cover all the above aspects and create you social media marketing strategy.
How to design and develop your social profile?
Content is what will get you more visitors and it is content that is going to keep them with your company. Make no mistake textual content is important, but it’s the visual elements that makes your profile interesting. Everything ranging from what you share to how your profile look will make a difference. So the first thing that you need to do is to make a creative banner. Every social media platform stress on visual elements and a large and attractive banner is what sets your profile apart. In addition you can use the banners for a myriad of creative ways. Here are some examples for which you can use social media banners
- Promote a trend
- Promote a contest or discount
- Showcase new product or Feature
- Promote your social platforms
- Show what you do and what you do best
- Directly promote download of your app
To build a fan base the best way is to share content that you think would interest your potential customers. A major mistake new marketers make in this regard is that they start sharing everything they see. This is especially evident when 2 or 3 people are operating a single account. This practice may lead to decrease in user engagement.
A good way to share content is to actually create a persona for app. Decide on what you app would be like if it was a person. What type of content it would be interested in. Then find and create content based on that and share it with your followers. Maintain this persona throughout. there is no need to be rigid in your posting, you can be creative or funky as you like, but stick to the topic.
Each post that you create or share should contain images or videos if possible. In your social profile you can talk about the technology that you are using or about special features of the app, but the most interesting and often engaging discussions are mostly on latest news
Use social media channels to build a fan base
Before you start updating, tweeting and blogging, be sure to match your social media voice to your app’s personality. Before you can do that, you have to decide who your app is. If your app were a person, would it be like, sound like, act like? Once you start posting, use that voice consistently. For example, if your app or mobile game is edgy and irreverent, don’t hit your fans with formal business-speak.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, FourSquare and your website blog are great places to start sharing your content, but don’t stop there. The idea is to build a fan base by creating conversations and relationships. When someone comments on an update, photo or video, jump into the conversation. That’s what you’re there for.
Offer small incentives across your social media channels. Hold weekly giveaways for small prizes if fans can answer app-related questions. Each channel has its own terms of service regarding contests, so be sure you’re not violating them, but this is an effective way to draw attention and build loyalty.
Building Your Fan Following
Once you get started there is no stopping. Social media promotion is not a single day or a single week job. You have to be active in your profile every day. Reply on comments. share, engage and reengage in your profile consistency. Whenever someone comments on a post or a image be sure to reply back. Also the idea is not to share aggressively, i.e no need to share 10-20 posts every day, the idea is not to let your friends forget about your app. Always go for fresh content and complement it with creative graphics or design elements. Infographics and blogs are a great way to get started in your social profile.
How to Maintain User Engagement?
Once you have started on the App promotion road through social media, the biggest challenge is not to get more followers but to maintain the engagement level of already added users. Here are a few tricks that can help you maintain those engagement numbers.
Social Share buttons
Social Media integration should be a design element in your app itself. Make sure there are social share buttons in your app. Users should be able to able to share their achievements from the app itself or should be able to recommend the app to their social network friends.
New, creative, and consistent content
Your content is what attracted them to your social network page in the first place. Keep the page alive and lively. Maintain your consistency and creativity and most of the job is already done. Also as said earlier don’t drop down your own engagement. Reply to comments, ask for comments in each post, and encourage discussions.
Contests, offers and Rewards
Offer incentives to like your page or create contests to spice up your social network engagement. Reward you old followers with discounts or free feature unlocks. Offer small incentives across your social media channels. Hold weekly or monthly giveaways. If you have virtual currency or items in your app, you can give some to those who connect with your through social media. Its very common design feature nowadays especially in games; get 500 more coins for liking Facebook page, get 500 coins for visiting website, etc. The important thing is to give people an extra reason to connect with you.
Release App updates through Social Media
Social networks are the best place to release information about latest version or updates. You can give your followers a sneak-peak into latest features. Created a new video trailer, release it on social networks, created a new banner design, promote it on networks, made a new artwork for app release on the network.
Build a community
The main point behind social media is building a community. You need to give a personal feeling to your app and you can best achieve it by showcasing the human feeling behind the app. You get a fancy feedback letter, or you conducted a charity event, or you sponsored a sports team, or did any other shareable offline activity, share it in social networks. Encourage your users to create content for you, ask them of their experiences related to app, or any photo they wish to share etc. Building a community is what will influence your 53% app dicovery through word of mouth.
Ask for user feedback and possible new features
Stumped about what to add in your app, ask your users and followers through social media. Encourage discussions and ask for feedbacks to know more about your users requirements. This will help you in guiding the development path of your app.
These are some of the most powerful tricks to maintain user interest and build loyalty. However you have to make sure that you are not violating your social network’s term of service as each network have their own rules regarding contests.
Experiment with Facebook advertising for your community
Once you have set up a Facebook page for your app (or your app development company), you can experiment with Facebook advertising for as little as a few dollars a day. Facebook advertising works on a pay-per-click or pay-per-action model (where you only pay every time someone new “Likes” your Facebook page). The biggest thing to keep in mind with Facebook advertising is that you need to make sure to target your ads. For example, you can target your Facebook ads so that people only see your ad if one of their friends has already “Liked” your page, or by targeting people with specific interests (if you make an app that is a sci/fi or fantasy game, you can target fans of these genres who have expressed an interest in these topics as part of their Facebook profiles). Facebook advertising for mobile app developers doesn’t have to be expensive; if managed properly, you can achieve a cost per connection as low as $0.10 for many apps. Remember, the goal here isn’t to acquire a bigger Facebook audience just for the sake of being “famous.” The goal is to find people who are predisposed to engage with your app, and eventually to convert them to paying customers from your community.