Long days. Even longer nights are behind you. You and your development partners have created the app of your dreams and one that you hope will be a smash hit on Google Play and the Apple App store.
You’ve done your homework. You’ve studied your target audience. You’ve created what you feel is the ultimate onboarding experience. You’ve beta tested and feel your app is finally ready to launch. What next? Your work is not done yet! Now for the fun part.
You want to create a demand for your app and drive people to download. Most app developers and your typical “appreneur” think that mobile advertising such as in-app ads are the way to go in order to build that audience. But, there are other ways to drive app demand.
Cut through all the noise on the app stores by utilizing social media, which are for the most part free and open up the playing field to everyone, even those with minimal budgets and resources.
Below, I discuss two things I recommend in preparation for your social media push to maximize your mobile app marketing.
Don’t forget content
In preparing your Social Media campaign to bring visibility to your app, first you must create good content. And I’m talking a lot of it!
Develop content that will keep your target audience engaged. If you are promoting your cooking app, then perhaps you can write posts on some of the best recipes out of Europe, tips by the best chefs, an announcement of a contest inviting the best organic pizza recipes.
Time to get creative!
You might create a cool video or videos like Evernote did. This very popular note-taking app created a bunch of videos that shows how Evernote can bring value into the lives of users in a slew of real life situations. The videos make you want to download the app and try it for yourself.
Make one that describes your app. Make it funny, quirky. The idea is to get people excited about your app without pushing it so hard, and then with the right call to action, get them to download. Promote this video content via the most popular channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Google plus.
Make your video viral by tying it into a video that touches the masses. Take a video like Pharrell Williams’ Happy which has over 310M views . Perhaps you can make a Parody of it and tie it into your app. Or a video like Gangnam Style. This video for example has over 2B views.
The core of making a video go viral is to keep it simple, and to have people say WOW and inspire them to just imagine, share with their contacts, who’ll share with their contacts and so on and so on. This will hopefully lead the masses to download your app. The same goes for a great blog post.
Get influencers to spread the word
Going further on developing content, People love to hear about apps from friends and family. However, getting a review of your app on a prominent YouTube channel like the Daily App Show or on top app review sites will also bring your app huge visibility. This a valuable piece of content.
Going back to Evernote, see here how an influencer in Hollywood uses the app to collaborate when producing films. Don’t you think someone like this can heighten the exposure of your app? After all, it’s Hollywood!
A video of two Research Triangle, North Carolina school administrators letting students know class was canceled due to a snowstorm, first garnered 3 million views and it rose steadily. It was also picked up by Gawker as well as the Washington post.
The video mentioned Evernote. It was catchy and in context, done to the tune of “Ice Ice Baby”. Check it out here.
Don’t just market on Facebook
Get started on the social channels by first setting up a profile and post statuses that are neutral and interesting, as well as connecting with key influencers in your app’s niche.
It might have taken some time with Facebook breaking the user barrier, but Google + is finally starting to come around. Being the brainchild of Google has its benefits. One of those as I’m sure you know is the built-in power of having your app come up in organic search results.
At first glance, utilizing hashtags on Google + is just like using them on Twitter or Instagram. You start off with a # and type in your one word hashtag. What sets Google + hashtag creation apart, is the ability to auto-create hashtags. Check out this post for an in-depth review of this vibrant feature specifically and Google + hashtag use in general.
Utilize Hashtags to optimize your SEO power, but don’t overdo it. Google doesn’t appreciate overstuffing keywords in content and the same goes for hashtags.
A great source for networking, Twitter allows you to reach influencers by mentioning them in your tweets. It does take some work and there is a limited number of characters in your messages, but if you have influencers retweeting you, it is a great driver for downloads.
A new feature released just last year allows you to use content marketing and “Twitter Cards” to boost visibility of your app, thereby increasing downloads. Here is a great post about it from Econsultancy I suggest you check out.
With hundreds of millions of users, Facebook is the perfect social media channel to promote content. I highly suggest setting up a Facebook page for your app. This gives you a presence in the social media world and is a great way to gain feedback about your app, gain credibility and create a buzz. The idea here is to post content that is related to your app, but not about the app itself.
Encourage users to share your content.
Your page might not have a lot of followers to start off, and that’s OK. Gain them by following others and having them follow you. Get in on the conversations that users are having with valuable information. They will respect and follow you.
Go visual with your marketing! This was a huge trend in 2013 with such sites as Pinterest and it is something that is sure to continue. There are over seventy five million active users on Instagram. Having a presence here is something you should look into and see what you can do to follow the success with your app (See Starbucks example below). Talk about the people who will use your app, show pictures and videos without talking about the product itself.
Here’s a great post on how to market using Instagram.
More social tips
1. Incentivize: Give your users a reason to share! See how Dropbox does it and has become a 4 Billion dollar company.
2. Using sharing within your app:. Give them lots of options to share! As the app Glmps shows below. People can share to many sites at once with just a single tap!
3. Show appreciation to your followers: This can be done by sharing their photos on your social media channels, embed them on your website, tweet their photos, mention them. Let them know!
Starbucks does this the best and is one of the top users of Instagram. With well over 2.5 Million followers on Instagram for example, I suggest you check out their profile here.
4. Schedule your posts: Utilize a social media tool such as Hootsuite to schedule your posts and measure engagement across the Social Media spectrum.
5. Use Hashtags: Be sure to use Hashtags to maximize your reach with your target audience. See here for a great post on how to use Hashtags in your posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Keeping users on the app highway
Bringing users back again and again is what the mission of your onboarding experience should be. You can compare the onboarding experience to an entry ramp on a highway for your first time users. Succeeding in this phase is imperative to having them come back. This is called user retention.
Downloads do not equal active users. It just means people downloaded your app because they took some interest in it. This final phase can spell glory or disaster for your app. Here is where you need to monitor the user experience and behavior, see where they spend the most time, see where they drop out, see where they engage by tapping, pinching and swiping. See what they like. What they don’t.
Optimizing the user experience
You can refine the user experience during the onboarding phase and thereafter by using a visual mobile analytics tool. This will explain the why behind your users’ actions. Such a tool goes above and beyond a traditional analytics tool and allows you to monitor user experience, analyze and optimize. This is a constant process and before you know it, it’ll be like a walk on the beach.
Author bio: Alon Even is VP Marketing at Appsee Mobile Analytics. His areas of expertise are online marketing, mobile analytics, and mobile UX. He is experienced with the app optimization process for delivering increased engagement, conversions and in-app monetization. You can connect with Alon on LinkedIn and on Twitter