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MARKETING YOUR APP · HUGH KIMURA · FEBRUARY 2014

How To Market Your App With Social Media

This post will show you the correct way to market your app on social media. Also learn the common mistakes that most developers make.

Title: How To Market Your App On Social Media

There is a lot of debate among app developers when it comes to using social media to promote a mobile app. Some say that it is a great way to promote an app for free. Others say that social media is a gigantic waste of time.

Who is right? The effectiveness of social media will certainly vary from app to app, but since it doesn't cost anything except a little time, any serious app developer should give it a try. Here are a few tips on what to do and what to avoid.

Do

Before we get started, you may be wondering which social media channels are worth your time. In general, you should be on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Business related apps should be on LinkedIn too.

Everything else is optional and will depend on the type of app you have. You can experiment, as time permits. You will usually find that if you post consistently to these sites, they will often become one of your top 5 sources of traffic to your website.

If you think that you don't have time to post to all of these accounts, that is simply not true. Use a tool like Hootsuite and you can manage up to 5 social media accounts for free. This will allow you to login and schedule your updates from one central website.

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The best part is that you can also schedule your updates for free too. So sit down for an hour at the beginning of the week and schedule at least 1 post per day for the coming week. If you have more time, 3 posts per day is ideal, but it will take much more time. We use Hootsuite and we really like it.

Post Interesting Content

The bottom line is that you want to provide value to anyone who follows your social media channels. What your audience finds valuable will depend on the type of app you have.

For example, if you have a game, your audience might be interested in: new features that you added, game related contests and strategies that players are using to pass certain levels.

If you have a productivity app, your followers would be interested in things like: how to use your app more effectively, productivity hacks and other tools besides your app that might make your users more productive.

Here are some other ideas for things that you can post to your social media accounts. This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully it gives you a few ideas.

  • Relevant news articles

  • Cartoons, pictures or art that is based on or related to your app

  • Cool videos

  • Highlight users who are doing interesting things with your app

  • What's so great about your last update?

  • Famous quotes

  • Technical tutorials

  • Little known features of your app

  • Hold a contest

  • Interact: congratulate users, offer help, etc.

  • Discuss controversial topics in your industry

  • Offer discounts

  • Get feedback: What do they think of certain features of your app?

The best way to keep an eye out for content that your audience would find interesting is to follow websites that continually have good content with a RSS reader like Feedly or Digg Reader.

Find Other Apps To Cross Promote With

Also keep an eye out for other cool apps that could complement your app, but are not your direct competition. One example might be if you have an app that helps runners track their workout, you might talk about a healthy food app that you really like.

This will help your audience out and open the door for the other app to help promote your app also. Don't demand that they help you though. Talk about their app because you genuinely like it, not because you want them to help you promote your app.

Share their best posts and be sure to tell your audience where the post came from. For example, if you are Twitter, be sure to add in: "via @TheOtherApp" so that you pop up on their radar.

Find Related Groups

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Look for groups on Facebook and Google+ that are related to your target audience. Provide similar information that you post to your social media accounts.

Don't only promote your app either. Share anything that might be interesting to that group.

Uncover Hashtags

Hashtags can have varying degrees of effectiveness. But if you find a good one, it can be an easy way to laser target your audience.

The reason is that people who are interested in a particular topic will watch these hashtags and can find your content regardless if they are following you or not.

It can take some time to find these hashtags. Use sites like Hashtagify.me or Hashtags.org are good ways to uncover good hashtags to target. Also be sure to double check these hashtags on the different social media networks because they could mean something different than what you think.

Don't

By far, the biggest mistake that we see app developers making is that they promote their app to other app developers. Like we mentioned above, you need to get your app in front of the people who are actually going to use it.

So marketing your app to other developers makes no sense. The only time that you might want to post your app in a developer group is if you want to get feedback on things like your design, screenshots, icon, etc. Posting "Hey, check our our new app!" is just a waste of everyone's time.

Along the same lines, you should keep the posts on your blog related to your target audience. Writing about how much money you made with your app is interesting to other developers, but might turn off your potential users. Even if you haven't made much, nobody wants to hear you brag about how much of their money you have.

Another common mistake is to keep blasting out different versions of "Check out our app, it's awesome!" Be creative and use the ideas in the previous section to vary your content.

Finally, do not purchase followers. Google search and social media sites will eventually figure out that you purchased followers and it will end up doing more harm than good. It is always funny to see an account that has 500 followers one day and 10,000 followers a couple of days later because it is so obvious.

Examples

Now let's look at three examples of apps that are doing a great job when it comes to social media. We will show you apps from different categories so you can compare what they have in common and what is specific to their app. There is only a brief summary of each app's social media, it is your job to do some deeper research and find out what might work for you.

Instagram On Facebook

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Instagram is currently the most valuable app on our iOS App Leaderboard. When we look at their Facebook Page, we find that they primarily share photos/videos from their app, as well as news stores about people who are using their app. Also notice how they have custom "Help" and "Blog" tabs on their page.

Runkeeper On Twitter

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Runkeeper tweets health tips for runners and encourages their users to share stories of their runs. If you have a health related app, you should check out their Twitter account and see what they are doing.

Spotify On Google+

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Last, but not least, is Spotify on Google+. They do a great job of sharing new music, holding contests and showing users how to get the most out of their app.

Conclusion

Be sure to follow other apps that are doing a good job with their social media. If there is something that they are doing that you like, figure out how you can adapt it to your app.

Do not expect instant success. Building an audience will take time and effort. However, once you have established that you can provide value, they will be much more likely to continue to follow you and download your apps.

Bonus Tip

Here is one more simple tip that you can use to get more relevant followers on Twitter. It's generally known as the "follow back" method.

Go to the Twitter account of one of your competitors or an account that has a similar audience to yours. Then just follow a few of the people who follow that account. Do your best to make sure that they are not spam accounts and have a good following so whatever they share will go out to the largest audience possible.

About 20% to 30% of the people you follow will follow you back. If you are putting out quality content, those followers will stay and you will continue to build your audience. You can then decide if you want to unfollow these people or keep following them.

Do not get too crazy with this technique or you can get banned by Twitter. Only follow a couple hundred per week at most. The added bonus is that you may find interesting people to follow. You can use a free service like Tweepi to make this process easier.

Did we miss anything? If there is a social media tip that you would like to share, let us know in the comments below.


Sensor Tower's platform is an enterprise-level offering. Interested in learning more?


Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: February 2014

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