For brands looking to make a name for themselves out on the World Wide Web, social media is a godsend of sorts. Seriously, in the relatively brief history of digital marketing, never before has there been a more direct, intimate and effective means of connecting companies with the various audiences they soon hope to convert into loyal, long-time "brand fans."
But that doesn't mean, however, that each and every company that takes to social media sees booming success. Truth be told, for those that don't know what they're doing, the proverbial crickets are often all that's heard once a Facebook post, series of tweets or Instagram image is put on display for all to see.
Having consulted with a wide variety of clients from a host of different industries, I'm rarely surprised when a law firm, dental professional or brick-and-mortar business reaches out for help in the ways of being socially savvy. That said, there's one industry whose routine lack of social mastery very much has my jaw hitting the floor - mobile apps.
Apps are exciting, tech-driven and absolute magnets for buyers with a natural love of social media, and as such, you'd think the people creating them would follow suit. Whatever the case, if you're on the verge of releasing a new app or are looking to promote one, social media can lend a helping hand. Here are some key app promotion tips for social that will help.
First Thing's First - App Store Optimization
Yes, social media is key, but before getting too carried away with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, it's vitally important that you give the proper time and attention to your app's virtual storefront - the app store.
Whether you're featured on Apple's App Store, Google Play or both, if social media is going to eventually convert audiences into paying customers, your app store first needs to be properly optimized.
Each of the following elements should be taken into consideration to make this happen:
- Proper Keyword Research
- Compelling App Title
- Descriptive Headlines and Copy
- Experience-Driven Screenshots
- Engaging Video Snippets
It's enough to make your head spin, right? Relax - a simple Google search will have you well on your way to app store optimization. From there, it's time for social media to work its magic.
1. Don't Limit Yourself to Facebook
Based on what I've both seen and experienced, when app marketers finally decide to take the social plunge, they're mostly focused on one network, and one network alone - Facebook.
With nearly 15% of the world's population active on Facebook, this approach makes sense, however the more "lines" (social channels) you're able to cast, the greater the likelihood of a "catch" (customer acquisition) being made. So, employ the powers of Facebook, but using cross-promotional tools like If This Then That to begin effectively building a presence on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, too.
Ultimately, what's most important is that you go where your ideal buyers are spending the bulk of their social time.
Not entirely sure where that is? No worries - branch out, see what's drawing attention and adjust your social efforts accordingly.
2. Get Influencers to Do Some of the Heavy Lifting
Of the four items presented on this list, this one might take the cake as the most important. Think about it for a second - when you're looking for a reliable plumber, top-notch restaurant or skilled medical professional, you're first going to ask close friends and family for recommendations. You trust them and because of this, their suggestions will carry a great deal of weight.
Similarly, when using social media to promote your app, think of who your ideal buyer considers an expert, authoritative source or influencer. Using all-inclusive platforms like Twitter and Instagram, work to build rapport with them, then, ask for a preview, highlight or shoutout involving your new app.
Coming from you, a social-centric marketing message is likely to seem heavily one-sided. Coming from a respected third-party, however, it's guaranteed to have people paying attention, just as they would if their friends or family members were the ones providing the reference.
3. Pay for a Friendly Bump In Promotional Power
Organic growth is gold, but there's nothing wrong with paid promotion either. Don't get me wrong, in no way, shape or form am I suggesting that you should be buying likes or followers - this is cheap, dirty and one of the best ways to lose the trust of an early-bird audience. Paid social is an entirely different ballgame, though - and, importantly, it's 100% ethical.
You've seen those brand-driven posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that say "sponsored" on them, right? These are posts that companies have paid to have promoted to a larger, highly targeted base of users.
Armed with a sound understanding of who'll be using your app, there's no better way to immediately build interest than through paid social. It's also relatively inexpensive.
If you haven't began experimenting with this, now is the time to consider it.
4. Become an Active Member of Fan-Driven Communities
We haven't spoken much about LinkedIn, but its base of over two million communities paints an even larger picture of what social media is able to do for app promotion - connect app marketers with niche-interest groups.
Twitter chats, Pinterest boards, Google Plus communities and Facebook groups are all fair game, and should be used by you and your marketing team to get people talking about your latest creation. The key to this type of work is to be genuine with your interaction. Anything that's overly promotional may very well do more harm than good.
Social media isn't a one-stop, quick fix for app marketers. In fact, when done the right way, it requires substantial effort, strategy and dedication. That said, it can quickly become an app's biggest promotional asset, too.
Don't believe me? Give each of the above a try, and you'll soon see what I'm talking about.