App marketing is such a great field to be in, these days. There’s so much data to work with and so many ways to reach and interact with your users, it would be crazy not to leverage it as much as possible.
There are millions of ways and channels to grow your user base, but probably the most important way is through your current user base. They know the brand, they know the product, they can be objective and authentic when talking about it and they’re a lot more credible than you as a brand or as an employee will ever be. To add to that, in the era of social media, word of mouth no longer influences one user’s small little world, its impact can make or break a brand. Your users are your gold marketing channel and every day that you neglect that is another day when dust settles on the ingots.
I hope that last phrase was dramatic enough to get your attention.
Now let’s move to the how of things. How do we get our users to promote and talk about how much they love us?
There are a few ways which we’ll explore in this piece but it’s important to note that if the product doesn’t add value and isn’t fundamentally good, these attempts will be futile. It has to make users happy, because a marketer can only make them talk about how happy they are.
Throughout this post we’ll discuss:
- Communities in social media groups
- Engagement through social media polls
- Reach through owned social media pages
- Shares from in-app to social media
1. Communities in social media groups
Social media groups have been here for a while and the trend has been through highs and lows. It was a great hype at some point but brands keep ruining authenticity and when us marketers realize how valuable groups were, we ruined it. Now communities got stronger and stricter so really valuable groups don’t allow for commercial content anymore. Those are the groups that succeed at building and sustaining an engaged community.
As an app marketer, there are a few ways for you to explore those groups without ruining them or getting banned.
A. Community Building
The first, most valuable and most time consuming is building a community. Bringing users together is the dream for any marketer but most of us fail. In order to build a community from your app, you need strike the feeling in each user that he is part of something. It has to be shown in the app, in the communication, in any way possible.
For example, community stats help you achieve that goal quite easily. Fitness apps use community stats to encourage you with that message: “you’ve reached more steps than 80% or our users today”. Grammarly does the same and even some games. These details nourish the feeling of being part of something.
Only after you’ve managed to preserve this feeling, can you build a successful social media group. It can’t really be out of nowhere and you can’t expect it to do wonders - it won’t by itself build a community. It’s a way for the existing community to express itself, not a stand alone tactic that will provide the community feeling.
If you’ve successfully built that feeling, all you have to do is incentivise users to join the group. Promise them useful content, tips and tricks in using your app, news on releases, exclusive content and maybe some gamification along the way.
- At first, a community manager will have to entertain the group. Provide the content, stimulate people to engage, keep the feed rolling.
- After a while, the group should become self-sustainable. The goal is to get to a point where the content is almost entirely user generated.
- One note though is to remember the very essence of social media groups: it’s about the people, the members, the content, not the brand. It will be tempting to use it as another “push” channel. Any commercial post that in no way reflects what your users want to know and see, but what you want them to know and see, will ruin their desire to participate and be part of that group.
B. Getting Involved in Current Communities
There are numerous social media groups out there that already have the high engagement, the relevant members and the great content. You can easily become part of that community and become visible but again, beware of the dangers of commercial content. As soon as you start posting: download our app know, you’re exposed and immediately unliked.
Be authentic, provide valuable content and only promote your app in the context of added value. Promote owned content if you genuinely believe that it will help the community you’re part of.
2. Engagement through social media polls
Essentially all important social media networks now provide an easy way to organize polls. They’re a great way to receive feedback and to engage the audience.
Facebook has polls as a post type option. You can ask anything that you think your audience would respond to:
Twitter has the same option, very similar to facebook:
Instagram has the poll options in stories as well:
And of course many other networks. The way you phrase it and the success of your poll is of course dependent on the channel you use. However, as always, the beauty of social media is that you can test & learn. See what works best, try out some topics and understand what your audience reacts to end of day.
Keep in mind that polls are popular because they allow people to state their mind, share their thoughts and join the conversation. An extra bonus is that they allow a way for people to understand where their views stand in the world - are they with the majority?
3. Reach through owned social media pages
Besides social media groups and polls there are obviously your owned social media pages. App marketers face a difficult challenge here, a dilemma on how much the content should be focused on current users versus making it about prospect users.
This is a difficult debate. As a marketer, we tend to want to reach more, bring on more users, attract the new and treat our social media channels as a way to reach new users. But I personally think it’s a slippery slope. It is vital for your users to feel included, to understand that they’re more important than your prospects.
I believe that it’s not at all dangerous to make your social channels focused on your community. The feeling that prospects won’t see the value and won’t understand the inside jokes is possibly a false problem. Because people want to feel included. They FOMO factor kicks in when you share inside jokes that they don’t get. Prospects will want to be part of that so don’t be scared to make it seem like you don’t talk directly to them. Another point to that is that you can talk about your inside community to attract new users. Talk about how awesome they are and what they do in the app - it’s basically hitting two birds with one stone: make the community feel included and make prospects want to be part of it.
Here’s a good example from Fitbit:
As you can notice, they seem to talk directly to their community. It’s clear that it’s about their users and what they’ll do on the 4th of July. However, if you don’t have a Fitbit you don’t automatically scroll forward because you don’t feel excluded. You almost want to be part of that, you want to join in, you want to crush your step goal like everyone else.
4. Shares from in-app to social media
This tactic is so commonly known that it’s a surprise to use an app nowadays that won’t serve a popup with “Share this now”. It’s also why it’s getting more and more complicated for apps to actually get results from this tactic. It’s becoming more difficult to get people to share.
Back in the days, when apps were still new and sharing from them was still cool, serving a popup would be enough. Any action from the app was “shareable”. Not anymore though. You have to make it shareable.
The basic nature of social media lies in the need for people to share their good news. Their achievements, their likes or anything that ultimately says something good about their own self. Even sharing articles comes from the need to show that you read something great, you found something great and therefore, you are great. Starting from that fact, shares from within the app have to state an achievement, a finding, something special. Again, fitness apps do it right, because it’s easy there. The user completed a great amount of steps, if he/she is proud of that number, they’ll share it for sure.
Games again have that possibility, but they have to face the fear of it being a guilty-pleasure game. If I’m playing a dumb relaxing game, I’m definitely proud when I pass a difficult level, but I will definitely not share it publicly. I won’t share it with the people on the subway for that matter, trying my best to hide my screen, so social media wouldn’t even cross my mind.
It’s very important the momentum of the “share now” popup. Think well and hard what is considered shareable by your users because you can only serve it a couple of times. I’ve started this article by saying how lucky app marketers are for the amount of data that they have access to. So if you track screenshots, that would make for an amazing insight. Users take screenshots of what they want to share - with friends in private or on social networks - it’d be a great starting point.
To wrap it up, the best way to turn app users into greatest advocates on social media is to use the community key. It’s the hardest but the most rewarding way to gain visibility and ultimately, success.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments.
About the Author:
Miruna Dragomir, Marketing Manager @Planable. Social media fanatic, tech geek & a sucker for learning. Past experience? Social Media Comms Manager @Oracle & Marketing Coordinator @Uber