Social media is a powerful way to increase awareness of and interest in your app. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and tactics like contests, giveaways and blog and publication outreach help you get your app out to people who otherwise wouldn’t know you exist. The key to social media marketing your app is determining who you’re trying to reach, what you want them to do for you, evaluating what’s working or not working and adjusting your approach. Get their attention, and make it super easy for them to download your app and share their thoughts with friends.
1. Use Twitter to Reach New Audiences
Twitter is an important platform for reaching new audiences. One quick tip is to look at your competition and see who’s following them. Safe bet they’re the people you want following you. Follow them, retweet them and interact. Get their attention. Make sure your Twitter bio has the info necessary for them to go download your app if they’re interested. Don’t make them work too hard trying to figure it out. Using social media tools like Social Oomph and HootSuite allows you to view analytics to measure your progress and adjust course. Analyze the metrics and see what’s causing spikes and dips. Do more of the things that are working and less of those that aren’t.
Consider quick giveaways as rewards for people who retweet or use certain hashtags that refer to your app. For example, offer a chance at winning an iPad Mini to everyone who retweets a certain message using the hashtag #MyApp.
2. Build Your App Community on Facebook
Facebook is a great social media platform for sharing content like videos, photos and links as well as keeping your fans up to speed on the latest and greatest improvements to your app. Go beyond just collecting “likes” and challenge app users to give you feedback and suggest improvements. Make them a part of your community and be a part of their communities. Address issues and share other types of information they may find useful or entertaining. Facebook is also ideal for contests, but since their terms of service require contests be run on third party apps, be sure you’re following the rules or your account could get suspended. More on contests below.
3. Make and Share App videos on YouTube
Produce cool, fun, shareable videos that will entertain your target audience and at the same time show them what your app does. Post the videos to YouTube and other video sharing sites. If you have the budget, invest in paid YouTube ads to drive traffic, but only do that after your app is available, otherwise you’ll get lots of video views and no downloads. Share the video across your social media channels and get everyone in your social and professional networks to share as well.
Optimize your videos and YouTube channel so that anyone interested in downloading the app knows exactly where to find it. Consider giveaways on YouTube as well, using the comments as a place for people to answer trivia questions or respond to challenges for chances to win.
4. Raise App Awareness with Contests
Contests are a great way to build awareness of and interest in your app, while building an audience. People love to win things and the lure of even small prizes is often enough to get them to interact with you, like, follow, download, evaluate and share. The simplest contest is a sweepstakes, where fans are just asked for their basic information to enter, and a winner is drawn randomly. More complex contests require fans to create and upload photos, videos or write essays. These types of contests result in fewer entries but often involve more dedicated, engaged fans.
To conform with the Facebook terms of service, you may consider a contest platform provider like Wildfire by Google that allows you to build Facebook-compliant contests, or you can work with a full service social media agency that can handle everything for you, from contest ideas, contest management and promotion, to prize suggestions and fulfillment.
5. Reach Influencers Through Blog and Publication Outreach
Getting bloggers, review sites and other media outlets to talk about your app with their readers is invaluable. Before your app is approved and available for download, put together a media list of the blogs, publications and review sites you’d most like to have write about you. Send them a pitch email briefly explaining what your app does, why it’s unique and basically, why their audiences should care. Always offer a free download for review, or offer early Test Flight access. You never want to make a writer work too hard to find anything, so be sure to share links to your video, any contests you’re running and most importantly, the app download page.
You won’t always get a response, so make sure you follow up about a week later to remind them and see if they need any additional information. Set up Google alerts so you’ll be notified when your app is mentioned. And, as tempting as it may be, don’t just copy and paste a press release. Writers are busy and get tons of submissions and suggestions for article topics and reviews, so personalize your pitches, try to stand out and be brief.
App marketing, like any kind of marketing, is about finding your target audience and connecting with them on a consistent basis so that when they're in the mood to download, there you are!