We here at AppsAustin often recommend to our clients and partners the inclusion of social media in their mobile application marketing strategies. Connecting with new customers, and building a loyal base over time through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, is an excellent and inexpensive way to build interest not only in a specific product such as an app, but to shore up brand loyalty as well. After all, social media marketing is free of cost; your only investment would be time and creativity.
Though we used to recommend social media marketing as a secondary marketing approach, it's proving to be more important to your overall strategy than ever before.Apps Flyer did a survey of channels used to promote and advertise apps, and their First Quarter 2013 (Q1 2013) findings were recently published online. Among their results was this eye-opener:
Social app marketing, which includes app marketing on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, users inviting their friends and app discovery based on social elements, was the top app marketing channel when considering all three criteria – user quality, conversion rates and volume.
In plain English, they found social media marketing to be number one across the board in all the criteria they measured. That's big news. On the heels of this information, we decided to do some research and find out why social media is starting to trump many other forms of marketing. The major reasons why social media marketing appeals to both advertisers and consumers alike are listed below.
A Great Match. The growth of both the number of mobile devices in use and social media have proved to be mutually beneficial. A recent study in App Development News stated, “Mobile devices and mobile apps are the driving force behind the growth of social media in the US.” They go on to say that, as more people use smartphones and tablets, they're also the devices of choice they use to check their social media accounts. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize great marketing potential there—and the numbers are just gonna grow from here.
A Level Playing Field. As Mobile Advertising Hub points out in a recent article, it wasn't so long ago that companies with deeper pockets did better with app marketing because they could afford high-dollar mobile advertising campaigns. This left many smaller app developers in their wake. With the increasing popularity of social media, the big boys are finding themselves with more competition; that's great news for smaller developers. It doesn't necessarily give them the upper hand per se; after all, the big guys can use social media, too—but the so-called “smaller” players can now impress and attract customers just as easily as the huge companies can.
Of Higher Importance. We touched on this earlier, and it bears repeating. Social media used to be considered the “little brother” to more aggressive and—at least, for the time—more productive mobile advertising campaigns. The study we quoted earlier shows social media is trending upward in importance—and using it as a marketing tool can play a critical role in an app's success. Marketers who ignore this trend could very well regret it in the long run.
Separating the Wheat from the Chaff. Infusing social media into your marketing plan levels the playing field in more than one way. In the world of mobile apps—as it is anywhere else in the world—there are gonna be folks who don't have the best of intentions in mind; those of “questionable scruples,” as it were. Social media helps to sort these folks out pretty quickly, because a) they don't usually take the time to set up and maintain social media marketing, and b) social media users tend to call out and eliminate charlatans pretty quickly.
The Personal Connection. Advertising and marketing goes all the way back to the ancient Romans—and probably further back than that. As a result, the concepts are practically coded into our human DNA by this point. To be blunt, people are are savvy to the advertising game, and they know when they're being hustled in an impersonal manner. In contrast, social media allows you to forge a personal connection with your customers that most other marketing strategies just can't offer. When potential customers know they're being listened to, and are part of the communication process—as opposed to just being lectured to—they're far more likely to listen to what you have to say—and sell.
The NEW Connection. The goal of successful marketing—whether you're new to the game or you've been at it for years—is to establish and retain a loyal customer base. Business owners just starting out often have to do this from scratch, and veterans strive to replace customers they've lost due to naturally-occurring attrition. To build and grow this base means you need to attract new ones as often as you can. Social media—more than many other marketing type—allows you to target, retain and stay in touch with these valuable customers.
Brand Loyalty. Social media marketing has a “long run” advantage in many cases. Let's say, for example, your company has a Facebook account. Over time, provided you play your cards right, you'll build the loyal customer base we mentioned earlier. When you keep your account content current and fresh, you'll build customer goodwill that reflects on your company as a whole. This is called “branding,” and it has a great long-term effect: your customers, having grown to trust your company name and brand, will automatically apply that goodwill to the new products you introduce. Using your social media accounts is an ideal way to keep your branding relevant and fresh in the minds of your customers.
After extolling the virtues of social media marketing for apps, we'd like to leave you with one parting thought. As fantastic and advantageous as it is, do not use it as your only type of marketing! Each app is different, and each marketing strategy should be, too. Test the waters and try out other methods of advertising whenever you release a new product. No one type is gonna be perfect in every single case, and that's why you shouldn't put all your marketing eggs in one basket. By all means, do use social media—but don't limit yourself to it.
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