Think of the top three apps you use the most. How did you come across them? Was it through an advertisement? Perhaps from an email sent by the developer?
Chances are, you began using App #1 because all your friends or colleagues were using it. And the other two: App #2 – downloaded because it was suggested by an acquaintance or an opinion leader, on a platform such as Facebook, because of the awesome deals to be found on the app. App #3 – installed because your favorite big screen star recommended it on a social media site.
Think now about the last time an ad on the TV or on the sidebar of a webpage induced you to download an app – unable to recollect when that happened? That’s probably because promotions have been statistically shown only to inform people about a product. Promotions do not always trigger purchases, especially when it comes to mobile apps. However, in today’s “socially connected” world, people tend to buy or download apps that those in their circle of influence use. This is what marketers call Influencer Marketing.
As a brand manager, my focus is on building a brand’s integrity and ensuring that its sales continue over the longest possible tenure. So, I’ve seen the concept of influencer marketing being used in the past. However, its prominence in current times is inescapable. Anyone, wanting to stay on the market must ensure that he/she is up to date with social influencers.
How exactly does Influencer marketing benefit your app?
The basis of social influencer marketing is that it has certain qualities that render it exponentially more trustworthy to a potential customer than any form of traditional advertising. Here are its key differentiating factors:
- Cost: Unlike traditional forms of marketing where the company pays a salesperson, celebrity or any person to intentionally recommend or promote their purchase, influencer marketing does not indulge in payment of any kind. The only exchange between the company and the ‘influencer’ is that of the usage of the product or in this case, the mobile app and the conveyance of interesting or pre-release information to the influencer.
This of course means that on the whole, a marketer will spend only a minute fraction on influencers compared to what would be spent on traditional promotional activities.
- Credibility: Everyone knows that ads are not always trustworthy, and also that celebrities are paid to promote brands. So, when someone in their social sphere who’s a known expert in the concerned area recommends an app, they are much more open to give it a try.
For Example: Say you’re part of a community or group on Facebook about great vacation destinations. If the admin happens to suggest a particular app on travel and gives a couple of great personal experiences with the app, its more than likely that you and most others in the group get clicking to download the app.
- Reach: Although traditional means of advertising appears to be far flung, influencer marketing is more specific and has a ripple effect on its audiences. In fact using social influencers can even cross countries and language barriers, provided that your app is capable of handling different languages and time zones.
Example: You hear about a great app on a social media site, you download and are impressed by the results. You then recommend it to your personal circle of friends and so on. Thus, the reach is indeed far flung, and its impact/influence does not diminish with each share. The more people talk about the app, the more its popularity and credibility increases.
Using Social Influencer marketing for your mobile app
Getting influencers to promote your app is not as easy as it sounds. Firstly, because he/she has to begin using your app and in the process be quite please with its utility and design. Probably you can ask your app makers to embed the first feedback provided by him and re release a version.
If your app is able to do this, then the rest is easier. Bear in mind that the influencer will be willing to promote the app, only if it’s relevant to his or her group of influence. On the other hand, persuading a social influencer of an app that’s not relevant to his group, can also make your efforts less effective.
In order to use social influencers, it’s of utmost importance that you find the right influencers for your app. You could use a number of strategies to do this, however here are a few tried and tested steps in the right direction:
- Do a search on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram etc, for groups or common interest communities. The success of this endeavor however lies in how effectively you pinpoint one or more relevant categories that your app falls into. Pick the right keywords and then hit search.
The reason why you start on social media platforms is because studies have shown that users tend to spend more time on social media sites than on regular webpages.
- Which social media site do you start with is also a tricky proposition. One way is to choose according to the diagram shown below. i.e., start with looking for influencers on youtube, then google+ and then Facebook and so on. The reason being, you’re likely to get the most clicks/visitors through these sites.
You’ll also ultimately find that one or two platforms are home to the largest and most active influencers (who are relevant specifically to you). So, pick one platform to begin with and see how it goes.
- Alternatively, use online tools such as BuzzSumo, Klear, Klout etc., to find influencers or opinion leaders or experts in your area. i.e. related to the category that you would classify your app in. These tools make it much easier to pinpoint where influencers are most active and what the most talked about topics are. That way, you can begin marketing to your potential influencer at the perfect time.
- As you begin streamlining your list of influencers, consider tangible aspects such as the number of followers he has, the level of activity, how long he’s been active, has the influencer promoted any product or service in the past? If so, how were the responses to his review/recommendations?
Using Social Influencers is a necessity in today’s cut-throat environment. Great app development strategies can give you a head start however cannot make your app a hit. The fact that over half of all launched mobile apps are now dead signifies the great need for apps with strong marketing back-up. With scores of apps to compete with your app, however good, needs to be marketed properly. Utilize the right strategies, identify the right influencers and only use the most effective platforms. Instead of trying to use all social media platforms, use only the ones where your target audience has a tendency to ‘hang-out’. Improved Spending, upping your credibility and expanding your reach is well worth the efforts you spend in identifying potential customers in your niche.
On the whole, finding, connecting with and engaging an influencer is not an easy task. But it can be made a lot easier, if you are clear about your app, its category and sub-categories and what you are capable of offering to your potential customers, then, you’re well on your way to success in mobile app marketing.