Marketing your app can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. By using social media and some clever strategies you can have your users to market your app for you. And the best part about it is, it’s free!

Here are 4 strategies used by top app publishers to enable and encourage users to market apps.

 

1. Reward users for sharing on social media

An extremely effective way to get people to share is to provide them with an incentive.

One of the most basic examples is to reward them with some free in-app content if they share something about your app on social media. For example, unlock a new feature by tweeting about the app.

The top apps in the App Stores use some slightly more sophisticated methods. Trivia Crack and Candy Crush both use a similar technique to encourage social sharing. When users run out of lives they are given a choice to either wait for a set period of time before they can play again, or they can ask friends via social media for more lives. Nobody wants to wait for things any more, so of course people will ask friends on Facebook to throw them a couple of lives!

This free advertising is extremely effective because it does two things. It either helps to get existing users re-engaged with the app, or if the friend doesn’t have the app it encourages them to download it and see what it’s about.

Trivia Crack Game Over
Game Over Screen from Trivia Crack

 

2. Give them something to brag about

People love to show off their achievements and compete with friends. Give them the option to do this from your app by implementing a high score and/or achievements system. There is a good chance you’ve already done this, so why not add a ‘share’ button that allows them to easily post their new achievement to Facebook, Twitter etc.

You can customise what appears on the post and include a link to the app store or to the app’s landing page. It’s a simple way to drive interest and awareness for your app and again, it’s completely free.

 

3. Create something unique and funny that people can’t resist sharing

A fun strategy that is becoming increasingly common among the top apps is to allow users to post a photo or video of an event in the app to social media. For games, this is usually a photo or video of something entertaining within the game.

A good example of this technique in action is Crossy Road. Whenever the character dies, a photo is taken and the user is able to easily share it via their social media account. The game’s unique and interesting graphics help because they allow for eye-catching images that will attract attention and curiosity.

Here is an example of Crossy Road’s game over screen with the photo ready to be shared.

Crossy Road Game Over
Crossy Road game over screen with a photo ready to be shared.

 

4. Allow users to share exclusive, unlockable content

This one is for apps with unlockable content, and it’s about marketing the in-app purchases instead of the app itself. The technique is to allow users who have not purchased the content to see it being used by others, but not allow them to use it themselves unless they purchase it.

Let’s look at an example.

Viber lets you purchase and send stickers to friends. If you purchase stickers you can send those to friends, but if they want to send them they have to purchase the stickers for themselves. It’s an excellent way to drive interest in your product. Friends can see what you’ve purchased, which creates desirability for that item, but they can’t use it unless they also purchase it. Nobody wants to feel like they are missing out. If their friends are all sending cool new stickers, there is a good chance that they will want to do the same.

While the other techniques rely on social media, this is a way to market your in-app content without relying on social media channels.

 

Summary

Social recommendations are one of the best ways to drive downloads and engagement. These techniques are all powerful ways to drive installs for your app. In addition to driving installs they help to increase engagement by bringing existing users back into the app.

You can also see that these techniques actually add to user experience, rather than taking away from it. It’s always good when you can add a feature that is beneficial to you as an app publisher and also makes the app more enjoyable for users.