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How to build a community for your brand on social media: Best practices for mobile app marketers

Building a community on social media has become a critical strategy for marketing mobile apps. From mobile gaming communities to branding campaigns for entertainment apps, social media can drive installs and build long-term relationships with users. A study by Google shows that more than 50% of users discover apps through their friends, family and colleagues. This is more popular than discovering apps in the app store (40%) through search engines (27%), by viewing an app’s website (24%) and on TV (22%).

Brand awareness on social media will help you scale your business. Meeting users where they are — such as their favorite social media platform — allows them to connect directly with your brand to seek help or simply get updates and announcements. This article shares everything you need to know to develop a branding strategy for your mobile app on social media.

Building a community through social media: Where to begin

Define your branding goals

The first step to building a community on social media is to define your branding goals. This will ensure your strategy is aligned with what you want to achieve. According to Statista most app marketers use social media to increase engagement (93%), increase traffic (87%), generate leads (74%), improve sales (72%) and build a fanbase (71%). Whatever your end goal may be, branding is all about reputation, so it is important to know how you want your brand to be perceived when users come across your social media channels. Simply being active on social media isn’t enough — you need to consider your channel’s usefulness to users, tone of voice and other elements that will help you build a following.

You can define your branding goals by considering the following questions:

  • How will my customer services be improved with social media?
  • How will my social media activity drive awareness of my mobile app?
  • How will this activity generate installs and revenue?
  • How will my social media presence increase brand loyalty and create a positive reputation?

If you get the answers to these questions right, and follow through, you will build a loyal community. It may also help to know which goals should be prioritized by your social media managers. In most cases, succeeding with one goal will also contribute to the others by default. For example, offering better customer service in an accessible way (for example, messaging on Facebook) can help you build a following of people who can then engage with announcements and opportunities in their feed.

Understanding your target audience

The target audience of your mobile app will be a factor in deciding which social media channels to use and how your accounts can be valuable to users. For example, e-commerce brands will want to build communities on Instagram and TikTok due to the popularity of fashion-related topics and the influencers available on those channels. When developing your social media strategy you can use personas to ensure you are engaging your target audience from the very beginning.

Although you should adapt for each social media channel, it is also important to be consistent across every channel to ensure brand continuity. For example, it may be confusing for users to find your brand using contrasting tones of voice and aesthetics on Instagram and Facebook.

How many social media accounts do app marketers need?

A common misconception is that you need to be active across every major social media channel to achieve your goals. While each channel has something unique to offer brands looking to build strong relationships with their target audience, a company with limited resources will be better off investing in a limited number of channels. The focus should be on active accounts that offer consistent value to users. It is also important to note that the quality of users can be more important than your overall follow count.

Competitor research will help you succeed

You can also use competitor research to identify what has worked (and what hasn’t) for similar mobile apps. This will also show you ways you can offer something different to users. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that will work for every brand and finding your niche can help you stand out. You can focus on the following:

  • On which platforms do my competitors have an active community?
  • What tone of voice are they using? Is this successfully engaging followers?
  • How are they using color and other design elements related to their brand?
  • How often are your competitors posting?
  • How many followers do your competitors have on each platform?
  • How active is the community (likes and comments)?

When it comes to branding, it can be better to have a smaller yet active community on social media compared to a large audience that is not engaged with your activity. This is the foundation to a strong relationship between you and your followers.

Four great examples of branding across different social media channels

1. Netflix on Twitter: Offer customer support and engaging viral content

Twitter has 145 million monetizable daily active users, showing a 17% increase since 2018. Twitter ad engagement is also up by 23% since 2018, while cost per engagement is down 12%.  Popular streaming app Netflix uses Twitter to engage its global audience. The brand has one of the largest streaming libraries in the world and 204 million subscribers as of Q4 2020. They use Twitter to share announcements, offer customer support and engage with users with memes. For example, this meme connects two TV shows (“Jupiter’s Legacy” and “The Christmas Chronicles”) to share a joke with their audience.

This adds a human element to the social media accounts, allowing them to connect with users on a more natural level. And in order to engage users with the content they value most, the brand has several accounts which are divided by content type (Netflix Film and Netflix Family) and regions. Users can follow the accounts relevant to their interests. This also enables the brand to cross-promote its content.

While posting memes may not be appropriate for every brand, this approach can be an effective way to go viral, boost engagements and improve brand recognition. They can also be used to encourage user-generated content thanks to the culture of meme mimicry.  When posting memes you should monitor the frequency to avoid irritating your target audience.

2. Pokemon GO on Facebook: Reward users for following with tips, tricks and special announcements

Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world with 2.45 billion monthly active users spending an average of 38 minutes on the platform every day. Pokemon GO is a mobile game by Niantic that became a cultural phenomenon upon release in 2016. The game made $1.23 billion in 2020, higher than its peak usage in 2016.

Pokemon GO users, known as pokemon trainers, can catch pokemon using the app’s augmented reality. The brand uses Facebook to share announcements for upcoming releases of new pokemon, share global events and give trainers tips on how to make the most out of the mobile game. For example, Pokemon Go recently announced June’s #PokemonGoCommunityDay — an eight second video with almost 300,000 views.

This is an event where trainers have an opportunity to catch a rare pokemon that are exclusively available for a few hours. The brand’s official website explains that “During these hours, there's a chance to learn a previously unavailable move for that Pokémon or its Evolution, as well as earn some Community Day bonuses.” By sharing news of this special event the company is adding value to its social media page, which rewards users for being part of an active community.

3. ASOS on TikTok: Brand promotion through relatable content

TikTok has 689 million monthly active users worldwide and 62% of users in the U.S. are between 10 and 29 years old. ASOS is a leading e-commerce brand with more than 14 million active customers. According to Statista, ASOS “caters particularly to a global audience of 20-somethings” making Tiktok the perfect target for its brand promotion.

Every social media platform will have different criteria for content that drives engagement. It is important to become native to each platform and understand how you can leverage popular formats to promote your brand. ASOS have mastered TikTok videos by sharing fashion tips (such as how to style an orange suit), make-up tutorials and account takeovers.

4. Depop on Instagram: Branding with user-generated content

Instagram has over 500 million people using Stories each day and 63% of Instagram users log in every day. The app that helped revolutionize influencer marketing also has 200 million Instagram users visiting at least one business profile every day. Peer-to-peer social shopping app Depop has grown its brand with Instagram and has a followe count of more than 700,000.

Depop uses user-generated Content (UGC) on Instagram to engage users and promote curated items that are available to buy in-app.

The brand has a reputation for affordable second-hand items that are sold by other users, so UGC is a particularly effective marketing method that aligns with the brand reputation. User influence is a major strength social media can offer and UGC can be used to build trust between you and your community. This can also enrich your social media feed and Depop is a prime example. UGC is a valuable asset for all social media channels, such as retweets on Twitter. Another benefit to sharing UGC is that you put users in the spotlight and show that you value their commitment to your brand.

How to leverage social media influencers when building a brand

Influencer marketing is the practice of working with influential figures with an active following that aligns with your target market — and it is a critical component of social media marketing. For example, you can work with influencers by offering free products to review or by paying for them to share your brand across their social media channels. Influencers have created a following and built up a reputation — all of which you can use by association to improve brand awareness. To learn more, read our complete guide to influencer marketing on social media.

If you found this article useful you may also be interested in our resources for making social media memes and social media marketing for niche apps.

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