Social media and mobile devices have made brands more accessible than ever before. App marketing experts around the world are fascinated with these relatively new entities, and are constantly seeking innovative ways to engage with consumers on these platforms. The issue is, however, that marketers are completely neglecting the fact that social media and mobile devices have also had a tremendous impact on users themselves. They’ve not only changed the way they share and consume content, but their self-perception as well and as a result, the products they gravitate towards. We set out to examine how this could be used in terms of mobile consulting and marketing.
Social networks allow users to create a profile that acts as an “extension” of themselves in the online (and now more mobile than ever) arena. The content users share on their profiles is created and curated by them, giving users full control over what they’d like to share with followers, and what they’d like to hold back. Since many of us are driven by competition and strive to resemble those we perceive as successful, most users choose to share content that easily and instantly reinforces these ideals of success.
Whether done consciously or subconsciously, the version of themselves that users portray online is not a direct reflection of their personality but rather one that they prefer, or could never achieve in reality. “For many social media users,” writes R. Kay Green, CEO and President of RKG Marketing Solutions, “it is an esteem booster, which explains why so many people spend so much time on social media. It provides many individuals with a false sense of self and an inflated sense of who they really are.”
Another example for this phenomenon can be found in the rise of blogging. In the past few years, the term “blogger” has transformed from a hobby into a legitimate, money-making profession. The art of editing your life into a picture-perfect, nicely framed story has turned into an actual industry, enabling anyone and everyone to become a public figure or some type of small-scale publisher.
Fashion and lifestyle blogger Sara Donaldson of Harper & Harley once said it takes her approximately two hours to upload a post, even if it only includes a single photo. While the average Joe might find this alarming, mobile consulting experts are probably not surprised. Donaldson explains that she first has to get her hair and makeup done, pick out an outfit, spot the location and setting, take a number of pictures until she has the perfect one, and finally, write the post itself. This is the farthest thing from reality, but hey! Nothing wrong with that. While this is only the confession of a single blogger, it sheds light on the process users go through before sharing anything to social media.
Nike is an excellent example of a brand that took to mobile and social platforms to form a mobile strategy that’s completely based on giving users that esteem booster and inflated sense of self they’re after. Nike understands that users love to put their best foot forward when it comes to the content they share with followers. Whether it’s a gym selfie in colorful gym attire, or flaunting their “runs” via their activity tracking app – users love to be perceived by their followers as strong, healthy, and athletic. Nike’s app marketing plan utilizes these factors like a true winner
While these elements work well on social, let’s see how they can be incorporated into your mobile strategy. Firstly, marketers must acknowledge the fact that the sharing feature is key; however, simply including it in your app won’t do the job – it’s more about encouraging users to share by satisfying the confidence boost they seek. Here are a couple of cool ways to do so:
Users who participate in competitions and end up snagging the prize or simply performing very well, will be more prone to share the results with their friends on social media. By doing so, they won’t only boost their own reputation, but they will also become semi-ambassadors for your app. There are even apps that rely entirely on the sharing culture – on Candy Crush the most accessible way to win more “lives” is by sharing the game with Facebook friends, and all IM apps require users to reach out to their friends before they can actually utilize the app.
Another way to spark users’ competitive sense is by “pinning” them against one another in dual challenges that will get them that much more excited. Knowing who you’re facing (and not just competing against everyone else) will get users much more fired up and thus more prone to sharing their success with their followers. “Words with Friends” for example, lets users face a friend in the challenge of outsmarting one another – who wouldn’t want the bragging rights of beating their friend? The app recently introduced the Facebook integration feature after being around since 2007, which helped re-trigger users’ competitive sense and excitement about the game.
In-app user profile
By allowing users to create their own profile within your app, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that they’ll invest more time and effort in your app. Users care to look good in the eyes of other users, and they’ll instantly want to maintain their profile as a positive representation of themselves. Implement this by letting users create their own avatar or profile.
As we all know, the first step to a successful app marketing process is to identify and understand your target audience. Today’s marketers should realize that ignoring their prospective users’ mobile persona could and probably will result in a failed mobile strategy. If there’s one mobile consulting tip to learn here, it’s that a copy-paste approach between your web and mobile strategies is bound to fail. Mobile is a world of its own, and one that is worth investing in.