Ways to get your users to promote your app
You hope your app will benefit from great word-of-mouth – but that’s not happening organically, yet. While a company’s current users are some of the best people to promote their service, they often need a bit of help or a nudge or two to do it.
That means you need to create a community strategy to transform your users into advocates. Don’t worry – it’s easier than it sounds. We’ll walk you through the best ways to turn your existing customers into a powerful engine for customer acquisition.
One of the best ways to activate your community is to create a referral program that helps them (or the people they refer) while they help you.
There are three main types of referral programs:
- Get programs: This is when the person making the referral gets a benefit. This helps encourage people to tell others about your product. Giving a direct benefit to your current customers to convince others to use your product is a powerful incentive for them to do so!
- Give programs: This is when the person who accepts a referral and becomes a user gets a benefit like a discount or a gift card. This type of program can be less effective at getting people to make referrals. However, it might be a good strategy for popular apps or apps that have network effects, or additional benefits when more people use them or when people you know use them. For example, team productivity apps or subscription services that integrate social networks so you can share music with friends.
- Give/get programs: This is when both the referrer and the referee get a benefit from the referral. For example, if you have a subscription-based app, you might offer both two months free. This is often the most effective referral program but it can also be the most expensive program to run.
What should you offer as a benefit for your referral program? It depends on what your audience will get excited about. You might want to A/B test different offers to see which is most effective at getting (and keeping) new users. Some examples of things you could offer includes discounts, upgrades to a premium tier, free months, gift cards, or free gifts.
For more see designing referral programs.
There are a few ways to encourage people to share about your app on social media. First, you need to make it easy to share. Include social share buttons in your app with pre-populated hashtags. That will also make it easier to track how much your users are sharing about you and what they’re saying.
But how do you make your users want to organically share about your app on social media at scale? Let’s look at what Spotify does with their annual Wrapped summary of their users’ listening habits and stats for the year. Spotify users love sharing about their Wrapped summaries so much – the reports often trends on social media for days the week it comes out. It’s so successful that Apple Music finally created their own version of it in 2022 so that its users had something to share, too.
So, what if you’re not running a music subscription service? There are all sorts of things that you can add into your product that might encourage your users to share about you on their social accounts. Here are some examples:
- If you run a fitness app, you could create shareable content about how much your users have walked or ran that year. Did they run halfways across a state that year? Or maybe they climbed five empire state buildings in the last month.
- Is your app focused on a professional audience? You might create a rundown of how many tickets that someone has responded to that year or month as a developer. Enough to cover half a football stadium? That might lead people to share on LinkedIn.
- Speaking of LinkedIn, the professional network ranks recruiters who use their subscription every year based on how active they are. Finding out that you’re in the top 1% of recruiters in your activity on LinkedIn is definitely shareable news.
Reviews help your business. A lot. You should be strategically asking your users to leave reviews of you on the platforms that matter most. Depending on your app that could be Capterra, Product Hunt, Google Reviews, the app stores, or other places.
Getting reviews from happy customers helps you build trust, improves your reputation, encourages others to use your product, and can even improve your SEO in the app store.
The best way to do this is to automate it. Here are some great ways to do that:
- Prompt in a Net Promoter Survey: A NPS survey is when you ask your users a simple question to better understand their experience with your brand. It can be as simple as a pop-up that asks them to rate your app from zero to five stars. After they have inputted their answer, you can ask those that gave you a high score to leave a review on your platform of choice with a link for them to go do that immediately.
- Receipt prompts: Don’t miss the opportunity to ask for a review when you send out monthly subscription receipts. Add a direct ask and a link in your receipt.
- In-app prompts: Another easy way to ask for a review is to send your users an in-app prompt with a link to a site where you’ll help them do it quickly.
If you want to sweeten the deal, you can also offer your customers discounts, free products, upgrades, or other benefits if they leave a review if it is allowed on that review platform.
Potential users want to understand how other users use your product – and the benefits they’ve gotten from it. Many apps will have case studies or customer profiles showing how people have benefited from their app on their website. This is great social proof that you can add quotes or links to on your homepage as it validates that your app works as advertised. It also helps people who are considering your app learn more about how they’ll use it and whether it’s right for them.
Since case studies involve more time and energy from your users, you’ll have more success getting them to participate if you give them a gift or a discount. For these, you’ll want to choose the customers you profile strategically so that they represent your app’s various use cases and all of the ideal customer profiles that you’re targeting.
Sometimes you don’t even have to ask to get your users to share about you. Everyone loves being surprised by how well they’re treated by a company. Sometimes just sending your users physical swag or a thank you note out of the blue can generate free mentions by your users. That’s because users are often impressed by the personal touch and care you put in and then share about your company on social media.
Send them something cool that they’ll love – but make sure it’s branded for maximum effect. If it’s something cool that they can wear, even better. But don’t send aggressively branded apparel. No one wears that anymore. For an example of swag done right, PlanetScale, a database company, created simple black hats that just said database on the front with their logo unobtrusively attached at the back and had customers and prospects sharing them on social media. The cooler the swag that you send looks, the more likely people are going to organically share it.
The bottom line
The good news is that many companies already have their customers spreading great word-of-mouth recommendations of their project and they just don’t know it. That can include things like offline recommendations or what marketers sometimes call ‘dark social.’ That’s when your users share on social media about how great you are but don’t tag you.
The tips above are meant to help you optimize your word-of-mouth potential. If you follow them, it’s important to do so knowing that it might be hard to attribute new customers to these social media shout outs and reviews but that doesn’t mean this work isn’t valuable. Your customers are doing the important work of brand awareness for you!
At Upollo, we help apps optimize their revenue by helping them convert more happy paying customers. Once you get more potential users in your pipeline through all this great word-of-mouth, we’re here to ensure you convert as many of those new customers as possible.Learn More