6 Ways to Shake Up Social in Your App


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Making your mobile app more popular through social isn’t as easy as adding a Facebook share or like button. When designing around a social dynamic, you must understand the user - what, when, and how they want to share.

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6 Ways to Shake Up Social in Your App

  1. 1. 6 WAYS TO SHAKE UP SOCIAL IN YOUR APP 6 Ways to Shake Up Social In Your App · 1
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Mobile apps have gone social and the trend continues. In a 2012 report by Nielsen, 80 percent of the top 15 apps had some sort of a social or local element. With numbers from Apple and Google showing average users downloading only three to five apps per month, it’s clear that doing a great job of social integration is essential to ranking at the top of the app store lists. enormously by providing convenience, interaction, or expression. It all boils down to creating value. There always has to be something in it for the user. So, how do you do that? 80% OF THE TOP 15 APPS OF 2012 HAD SOME SORT OF A SOCIAL OR LOCAL ELEMENT. 3. Provide an outlet for users to express themselves For the social features of an app to be widely used, they’ve got to be well implemented. Many social components are added as mechanisms to spread word of the application. But this forced approach doesn’t always go over well with users. Many regard this attempt at social integration as shameless promotion. But there are social additions that have boosted apps 1. Complement the user journey with relevant information 2. Encourage social interaction with a clear purpose 4. Use social to motivate and encourage 5. Give users a sense of involvement 6. Don’t make it too intrusive Apps across the board are social. With dominators like Candy Crush Saga and Instagram leading the way, everyone wants their app to be the hot new thing among users and their friends. Making your app social could be a major improvement and be a huge benefit to your business, whether your goal is to get the word out or build stronger customer relationships. 6 Ways to Shake Up Social In Your App · 2
  3. 3. Sunrise ONE: COMPLIMENT THE USER JOURNEY WITH RELEVANT INFORMATION One of the main benefits of social integration is providing users with valuable information. Like that Yelp review that saved you from a bad restaurant. What may seem like a small convenience has the potential to improve daily life on a large scale. Sunrise, a design-oriented calendar app, does a good job of this and has a 4+ star ratting in the app store to prove it. Sunrise lets users RSVP to Facebook and Google calendar events through one app. Waze, a real-time road-travel information app that boasts 50 million users, also included Facebook integration to let users “drive with their friends.” People can see their friends driving locations, departure times and estimated arrival times - making it easier to meet and coordinate carpools. TWO: ENCOURAGE SOCIAL INTERACTION WITH A CLEAR PURPOSE There needs to be a good reason for people to use your app’s social features. This can be achieved by creating friendly competition, bragging rights, or mutual benefits through socializing. Many gaming apps such as Words with Friends, Run with Friends and Draw Something are quite good at this. These Zynga apps provide an easy way for friends to keep in touch by implementing direct competition. With today’s busy lifestyle, users value this fun way to interact with people they might otherwise not hear from. THESE GAMES DON’T REQUIRE REAL-TIME SOCIALIZING; THEY LET PEOPLE KEEP IN TOUCH AND PLAY ON THEIR OWN TIME. These features work together with Facebook events, road-travel, directions, and individuals’ locations are organized and displayed when the event nears. This helps improve communication and allows users to let their friends know where they are without having to text or call while driving. In the end it’s all about making the information useable. Instead of sharing a movie from a cinema service app, allow the users to ask their friends to vote for which movie they want to see. This is real social interaction that builds valuable information right into the user’s journey. Waze newest update also integrates with Foursquare, CrunchBase, and Google maps. This allows users to see information on who they are meeting, how to get where they are going and where they have been. THE SOCIAL INTEGRATION INTO MOBILE APPS ALLOWS USERS TO LET THEIR FRIENDS KNOW WHERE THEY ARE WITHOUT HAVING TO TEXT OR CALL WHILE DRIVING. A good example of bragging rights is the game Dots. Aside from being an addicting mini-game on its own, many like to share their high scores on Facebook to compare with their friends. Then there’s Candy Crush Saga, which gets 500 million plays a day. Candy Crush is having so much success right now that one out of seven people in Hong Kong play. The ever popular bejeweled-style game has created a massive social movement in part because the Facebook activity with friends is critical for boosts, extra lives and higher scores. Farmville followed a similar pattern and was widely successful. Players of these games were willing to share their game activity on Facebook because doing so helped their game play. Keep in mind these games don’t require real-time socializing; they let people choose their pace and keep in touch on their own time. Social integration with a clear purpose creates value and reason for users to keep coming back for more. Dots Candy Crush Saga 6 Ways to Shake Up Social In Your App · 3
  4. 4. + + THREE: PROVIDE AN OUTLET FOR USERS TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES Everybody has an opinion on something, and many people like to create their own content. If you have an app that allows users to express their thoughts, social media sharing may improve upon the app’s utility. A good example is Spotify’s use of Facebook. Spotify gives users the option to share their listening activity on Facebook and follow their friends’ listening activity. This functionality lets people broadcast their taste, an opinion FOUR: USE SOCIAL TO MOTIVATE OR ENCOURAGE The surge of mobile fitness apps are good examples of communities created for users to encourage and motivate each other to get fit. Nike+ Running, the most popular running app on iTunes, uses social interaction as motivation to exercise, turning every like and comment into sounds of a cheering audience. Another exercise tracking app, Fitocracy, makes use of a community to provide encouragement and fitness knowledge through numerous discussion groups in in the form of music. The app also allows users to discover more by getting recommendations from their Spotify friends and favorite musicians. These utilities are great, but there will always be people who won’t want to share their content, so be sure your app’s sharing feature is optional. Vanilla Ice may or may not be on the playlist, the world doesn’t need to know. are successful photo-sharing apps where users don’t know where their photo is sent or who it is being seen by. There are no “likes” or friends, just self-expression. A social network for link-sharing called Potluck is coming to iOS with a similar concept. Potluck focuses on content rather than user popularity. You can still participate in discussions, but like Rando, there are no “likes” and posts are not paired with a username. POLLS, LIKES AND RATINGS MAKE EXPRESSION EASY FOR INTERNET USERS OF ALL KINDS. For every user involved in content creation, there are many that only lurk. This passive participation is for those that have interest in the topic but do not want to post their opinion. Self-expression is a human need, and social integration without the pressure of publicity might be a great value add. Whether it’s through polls, likes, ratings or sharing, make expression as easy as possible for users of all kinds. Another way to allow users to express themselves is by playing with image motivation, i.e. using the appeal of personal branding to encourage user engagement. Keep in mind, people may not always need social validation. There different categories - connecting anyone from body builders to yoga enthusiasts. A new app on the scene, Cody, plays more with behavioral economics and focuses on social interaction to make working out fun. It’s less of a workout tracking app for intense health buffs and more of a social network specifically for casual exercisers. Users can post workout photos, status updates and follow their friends on Cody. These apps’ social aspects work because they help motivate people to do something everyone needs to do anyway: be active. THE NEW MOBILE FITNESS APPS MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO DO SOMETHING EVERYONE NEEDS TO DO ANYWAY: BE ACTIVE. Fitocracy Cody 6 Ways to Shake Up Social In Your App · 4
  5. 5. FIVE: GIVE USERS A SENSE OF INVOLVEMENT Involvement can come in many forms, but higher user engagement can be useful to them and you. A study by MarketingPower.com shows that if social elements in digital platforms provide feelings of human interaction, users will feel more emotionally satisfied. Thus, social listening additions such as a comments stream, reviews section, weekly poll, like or rating button can let users get involved during the apps development. IF SOCIAL ELEMENTS IN DIGITAL PLATFORMS PROVIDE FEELINGS OF HUMAN INTERACTION USERS WILL FEEL MORE EMOTIONALLY SATISFIED. When consumers are able to exchange information or advice about a product they develop a sense of community and become more attached to the brand. The competition was a fun way to endorse brand lifestyle, giving the users a bit of control over what they’re consuming, thus strengthening brand loyalty. This kind of user behavior is especially prominent in the streetwear market in forums like Hypebeast.com, a breeding ground for brand loyalty. Fans of popular labels like Supreme meet in such style forums and discuss new releases, post photos and more. Businesses can also visit the popular forums to gauge consumers and predict trends. Another alternative is getting people directly involved with the brand. In 2011 Giorgio Armani used Foursquare for a contest to promote a new fragrance, Armani Code Sport. A contest for the most “epic night”, i.e. checked into the most hotspots in one night, with the winner receiving a free bottle of cologne. Foursquare SIX: DON’T MAKE IT TOO INTRUSIVE Examples of intrusiveness are the many apps that force users to create a user profile or log in with social network details. A major retailer recently released its own coupon app. The deals are great, with up to 30 percent savings in addition to other discounts. Too bad it requires a sign- up via Facebook and literally publishes every single purchase you make with the app’s discounts. Because this mandatory log in and automated posting through Facebook is seen as irritating promotion, consumer reviews have been mostly negative. An alternative is to make social media sign-in optional. Let the users get acquainted with your app, then count on quality content for a positive experience to increase the chances they will create an account or link their account with a social network. If you want to use Facebook connect for tech or budget reasons, make sure to have an option in the settings to turn sharing off. But it doesn’t end there, make sure you are transparent with your users about what content will be shared, and how. It’s extremely off-putting when users find that all of their app activity has spammed Facebook without their consent. Avoid surprises, let users authenticate the app’s integration with Facebook and do not prefill the message field for an app activity post. app LET THE USERS GET ACQUAINTED WITH YOUR APP BEFORE MAKING AN ACCOUNT OR LINKING THEIR ACCOUNT WITH A SOCIAL NETWORK. 6 Ways to Shake Up Social In Your App · 5
  6. 6. SOCIAL MEDIA PITFALLS Almost all apps have some kind of social media element with hopes of engaging customers, building brand awareness, driving traffic and influencing sales, but few use it wisely. Take the guidelines above and brainstorm about the best way to use social in your app. A strategic approach to your implementation is key to avoiding pitfalls. An improperly planned, executed or managed social media strategy could do more harm than good. Many brands and developers have learned the hard way, enduring embarrassing and sometimes costly mistakes. So, before you start coding, make sure you haven’t fallen for some of the common social integration mistakes that cause apps to fail. 6 Ways to Shake Up Social In Your App · 6
  7. 7. ONE: NOT EVERY APP NEEDS A SOCIAL INTEGRATION First things first - integration must feel natural. Many apps fail because the social element feels forced. If your app already exists, ask yourself if a social component was part of the app’s mission to begin with? If not, do users need or want a social option now? Overlooking this basic question can happen to anyone. Several years ago Apple tried to create an entire social network around its iTunes called Ping (yeah – we forgot about it too; R.I.P. 9/30/2012). Ping was very similar to Facebook, right down to the color scheme, but was not connected in any way. Perhaps Ping could’ve been a great social network, but it didn’t offer anything new or unique and failed to take off. That being said, people were not willing to switchover, especially since their entire network had already been built in a different application. The leading social apps create a new concept that many other apps successfully branch off of, but it works because there is differentiation. SPOTIFY HAS 6 MILLION PAYING SUBSCRIBERS AND A TOTAL OF 24 MILLION USERS (25% OF USERS PAY). GETS OVER 1 BILLION SHARES (INSTANCES OF APP ACTIVITY) ON FACEBOOK A DAY. THEIR 110 BILLION SONGS, ALBUMS AND RADIO GETS 40 MILLION PLAYS EACH DAY. “Now when I go on to check the feed, it’s jammed with stupid 15 second video clips that slow down the app.” “Very poor connection, the people can’t see me. I don’t know if contacts are online. I would like the older version.” TWO: NEW FEATURES CAN IMPACT AN APP’S PERFORMANCE Instagram’s new video option has slowed content consumption and is one of the reasons many users question whether it was a good idea. Not everyone with a smartphone has fabulous bandwidth, some rely on free Wi-Fi, and integration of social dynamic may cause slower processing. It could potentially ruin the user experience and thus your app. Even Skype, the most popular free VoIP, has many problems with lag and bugs, generating a 2.5 star ratings in the app store and a load of unhappy user ratings. So yes, you should be concerned if your app’s social features are impacting performance or quality. “I love instagram, I really do, but I hate the new video feature. It makes the feed really slow…” “New UI is quite good. But I really miss a button to quit the app, for real, without background process.” “There have been a number of times already, even with my LTE iPhone 5, that I couldn’t load videos fast enough in Instagram.” Instagram Skype OVER 70% OF MOBILE APP USERS WOULD WRITE A BAD REVIEW FOR AN APP IF IT FROZE OR CRASHED, 59% WOULD FOR SLOW RESPONSIVENESS. 6 Ways to Shake Up Social In Your App · 7
  8. 8. THREE: ADDING A SHARE BUTTON DOESN’T MAKE THE CONTENT SHARE WORTHY A share button isn’t much more than a visual cue for users. For content to be shareable it must be entertaining, informative, controversial, or even emotional. Start with the basics - identify the natural social and sharing behavior of the content on a mobile device (sharing with a friend, posting photos of something fun/beautiful, etc.). Ask yourself, does your app provide something memorable enough to be shared? Is it notable? If not (or not yet), create your content so that people can get involved, and make it easy to do so. GREAT STORY VALUE EXCHANGE DISRUPTIVE SOCIAL IDEAS PROOF SIMPLE ADVOCACY FRESH INTEREST CREATIVE PARTICIPATION 6 Ways to Shake Up Social In Your App · 8
  9. 9. CONCLUSION Making your mobile app more popular through social isn’t as easy as adding a Facebook share or like button. When designing around a social dynamic, you must understand the user - what, when, and how they want to share. Integration has to be seamless and built in— not tacked onto the overall user journey. Rather than pushing your app’s info out, try to pull relevant info in to enrich the experience. Keep it fresh with an ongoing conversation and make sure the material is updated to stay relevant to current users. Lastly, it’s important not to get too caught up in formulating the social path on which your information travels, instead make sure the content is strong enough to be spread first. With that, we wish you the best of luck! 6 Ways to Shake Up Social In Your App · 9
  10. 10. ABOUT DMI DMI One Rock Spring Plaza 6550 Rock Spring Dr. Bethesda, MD 20817 DMI Sales Team U.S. Sales: 855.963.2099 Int’l Sales: 240.200.5848 sales@DMInc.com DMInc.com DMI IS THE WORLD’S LEADING PROVIDER OF ENTERPRISE MOBILITY SERVICES AND SOLUTIONS. We build enterprise class mobile solutions that generate results for the world’s top brands and businesses. Our mobile solutions combine the awardwinning user experience design that has made us one of the top creators of consumer apps, with the deep middleware and engineering expertise that we’ve used to build and manage enterprise applications for the most demanding IT departments in the world. DMI mobility solutions improve business processes, tap new revenue streams, build customer loyalty, and increase employee productivity. And we offer a full range of Managed Services to securely set up, configure, and manage your mobile devices. THE PROOF We’ve built more than 400 mobile apps—in the past 12 months alone—for more than 150 leading organizations­ like Disney, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Vodafone, P&G, The National Guard, and Universal Studios. We offer a full range of security options that include Federal-grade hardware-based security, two-factor authentication, secure container, and sophisticated encryption solutions. We offer brilliant creative and user experience: Our mobile app development group was named the Best Branded App Developer at the 2012 Mobile Entertainment Awards. With our expertise and economies of scale, we can provide mobility management at a higher service level and on average 20% lower cost than most companies can do on their own. We have 500,000 devices under management for more that 100+ clients, including many Fortune 500 companies— like BP, Johnson & Johnson, Sears, The Associated Press, Allergan, and more. At BP, we’re deploying 1,000 managed mobile devices each day. We provide 24 x 7 x 365 mobile service support for more than 500,000 users. DMI is the one call our customers need to make to resolve any issue—devices, apps, infrastructure, even carriers. Pervasive excellence is our commitment to quality service. DMI is one of only a handful of companies that is CMMI L3 appraised for both application development and services, as well as ISO 9001:2008, ISO 27001:2005, and ISO 20000-1:2011 certified. Our average D&B Open Ratings performance score from our clients is 94/100. 6 Ways to Shake Up Social In Your App · 10
  11. 11. SOURCES • http://mashable.com/2013/06/02/mobile-design-tips/ • http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2013/5/16/how-many-apps-do-android-and-ios-users-download • http://edition.cnn.com/2011/TECH/mobile/03/21/app.engagement.gahran/ • http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/south-pole-weather-200-degrees-of-separation-fromwashington-dcsscorching-heat/2012/07/17/gJQAzq4BrW_blog.html • http://www.marketingpower.com/ResourceLibrary/Publications/JournalofMarketing/2007/71/3/jmkg.71.3.143.pdf • http://mashable.com/2013/06/20/video-for-instagram-poll/ • http://www.fastcocreate.com/1682946/the-principles-of-social-design-how-to-make-content-shareable#1 6 Ways to Shake Up Social In Your App · 11