It’s not a secret that social communities are the focus of some of the most successful companies. In April 2012, just 18 months after the initial launch on the App Store, Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion, and the price of this deal surprised many entrepreneurs and developers. Over the next few years, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, and Snapchat’s estimate rose from $10 billion to $20 billion. The point is that community and social connections are of great importance nowadays and that’s why integrating social features into applications is one of the keys to success. Let’s find out exactly how it works and what you can do to turn your mobile app into a community.
In-App Community Benefits
What is so special about communities and what makes them a popular feature of many successful apps? There are at least three reasons for that:
- Communities Motivate and Engage Users
- A great number of talented developers make this category of applications very competitive. It means that if you don’t offer the user something special, then they will most likely find something similar from other developers.
- Sports require willpower from the users themselves – as a rule, not many of them are able to comply with the app’s recommendations.
On the other hand, if you add some social functions to the product, you’ll get to see the desired changes. For example, the Fitbit app allows users to track the progress of friends – it is very inspiring and motivating. As a result, the percentage of returning users goes up.
- Communities Help to Understand Users
Every app developer wants to know as much information about their users as possible. Issues your users come across within your app, their opinions and preferences are a priceless source of information you can use to improve your product. You can achieve this by introducing activity feeds where users can share their updates and interact with other users.
For example, a game development studio Godzi Lab implemented activity feeds in their Crush Them All game so that the community managers could interact with users and support them. As a result, the company got 60% higher LTV for referred players, 50% higher retention for referred players, and 3x of lifetime Activity Feed users.
- Communities Make Your App Stand Out
With growing competition, it’s extremely important for any developer to stand out from thousands of similar apps. A community is an important element of such differentiation. It’s possible to copy the functionality, but it’s impossible to copy the community.
A great example is Nike+. A platform created by Nike which encourages people to be active, motivated, and healthy. It is built around Nike’s Run app, which offers distance tracking, calories and speed calculator. The community now has over 30 million members.
How to Turn Your App into a Community
It might seem challenging to create a loyal in-app community, but here are some tips to help you kick off:
- Encourage feedback from users. In many cases, the data that developers receive from the consumer is different than expected. Getting an actual response in time allows you to adjust the activity and guide it in the right direction.
- Pay close attention to user engagement. How often do users access content? How often do they interact with other members of the community? Do they experience a sense of belonging when within your app? To tick these off, you should make sure you’ve integrated the necessary strategies into your app marketing plan to make your users come over and over again 🙂
- Constantly manage the community. As your app’s audience will be growing, it will be more and more difficult to maintain the community at the same level. Therefore, you need to not only build the community but also keep it up and running for its members to remain engaged for a long time.
Why Is It Important to Manage an In-App Community?
Successful community management results in happy and satisfied users. If you develop a community, your users become super fans who talk about the app with their friends. They bring new users who are already pre-loyal to your product. It turns out that a good community manager brings in new users who most often remain with the app for a long time with their friends. It’s hard to find a more efficient marketing channel that brings so many new loyal users.
According to Jennifer Grayeb, there are four key features of successful community management:
- Community growth, which is based on continuous analysis and community development.
- Interaction with your users and the emergence of opinion leaders.
- Ability to listen to and speak with users in their language.
- Ability to use your knowledge to make changes and improvements.
Managing an in-app community also helps the developers with the following:
- Getting instant feedback. A loyal user community is the main reason why users leave feedback regarding the new features and give recommendations for the future.
- Giving a brand a human touch. Knowing the people behind the brand makes this brand more “human”, thus engaging the users – who are also humans, of course.
- Resolving app-related issues in real time. In case of any issues with the app, users can reach out directly to the community manager instead of searching the web for solutions.
- Sharing valuable content at the right time. With community management, you can target your audience with customized content and recommendations.
Building a community around your app is a perfect way to put the app ahead of the competition with the help of loyal and happy users. Communities help app developers engage and motivate their audience as well as better understand them. So if your app doesn’t have a community yet, it’s a perfect time to start. Good luck!
Anastasia Khomych is a content marketing manager at GetSocial, an all-in-one solution to empower mobile app marketing and product teams with growth tools to maximize user acquisition, engagement, and retention.