Four Key Steps For App Developers To Maximize Their Facebook Communities

By Guest Writer 

In today’s technology-soaked world, everyone has a smartphone, everyone uses applications, and everyone is on Facebook. Facebook is a free and powerful resource at nearly every company’s disposal. But when developing Facebook apps, there are aspects that are necessary for you to optimize in order to ensure that you and your business stand out from the crowd. You don’t want to be seen as just another story in someone’s news feed. You want to appear unique and important. There are some simple, yet powerful, steps you can take to ensure customers see you this way.

Let The User Inside Your App

Offering utility to the end-user is what makes a successful app. It’s all about providing an experience inside the app, whether it’s robust and relevant content, a super-intuitive interface, or a mechanism for entertainment (gaming). When it comes to mobile, most of the value for users is at the time of consumption, so features like geolocation are key. When it’s a Facebook app, social “friend” data provide value. But at the end of the day, it needs to be something that the end-user genuinely wants to re-engage with because they get value. Seeing friends’ photos, getting real-time recommendations, or posting a high score for bragging rights all serve a purpose. Let them get into the page, not just view it.

Create A Sense Of Community For Your Users

Apps with community and social features are great at scale. However, the app must reach scale by intrinsically offering something valuable without the community features, whether “community” means an exclusive close circle of friends, like Path when it first started, or an app that’s dependent on a community, like Twitter. In my opinion, one of the best reasons why apps should build community features is because it provides relevance in the discovery phase and provides an outlet for bragging in the sharing phase.

Look at Pinterest: I made blackberry margaritas the other day because we pinned the recipe for them (and I’m a margarita snob). Then, when I actually made them, I took a picture and repinned it to Pinterest. Two days later, I got a text from my best friend from college saying she’d just made them. Community lets you share experiences with people all over. It makes the distant seem close, and that’s where the magic is.

Market To Your Target Community

When we build a Facebook app, we run media campaigns to kick-start the app-adoption process. We target people based on a unique media mix; we specifically look for the people most likely to install the app and people in line with the app’s demographic. Then, we optimize the campaign around the people who are most likely to re-engage, publish social actions, and help the app go viral. This improves the viral co-efficient of the app. We then run an ongoing campaign retargeting people to re-engage with the application so it’s not a one-and-done app interaction.

Stay Small And Seem Large

Apps with a small community niche are great because they foster discovery, dialog, and sharing among a group of passionate and like-minded people. With an application like that, I recommend looking at quality of interactions versus quantity of downloads. However, there are certain feature sets in our apps that we always recommend and that come standard in order to ensure a successful adoption rate. First, our apps are evergreen, meaning they are more initiative-focused versus campaign-focused. This means brands can run several tactical campaigns within the app to garner adoption or re-engagement. Things to consider are using viral features so users can share with other like-minded individuals, as well as rewards and incentives for bringing friends to the app.

A Facebook app is an inexpensive and powerful tool — if it’s built and managed correctly. You have to get people to take that first look by building a professional and eye-catching page, but you need to manage it correctly to keep them engaged and willing to visit again. Once you build a community, you have a built-in audience to continue talking with — and that’s a huge benefit worth working for.

Abby Ross is a partner at Blueye Creative, a Chicago-based Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer, where she leads product development and client strategy. She was formerly vice president of business development at Where I’ve Been.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.