Twitter works. Read on to find out how I used Twitter to successfully launch my company’s new app promotion business, Apperang; along with other tips from a top tech journalist on how to use Twitter for app promotion.
I read Twitter Means Business by Julio Ojeda-Zapata on vacation in Mexico. Julio is a nationally recognized tech journalist (for example, see his post about his recent appearance on TWiT) who covers tech news for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
A quick tangent on my Mexico trip before I continue…
I knew Nokia was #1 in global market share for mobile phones, but I haven’t traveled outside of the U.S. much over the past year so this hadn’t really sunk in. I was amazed at how many low-end Nokia feature phones there were in Mexico. For example, I sat on a ferry ride next to a young guy who worked for mobile game company Gtech. In my extremely choppy Spanish and his choppy English, we discussed the difference in iOS versus Android, and games built for feature phones. Pretty funny discussion on who’s the target market for various phones.
I was late to adopt Twitter… Why?
I was down on social media after watching Facebook transition from its initial early adopters to its current position of mass consumer penetration. Through the transition to the mainstream, Facebook ended up becoming a pretty worthless professional tool for me. I’ve always been a LinkedIn fan, but I find LinkedIn tends to be where relations go to die versus to develop.
What caused me to finally pay attention to Twitter?
I was urged by friend and fellow Minnesota tech entrepreneur, Philip Hotchkiss, to adopt Twitter for professional purposes about a year ago.
How did I get started?
I started following individuals I came across during my general professional life.
Eventually, the number of relationships I followed became hard to manage so I started building Twitter lists on key conversations I like to participate in, such as app marketers, app developers, tech media, and Minnesota tech.
What did I miss during the Twitter early days?
By being a late adopter to Twitter, I missed out on some of the early business success stories. Julio’s book did a great job of retelling these early stories. Here are a few excerpts that specifically apply to app developers:
Evernote’s stellar customer service, for Windows apps and other OS apps, fix problems before most users even notice them. “Twitter has proven invaluable for identifying problems with its software, if a bug crops up, Evernote will hear about it, almost instantly,” comments Andrew Sinkov, Evernote Marketing Director (page 58). Evernote built a strong following due to its popularity with the web-tech set. Tweets help identify bugs, as well as capture usage ideas, as a vehicle for new product/feature communication, and a polling medium to get user feedback.
Promoting the MyLite iPhone App- Graeme Thickens and DoApp: “He (Graeme Thickens) used his @DoApp identity as a sort of news feed to keep followers apprised of developments in iPhone application development, which was a superhot subject in the consumer-technology universe” (page 57). Thickins searched for mentions of DoApp on Twitter and asked for permission to post some of the more creative tweets. Users were finding all kinds of interesting uses for the myLite program, which is a combination strobe, emergency flasher, and rock-concert lighter. Nearly two dozen uses were identified including: a radiologist setting it to red for use in the x-ray room; and a WVA medic using the emergency flasher at night festival “so other members of rescue and fire could find me in a dark sea of people.”
Amy Worley, Director of Digital Marketing, H&R Block, used Twitter to increase awareness of their desktop software (page 41). Worley was on a crusade to publicize the company’s digital offerings, including its TaxCut options, for doing taxes online. She used Twitter to broadcast tax tips like tax deductions commonly missed or W-4 tips. She also used Twitter to answer tax questions, creating a two-way conversation with users. Twitter evolved to become an integral part of their marketing efforts showing that H&R Block is a true advocate for the taxpayer.
My own personal Twitter business success story
A couple of weeks prior to the launch, I used Twitter to reach two app developers, which resulted in their participation in the public launch of our iOS app promotion service before we were even live. I found that many app developers are hard to reach, and Twitter is a very useful tool for engaging in conversations with them.
Perhaps even more telling of the business value in using Twitter, as a part of our launch, was how an unsolicited tweet was able to connect me to a writer at TechCrunch named, Gagan Biyani, which ultimately landed us a story in Mobile Crunch. This was no small feat for a company headquartered in central Minnesota, far from Sillicon Valley. Later on, several other tech blogs followed on the TechCrunch coverage and they wrote their own stories. The post Biyani wrote ended up being among the most popular in Mobile Crunch for the entire week – during a week that was competing for coverage against the iPhone 4 launch. Not only was it good industry buzz that resulted in several leads from additional new app developers who wanted to participate in our app promotion service; but it helped provide a big organic boost in early adopters on the consumer side of our service as well, which has provided great feedback while we are in our public beta phase.
I would highly recommend Julio’s book for anyone involved with using Twitter for business purposes. I am also looking forward to reading Julio’s new book when it is published on how businesses are using the iPad.
If you are an app developer interested in tips around the business of apps, I would recommend following @W3i, or if you are interested in following me personally, @robertjweber. Please comment if you have any interesting stories on how you used Twitter to grow your app business.