For canny app developers who want to promote their work effectively, social media is undoubtedly the platform of choice. Survey data indicates that collectively, social media networks account for a full 20 percent of the time that American consumers spend online.

Smart social media marketing makes it possible for developers to zero in on demographic groups with incredible specificity. Ads on Facebook and other social media sites deliver impressive ROI that alternative online marketing tools (such as AdWords) are still struggling to match. Viral marketing is also an even cheaper option for promoting freshly-developed apps.

The one caveat to this form of promotion is that results are very definitely not guaranteed. For every app developer that successfully promotes his or her work via social media, there are several others that waste enormous amounts of time on social media marketing without enjoying any positive results.

One group of developers from Northern California experienced the dark side of social media marketing when they chose this route to promote their upcoming werewolf game. They used multiple platforms (including Facebook and Twitter) to try and advertise their app but ultimately failed to reach the audience they were aiming for. Their chief obstacles were an inconsistent message and an unclear idea of their ideal market.

Unless you approach your social media marketing with an intelligent and consistent strategy, you could be writing a similar story yourself. Here are some good tips to get you started.

1) Zero In On Your Audience

Successful marketing virtually always requires an in-depth understanding of your targeted customers. This is one of the areas where the developers with the werewolf game made a serious error. They spent 18 months developing their app and didn't bother to consider just who would be interested in it when it was done.
With social media tools, it's easy to target an audience bas ed on geography, income, gender, age, and interests. Before you start using these powerful tools, though, you have to know where to aim them.

2) Be Patient And Stay Active

 Big social media followings aren't built in a day. Forget overnight success; you should expect your fan base to be fairly small even after your first month of marketing. One good way to get a following faster is to look like you’re offering someone positive and adding Instagram followers to your account and site can be a good way to do just that.
Social media marketing needs to be a long-term investment. Keep plugging away at it; log in every day and share some fresh content with your followers.

3) Collaborate With

Not every voice that's heard on social media platforms carries equal weight. Influencers in your niche - who might be professionals, fans, or users - wield a disproportionate amount of leverage that you can use to your advantage.

Identify the influencers that matter to your target audience and start reaching out to them. Just remember that you'll need to offer something especially compelling and interesting to earn the attention of professionals and key industry figures.

Remember that most online influencers are in the business of selling advertising space. That means they're on the lookout for fresh content that their own audiences will like - and that's exactly what you should offer them.

4) Harness Your Users

Enthusiastic users can become some of your strongest marketing assets. Establish creative systems that reward users who spread the word about your app. Zynga are the acknowledged masters of this marketing strategy. They build in multiple reward systems in their games that encourage players to reach out to other social media users in many different ways.