So Your Friend Launched an App. Here Are 7 Ways to Help.
If you’re reading this, hopefully a friend sent you here to find a list of ways to help promote a recent app launch. Friend launches are surprisingly common, at least in Silicon Valley, but I’ve only ever seen tutorials about promotion for app makers, not for their friends. Well, here it is. If you see something missing, please email me.
1. Use the App and Give Feedback
Download the app, signup, and think about your experience. What was hard? What was easy? Deliver this feedback as fast as possible.
Please try to be precise. Instead of “it felt slow”, say “when I connected with Facebook, it took a few seconds to respond”. Trust me, this makes a world of difference for new apps. Consider giving this feedback in private, though a positive public response to your constructive feedback is good PR.
2. Rate the App 5 Stars, and Write a Positive Review
This is disproportionately important. You might think you are a drop in the bucket, but actually less than 1% of people leave reviews. You can help the app get more organic growth by leaving a positive review.
Just think about how you decide to try a new app. You probably look at the screenshots and see if the reviews are good. You probably also only look at the top search results. Rating the app can be a huge help for people like you trying to find good apps.
3. Tell Your Friends About the App
This can be as simple as tweeting about a launch. Make sure to link to the new app’s homepage, or maybe even directly to the app store. Because of the Android / iOS divide, linking to the homepage is the safest bet. On Twitter and Facebook, it is much better to link to a homepage than a @username because the action to take on the homepage is clearer.
If you think someone would really like it, send an email. This kind of trusted recommendation makes a world of difference. Again, make a link to a place to can get the app (app store search rankings aren’t very good).
Think about groups of friends too: a Facebook group, a company social list, or a school group. Try to keep it relevant to the group.
4. Promote the App on Sites Like Hacker News and Product Hunt
Most app launches become stories on Hacker News, Product Hunt, and sometimes Reddit. Often times the founders of the companies are there in the comment threads answering questions. This is an awesome trend, and you should help out by registering on the sites and voting up the story and the comments from people at the company.
Leave a supportive comment. Better yet, ask a question about how they made a certain product decision, or what motivated them to build the app in the first place. Ask about their team or their technology.
Sites like this can detect spam, so do not publicly post links asking others to upvote the store.
5. Shares Press Stories about the App
On every news story, there are buttons to share the story on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
Use them all, it is really easy. This helps the stories get more attention in places like the Facebook news feed and the Twitter discover tab. Plus it helps the app get more press because editors pay attention to traffic of their stories. More traffic means more future attention.
6. Ignore Haters
I’m not sure why, but when something brand new comes out, trolls come out of the woodwork to nitpick. If the app just launched, there are going to be a million things wrong. If the idea is audacious, people will say it won’t work. If the idea seems simple, people will say it isn’t audacious and whine about moon landing blah blah blah.
The best thing to do is ignore them and down-vote the comments. Getting into an argument with a troll is exactly what they want.
You can also put your friend who makes the app in an difficult position if you misrepresent their company. Do they get dragged into the muck to clear things up? Or do they ignore the thread and let it fester? Both are bad.
The way to beat haters is to increase the volume of good dialog. Again, leave a supportive comment or question, and then the positive conversation will build a bridge over the trolls.
7. Follow the App in Social Media.
Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter. Follow their company LinkedIn page (this helps with recruiting). Subscribe their mailing list, or their blog mailing list. Follow both your friend and their company on AngelList (this helps with fundraising and recruiting). Companies often make this easy by linking to these places on the bottom of their homepage.
8. Tell Me What is Missing
I hope to keep this post is evergreen, so if I left anything out, please email [firstname.lastname@example.org](email@example.com)
Helping your friends should take just a few minutes, and they’ll really appreciate it!