How Tech Startups Use Instagram to Showcase Products

Have you noticed more brands appearing on your Instagram feed? I have, and I’m impressed by their ability to showcase uniquely branded content on a platform dominated by personal expression. When I first thought of Instagram as a marketing tool for app companies, I was tripped up by the inherent limitations of tech products. For example, just how many times can you post a screenshot of an app and make it interesting?

But what I’ve seen from tech startups has been delightful, providing an interesting example of how to creatively express tech’s personal side. Here are three techniques that stand out in my Instagram feed as cool ways to present a technical brand:

Show People Having Fun

Both Sago Sago and Duckie Deck (two app companies) post fun and playful images in their Instagram feeds. Sometimes they show real-life products that compliment their apps, or highlight how young ones use apps in a workshop or beta testing environment.

Share The Startup Journey

Cowly Owl, an independent app company from the United Kingdom, shares a fascinating story through special events. Artistic shots of app demo sessions during international conferences, to scenes of awards banquets where the app is recognized, bring followers along for memorable moments inside the life of an app startup.

Use Quotes or Real Life Anecdotes to Differentiate the Brand

Have you heard of The Skimm? It’s a daily email newsletter with down to earth soundbytes of current events. How do you make a text newsletter worth following on Instagram? Somehow they’ve figured this out. Their feed is interspersed with quotations, images of readers skimming in unique locations, insider shots of office life, and humorous twists on word games (like mad libs).

When thinking about marketing plans, let’s not automatically rule out Instagram just because a product doesn’t feel creative enough. The creativity, comes from us.

Lorraine Akemann | Cofounder and Editor | Moms With Apps

A Quick Start Guide To Marketing Your App

My pen was flying over the old fashioned but very useful Steno notepad at Dust or Magic’s Fall conference. Words of wisdom from guest speakers on children’s tech spurred many ideas about apps for kids. But my thoughts lingered on how to ensure parents continue to discover these apps. This list is my 2015 attempt to assemble resources and tips for marketing kids’ apps.

2015 Quick Start Guide to App Marketing

First, do some reading…

Book: Positive Digital Content for Kids

Positive Digital Content for Kids is a book that addresses how to make great content for kids by assembling experiences from industry experts. The book is free to download, and is artistically designed so it’s easy and delightful to read.

Publication: Putting Education in “Educational” Apps

Research about what makes an app educational has actually been done, and is published in the Journal of the Association for Psychological Science. If an app for kids intends to be educational, this article provides a foundation for that claim. It discusses four pillars for an effective educational experience: active involvement, engagement, meaningfulness, and social interaction.

Blog post about marketing after five years on the App Store

Kids’ app maker @Reks has been around since 2010. This company recounts their determination to succeed in the App Store by detailing every marketing strategy along the way. The post also covers how they kept up with changing App Store search algorithms, in addition to promotional strategies.

Then do some networking.

Developer Exchange

Collaborations between developers help everyone understand changes in the marketplace. The Developer Exchange is a private Facebook group for family-friendly app makers to engage in these conversations.

Dust or Magic App Fests & Conferences

Dust or Magic is a regular gathering of children’s tech enthusiasts and professionals who align fundamental theories of child development with interactive product design. Themes in a Dust or Magic conference are about putting the well being of the child first. I’m a big fan. If you come, you’ll meet neat people.

More conferences…

In the past several years I’ve heard about Tech With KidsDigital Kids[email protected]The Kids Want MobileCinekid, and more. Keep your eyes and ears open for an event near you.

Time to get prepared.

Online services directed to children under 13 are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission through the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Know What’s Inside helps developers design their apps with privacy in mind, and also hosts a discovery center to help parents find great apps for kids. Consider registering with Know What’s Inside to understand best practices and to get your apps listed on the website and through the Know What’s Inside social media channels.

Know the platform.

If you are releasing your app on iOS, Apple has developer support pages, forums and guidelines for submitting your app. There is also an email address appstorepromotion@apple.com to let Apple know about your upcoming release.

How about spreading the news?

App Friday has been around for years as a grassroots volunteer effort to put a spotlight on family-friendly apps. This year the team created an email newsletter to distribute new app listings on a weekly basis. Get your new app listed by registering in the App Friday database. Don’t hesitate to self-promote on Fridays using the #AppFriday hashtag on social media.

Feedback is always helpful.

A published review may provide helpful feedback for product development, and testimonials to use for marketing. Teachers With AppsChildren’s Technology ReviewSmart Apps for KidsCommon Sense MediaGraphiteKindertown Digital Storytime and Pappas Appar are all actively publishing reviews. A more complete list of app review sites is published on Pappas Appar here: http://www.pappasappar.se/review-sites/.

Don’t forget to check your iTunes ratings.

The rating your app receives on the iTunes store is important to how a prospective buyer will evaluate your app. Does it have four or five stars? Inviting happy customers to review your app would be a great way to build those ratings early. Consider inviting beta testers to review as soon as the app goes live.

A final checklist for the basics:

  • Icon: Does your App Store Icon stand out?
  • Description: Is your iTunes App Store description readable, and is it linked to your current website?
  • Category: Is your app unique, or is the category or subject you are launching in overcrowded?
  • Keywords: Is your app title intuitive and easy to find with a keyword search?
  • Website: Does your website have a description of your app, a support page, and social media links so customers can get in touch?
  • What else? Gather feedback and experiences from fellow developers. The ones who have been around awhile really know their stuff.

Good Luck!

Need to connect? Find me on Twitter. Happy to help.

@LorraineAkemann | Cofounder and Editor | Moms With Apps

The Story of App Friday

The Story of App Friday: Grassroots App Marketing Powered by Encouragement and Supported by Volunteers, originally posted on Medium by Lorraine Akemann

Recently I’ve been approached with questions about the origins and history of the App Friday program. For those who are involved or interested in apps for kids, here are some details.

App Friday is a grassroots marketing program that started on here at Moms With Apps.

We were a group of parents who created apps. We thought Apple’s App Store would magically connect us with customers as soon as our first app went live on iTunes. We thought we would reach people all over the world through a single, perfectly manicured thumbnail icon. But that wasn’t often the case, so we needed to rethink the situation: how could single digit downloads for our apps increase to double, triple and quadruple digit downloads?

The idea was to collectively generate awareness by featuring an app every week along with a link exchange for cross-marketing. By putting our focus into one community-oriented blog post, we hoped to establish a network effect and thereby market our app.

As Editor and administrator of the blog, I launched the first experiment on March 18, 2010. I packed my app, “My Little Suitcase”, into the guinea pig box and set it free for a day to draw attention to the post. At the same time, all around the world, we exclaimed “App Friday!” to our social media networks. I added a link exchange by Simply Linked so other app makers could post about their apps. Everyone who posted a link, also spread the word about the freebie, and about App Friday. The posts continued weekly for several years, featuring hundreds of apps on the blog.

Facebook Pages were peaking in popularity around the same time App Friday was taking off. George Karavias, a fellow app maker from Greece, pitched in to set up and lead the Facebook page. We started hosting live events on the Facebook page called Download Parties. Developers, parents, teachers and reviewers lined up to hear about app news and deals, while gobbling up promo codes for apps. These virtual events were actively attended, and after a party, the concentrated number of downloads propelled an app’s ranking up the iTunes chart.

But the free app aspect of the program was always controversial. Some believed going free was worthwhile to generate awareness and word of mouth, sort of like a loss-leader advertising program. Others believed going free devalued their apps. There was certainly a trade-off to the strategy, and valid views on both sides. I dove into the topic at the MamaBear Tech Conference in 2013, elaborating on app store optimization trends around free promotions.

Meanwhile, the number of developers participating in App Friday increased. We could no longer fit everyone on a single blog post. Anahelena Natera of Zen Labs Apps suggested a grid layout to more evenly display the apps, and over time with the help of George Karavias and Marcel Widarto, a dedicated website and database was built to host an “App Friday Download Center”.

George and Marcel became pillars of this program, with ideas, camaraderie and technical leadership to build out the site. George even programmed an iOS app for App Friday, showcasing the weekly promotions on mobile, together with video previews for each app (very slick!). Our challenge was how to sustain energy for a time-consuming volunteer effort, while app marketplaces and social media were changing. Facebook Pages lost their organic reach, and the Page structure was no longer conducive to hosting live events. But we kept trying, and enlisted the help of wonderful technical and design contacts (thank you Giorgos and Dimitra) to improve and maintain the site.

Meanwhile, Garry Froehlich of Jellybean Tunes was publishing the App Report, another weekly post he started on the blog at Moms With Apps and then grew into syndication. He understood the linkages between the weekly marketing efforts, and advised and supported App Friday wherever possible. If you visit appfriday.com today, you will see his App Report front and center.

Julie Brannon of TELP Media has been a cornerstone of the app marketing industry for #edtech, and graciously works with Garry every week to support App Friday on social media. Under Julie’s leadership, the three of us co-hosted the first App Friday Twitter party for Back to School this past August. It was a blast to see a live audience of app enthusiasts converge once again.

Our communal #appfriday shout-out continues to ride the rails of social media, advocating for independently made and awesome educational apps. With this collaborative style of marketing, we realize it’s more helpful to support fellow app makers than to compete against each other. Since every learning objective can be reinforced in different ways, there is no “perfect” educational app. Instead, all apps work together to teach subjects like language, math, science and even music.

So next time you see or hear about App Friday, I’d love it if you could just take a moment… Do you have an app on the store? Do you know of a newly released app that you like and respect? Are you curious about new, family-friendly apps? If so, consider channeling your enthusiasm and encouragement through your networks to #appfriday, and then tune in to http://www.appfriday.com and subscribe to the email newsletter. App Friday has been around for five years, and we hope it sticks around for many more.

Extra special thanks toGeorge Karavias, Marcel Widarto, Garry Froehlich, and Julie Brannon for supporting the cause, through thick and thin.

@LorraineAkemann

KNOW What’s Inside™ Partners

KWI Partners

Moms with Apps is a community of app developers making amazing apps for children. Our community benefits from an extensive ecosystem, including the people who highlight members of the KNOW What’s Inside program (app makers who implement privacy best practices in apps for kids). Together, we share the mission of supporting app makers who design products with children in mind. I’d like to recognize our first set of partners so we can start building out our program.

Jellybean Tunes App Report

Every week, Garry Froehlich of Jellybean Tunes produces The App Report, which showcases newly launched, family-friendly apps. This report is syndicated by a group of reviewers who use social media to spread the word. Garry takes time to designate which of the apps are members of KNOW What’s Inside by placing the member logo next to the each applicable app. Thank you GARRY!

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 10.29.42 AMApp Friday

Every week, George Karavias of App Friday publishes a “Download Center” of specially priced, family-friendly apps. These apps receive enthusiastic reception from parents and educators who consistently follow the promotion on the web, Facebook, and Twitter. Each KNOW What’s Inside member has a green checkmark by their app, so consumers know which apps are actively implementing privacy best practices in apps for kids. Thank you GEORGE!

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 10.34.43 AM

Pappas Appar

Daniel Wieselberg of Pappas Appar runs a popular and well respected app review site in Sweden. Daniel adds the KWI Logo to each member he reviews on the site. Additionally, Daniel has added the functionality to search apps according to their characteristics, such as age, gates, category, and ratings. Thank you DANIEL!

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 10.40.16 AM

AppyMall

Siva from AppyMall runs one of the largest online searchable databases for kids’ apps, sorted by “store” category such as Apps for Special Needs, Apps for Middle School, and Apps for Speech and Language. He pays close attention to our KWI members and gives them the spotlight in recognition of their respect for children’s online privacy.

To become a KNOW What’s Inside™ partner, please contact hello@momswithapps.com with an example of how we can increase awareness of KNOW What’s Inside™ members. We can take the conversation from there.

App Developers Speak Up About Design and Policy

Two key events are taking place this week for children’s app developers. First is the Dust or Magic App Camp on the Monterey Peninsula, where a variety of experts share best practices for making interactive media. Kicking off with a “State of the App” panel on trends and news, the conference continued into case studies about building apps for kids. Many of the highlights were tweeted out in the #dustormagic stream. If you are an aspiring app developer and want to learn from industry leaders, here are the people to watch: http://dustormagic.com/appcamp/appcamp-2013-speakers/.

This photo was taken in Merrill Hall at the Asilomar Conference Center, which is where App Camp takes place annually each May.

photo-2

Meanwhile, another group of app developers headed to Washington DC to discuss immigration, STEM and privacy issues with policy makers. Hosted by the Association for Competitive Technology, 50 app developers and tech entrepreneurs met with state senators and local representatives. They visited the White House Office of Science and Technology whose staff advises the President about the internet, innovation and privacy. They also met with the Federal Trade Commission to discuss children’s online privacy and best practices.

Here are some photos of Ann Adair, the mom-with-app from Thinkamingo, on her trip to the White House and Capitol Hill (with Senator Marco Rubio!).

923189_10152826674315627_77792594_n

923538_10200601982186235_530113166_n

941503_10152827599395627_907514860_n

By speaking up and collaborating with others, app developers can make a difference in their industry. The challenging trifecta of ever-changing technology, crowded app stores, and increased regulation are tough problems to solve. But these issues are not impossible with a community dedicated to sorting it all out. Thanks for the photos Ann!

App Store Optimization at MamaBear

On May 10th in Mountain View, the MamaBear Conference will host an agenda for family-friendly technology companies. I’ve been invited to speak on the topic of App Store Optimization, and built a presentation with input from our kids’ app developer community. In case it’s helpful, I will share the highlights of the presentation in this post. If you plan to be at the conference, I look forward to meeting you. –@LorraineAkemann

mamabear-logo

What is App Store Optimization?

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the current buzzterm for SEO in the mobile marketplace, or, getting your app noticed on the app store. I think ASO has both a qualitative side and a quantitative side. If you are a data analyzer and number cruncher, you may pursue ASO with the analysis of app store ranking algorithms and the popularity of keyword search terms. For example, TechCrunch wrote about a new service from AppStoreHQ which tracks search results to provide you with keyword recommendations. Google’s Keyword Tool is another method to track the popularity of keywords. The hope is to describe your app in a way that maps to what consumers are looking for, so your app will pop up in those search results, increasing the chances for more downloads and visibility.

Some notes on Keywords

  • Is your main keyword a popular search (i.e., “spelling”) or in a niche search (i.e., “4th grade spelling words”)? You can tell if a keyword is popular but looking at the top ranked apps in the category, and seeing how many ratings & reviews they have. Tons of ratings can equate to tons of downloads, and more competition. 
  • What are some related keywords that approach the problem from a different direction? In other words, your app is the answer to which questions?
  • What are competitors saying in their app descriptions?
  • Are your keywords embedded into your app description?
  • Have you tried searches with your keyword on different platforms? Are the results different?

More things to consider regarding the visibility of your apps

My argument includes a qualitative angle as well, and centers on three principles: A trustworthy storefront, purposeful promotion, and giving yourself enough room to experiment in a rapidly changing marketplace. To make this argument, I clarify a few assumptions. First, my experience with ASO is based mainly on the iTunes App Store “education” category. Second, I believe that unless you are an App Store employee, many discussions around ASO are speculative because the secret sauce of editorial features and search rankings are proprietary. Third, the experiments we run with ASO are relative to our definition of success. So a hobbyist developer with just one app may take a different approach than a professional developer with 28 apps. In other words, our context can help shape our ASO tool set.

1) Trustworthy storefront

As a consumer, I trust brands that put thought and effort into their appearance. This applies to the app icon’s graphic design, and the clarity and usefulness of the app store description. Specifically:

  • Do the icons stand out?
  • Are the screenshots crisp, bold and professional?
  • When was the app last updated?
  • Are the ratings and reviews favorable?
  • Is there a link to a privacy policy, and easy-to-read disclosures about how the app works?
  • Does the website look legitimate?
  • Can I contact the developer if I have questions or concerns?

2) Promote with a purpose

Let’s assume that you launched a wonderful app and the testimonials are favorable. Maybe you were featured by Apple! But when the feature runs out, your downloads disintegrate, and you wonder what to do next. You consider updating the app, launching a press release, or putting your app on sale. Which way do you turn? Here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t be random. Have a goal associated with your promotion, and coordinate all of the tools in your arsenal to get there. These tools include app updates, PR, blog reviews, iTunes reviews, advertising, price promotions, cross promotions, etc. 
  • Get active in your community so fellow reviewers and developers can extend the reach through cross-marketing.
  • Consider the risks for each promotional tactic. For example, if you update the app, the reviews are reset. If you go free, it doesn’t translate into an immediate uplift in sales. If you market with bloggers and throughout social media, it takes time. If you implement in-app promotional mechanisms like push notifications or rate/review pop-ups, you might come across as spammy. Strike a balance and have a strategy.

3) Give Yourself Room To Experiment

Your app is at the mercy of the App Store. The app stores change constantly. They have terms and conditions that can impact whether your app makes the cut. They have new products that launch, cannibalizing your original product. They have their own priorities that may conflict with your priorities. Yesterday developers were concerned about whether to make a LITE version of their app. Today, they are deliberating whether to make it FREE with In App Purchase. Yesterday families shared an iPad in the home. Today 10 year olds are getting their own Kindle Fires as a birthday present. The challenges of this marketplace will change over time. The question is whether you have enough time and patience to keep experimenting while doing your best possible work.

CREDITS: Thank you to our kids’ app developer community who reviewed the presentation and offered data and feedback. Specifically, the team at App Friday, L’Escapadou, Jellybean Tunes App Report, PKCLsoft, Thinkamingo, AppsKidsLove, The Blue Jackal, and the many many independent developers who strive to answer these questions daily. 

How many downloads did you get, and why?

Once an app is launched, how many downloads can an app developer expect to sell? This is a constant question in the mobile app community. What number of downloads is average, what events trigger a spike in downloads, and how can those spikes be sustained?

Case studies have been published from our community in hopes of solving those mysteries. My favorite posts include charts, graphs, and summaries of personal experience. We all know the holy grail of an app launch is to be featured by the app store, but that scenario is tough to guarantee. Meanwhile, developers must assemble a tool set for increasing the visibility of their app. Here are three experiences from developers who share the results of their app launches and promotions:

Artgig Apps & Marble Math Jr.

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 3.51.31 PM

Note: Pay attention to how the app stores are categorizing and curating featured apps, and how apps can benefit from their position on the app store even some time after launch. See full post at http://artgig.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-case-of-mystery-app-store-sales.html.

PKCLsoft and the Launch of Claustrophobic (short term & long term results)

prepostsalesmath

Note: This is a two part analysis including the initial launch and a follow up several months later. Peter details his experience with setting some of his math apps to free during App Friday and with App Advice, and how those promotions impacted the downloads of his new app. Then he does a follow up promotion and compares the difference between having apps in the “games” versus “education” category. See first post here http://www.pkclsoft.com/wp/?p=531 and second post here http://www.pkclsoft.com/wp/?p=565.

L’Escapadou and his Educational App Sales for 2012

perproduct1year

Note: This is a comprehensive summary of Pierre’s downloads for every app during 2012. He points out which app sold the most, where in the rankings an app can benefit from “inertia”, and his localization strategy. He also discusses the impact of press mentions, keeping your app updated, and recaps with specific recommendations for app marketing. This article is a “must read” for anyone entering the educational app space . See full post here http://blog.lescapadou.com/2012/12/my-sales-experience-in-education-app.html.

Insights and Advice for App Developers, from #fourlittletesters

This is a guest post recorded by Ole from AppsAndKids.com based on an App Friday interview with Andy from Four Little Testers (#fourlittletesters). If you are an app developer getting ready to market your app, this dialog will provide some insight from the reviewer’s point of view. 

150508_439670016089174_1847626867_n

Could you tell us about #fourlittletesters?

I am really a Daddy Blogger that uses twitter (@4littletesters) to engage with indie developers to provide help, advice and quality testing! I set up a blog to share our opinions with parents, but the developers wanted reviews to promote their apps. As a rule I only actually write reviews for apps we all like.

I recently started a Facebook site too, as I find it is a better medium for collaboration and sharing.

I have four children that love technology and apps, so it seems to make sense to get them involved.

I also try to provide the developers with feedback and insight that will help themselves and the apps they deliver to their customer.

How long have you been reviewing apps Andy?

About 1 year officially. Unofficially since the launch of the iPad!!

Unofficially – how was that?

I started providing feedback to the ‘big boys’ in the market place to try and improve the things that didn’t work, but they weren’t so interested. Indie developers are passionate and always want to improve. From then on I set out to help the ‘small guys and girls’.

What part of it do you like the most?

I like when developers ‘get’ what I have said and make immediate changes for the next release. Being an IT professional I want to make my reviews and feedback very repeatable and ensure that I add the lessons learned on my blog.

How do you select apps to review?

I don’t select apps or go looking any more, developers find me. Beta testing is what I want to do most.

I have seen that you do some things differently. Could you tell what are they?

Many indie developers cannot afford beta testers, so they get family and friends to help review their apps. This is good but friends will never tell you the truth. I don’t hold back. I provide direct feedback and commentary from Jake, Ethan, Finn & Poppy (my kids) as this is the most valuable to the developers.

I document what they do, what they say and their general reaction, good or bad.

There are hundreds of sites that can get you promoted and help increase your sales, but I try to help make your apps better, and feel that is the difference.

Andy, How old are your kids?

Jake is 9, Ethan is 8, Finn is 5 and Poppy is 2.

And for the parents? 

Everything I do is to benefit the customer. Parents are swamped with apps and the prices are varied. The last thing you want is to spend money and then complain when things don’t work or apps are buggy. I promote Lite apps to all the developers, so they can get parents to ‘Try before they Buy’.

I would be pleased to send our apps for review. How can I do that?

I am very approachable 🙂 Please contact me via Facebook or find us on Twitter for a conversation! Once we chat I will send you my email address and we go from there. Also check out http://fourlittletesters.tumblr.com/tagged/intro.

A final question. What do you think are the best ways to find good apps for kids? Any advice you can give to parents?

I am always on the lookout for great apps, and to be honest there are so many on the App Store, so as a parent you need to get inspiration or recommendations from somewhere.

Pages like MomsWithApps, App Friday, AppAble, Apps Playground, Best Apps For Kids, Best Kids AppsApps for Kids, AppySmarts, A Byte of This -N- That, also not forgetting ReviewForDev which I am now a member of.

Anything else you would like to add?

A few pieces of advice for app developers:

  • Get the category right. I find that it is so so important for developers to get the category and placement right, as Apple do not make it easy with no dedicated categories for kids.
  • First impressions count. Spend time on brand, app names, icons and plan for the future because names stick.
  • Go Lite. Parents love to try and see the app and if their children like it, and if they do they soon buy the full app.
  • Look at systems like Test Flight to beta test your apps and invite others like #fourlittletesters.
  • Don’t go cheap on voice overs.
  • Always include original music. Music makes kids happy.

I would like to say thank you to Andy for being with us today! 

Thanks for having me, and anyone can feel free to find me on Facebook and Twitter for any further chats.

flt_small

Making Sense of the Apple Volume Purchase Program

Our guest post this week is written by Bob Dronski, creator of EdgeMates, and an IT resource at his local school. Bob has just given me the equivalent of an entire course on bulk purchasing for educational apps, and I still have more to learn. Thanks Bob for taking the time to enlighten us about the Volume Purchase Program!

We developers know how to upload our apps to the app store, but how do schools actually buy them in quantity and at a discount? I have the joy of experiencing both sides of the process, as I’m also the IT guy for an elementary school who was an early adopter of iPads. Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about the Apple Volume Purchase program (VPP for short.)

When a developer creates an app, they have an option of whether to participate in Apple’s Volume Purchase Program. If they check the box, that means their app is available to schools for bulk purchasing at a 50% discount.

There are several hoops a school has to go through. First, they apply and get approved by Apple.  Once that happens, the bureaucratic fun begins!

The big kahuna is the Program Manager, who is in charge of purchasing “Volume Vouchers” for the school.  These are elegant little cards that are physically sent to the school.  (You read that right. Nothing is offered electronically.)


This is the only way a school can fund their account. They cannot use gift cards, nor any existing credits in any other AppleID accounts.  As a matter of fact, even existing AppleID’s from a teacher’s personal account cannot be used. Everyone involved must create their own new AppleIDs and use them exclusively with the Volume Purchase Program.

The Program Manager then creates Program Facilitators.  The Program Facilitators are the people who actually get to order the apps, and they each have an AppleID.  If there is only one person who is both the Program Manager (purchaser) and Program Facilitator (app downloader), a separate AppleID is required for each role.

Here’s where it really gets interesting.  If you have multiple Program Facilitators, the Program Manager must give a separate volume voucher to each Program Facilitator.  You cannot split the value of a card between Program Facilitators.  For example, if you have a $100 card, you can’t use it by giving $50 worth of credit to two different Program Facilitators.

Facilitators then go to the Education Store to order apps. They can order any quantity of apps, but need to purchase at least 20 to receive the 50% discount. Upon purchase, the deliverable is a CSV file containing redemption codes. These redemption codes look just like promo codes, but the file also includes a little more bookkeeping type information for each entry.

So what happens with the codes?  That depends on how the school wants to treat them, or more accurately, who should actually own the apps. There are two schools of thought on this (no pun intended). Some schools create their own accounts and redeem the apps that way.  The apps are the property of the school, and can be synced and transferred between  as many devices as the school has licenses. Other schools look at apps as consumables, like any other office supply. They have teachers and students redeem the codes with their own AppleIDs. That way the teachers and students own the apps themselves.  It becomes a matter of what keeps more bookkeeping sense.

Who would have believed so much happens when we developers click the “Discount for Educational Institutions” checkbox?

Note from the Editor: While working with Bob on this post, I discovered many more questions about how schools sync and license apps to multiple devices. Feel free to add comments about topics you’d like to clarify or see addressed. 

Social Media Checklist

Our guest post this week is written by Maggie Sheldon of Learning Touch, with a summary of social media tools app developers can use to promote their apps. As we gear up for Back To School app promotions, now would be an excellent time to ensure your marketing profiles are in order. Thank you Maggie!

Pinterest

Pinterest can help you make sure your marketing plan fits the 80/20 ratio by allowing you to quickly and easily create and share visually appealing content. With Pinterest, you can tell a story about who you are, not just what you’re selling. Create a Pinterest account here: http://pinterest.com/ 

Twitter

Twitter is an interactive way to get in touch with busy moms who love freebies. There are also lots of discussions on Twitter hosted by educators, SLPs and so on. Create an account here: twitter.com and here: hootsuite.com (hootsuite helps you schedule tweets and keep track of your links). 

Facebook

Facebook is a helpful tool to engage with your users and have more lengthy conversations than you can have on Twitter. When using Facebook, try to give your user a way to engage with you – that can mean answering a question, voting on future product features, getting a freebie, sharing with you. If you’re asking a question, prompt a friend or family member to be the first responder. Facebook users can be a little gun shy.

Create a Facebook page here: facebook.com

You can tag other pages that you’ve liked by using the @ symbol and then typing their name such as @Learning Touch

If you have 400 Facebook likes or more, Facebook allows you to promote your posts. I have found promoted posts to be much more cost effective than a sponsored story. Paying $5 to $10 bucks (the price depends on your followers) gets your post in the feeds of your Facebook likers who may not have recently interacted with your Facebook page. Promote posts where there’s something in it for your fan do better than just sales pitches. Make sure that you have some type of image in your promoted post. Posts with images tend to do better than ones without. 

LinkedIn

This is a professional network, but it’s also a tool for distributing news about your app to interested colleagues in your field. Create an account: linkedin.com 

Blog

A blog is useful for posting your email campaign content, hosting giveaways, and providing information about your brand. Consider making a blog with http://www.tumblr.com/, http://wordpress.org/ or http://www.blogger.com/.

Email

Sending out periodic emails is a another way to reengage with existing customers. For smaller lists (under 10,000), I recommend using MailChimp. There are some great widgets that you can use on your Facebook page and in your app for getting users to sign up. MailChimp also has lots of tips and tricks for getting your emails open and read. Check it out: mailchimp.com.

Email Signature

Not having an email signature is a missed opportunity to gain more social media followers. I use wisestamp.com and include links to my Facebook Page, Twitter and Pinterest account.