If you’re one of the 1,575,453 viewers of the Facebook Fraud video, then you already know why all those present on Facebook with their brands have good reason for concern. Long story short, the video shows the black market of the Like economy – with the author’s fan page acquiring fake fans, even though he advertized on Facebook itself and never „bought“ fans on obscure websites. In addition to this newly discovered problem, there is also the one long-familiar to all of us: reach.
If you have a brand, on average only 16% of the fans will see your posts, with the number going as low as less than 3% at times! And there is more: judging by the new algorithm, that number is set to plummet even deeper. At the end of last year Facebook announced that the changes in the algorithm of the news feed would lead to an even more restricted reach:
“People are connecting and sharing more than ever. On a given day, when someone visits News Feed, there are an average of 1,500 possible stories we can show.
As a result, competition for each News Feed story is increasing. Because the content in News Feed is always changing, and we’re seeing more people sharing more content, pages will likely see changes in distribution. For many pages, this includes a decline in organic reach”.
In the past few years many brands have acquired hundreds of thousands of fans on their Facebook pages, spending thousands of dollars building and maintaining those kinds of communities. Now they have to spend thousands more just to get their fans to see their occasional posts. Now imagine they had invested that money in mobile applications that included their communities?
Our favorite such example is the Cigar Dojo App which has had 16,000 downloads and today has around 6,000 registered members!
“These members typically use the app throughout the day to comment and share their cigar knowledge or lack thereof”, says the app’s creator. And these are 6000 diehard fans, truly enthusiastic about cigars.
The advantages of mobile apps where community building is concerned are multiple, but the most important one is definitely complete control. The algorithm changes only if you want it to; you can send posts to your users through push messages (if they have agreed to them); and all your content is within their reach – whether it’s shopping, deals, loyalty programs or blogs. For example, Cigar Dojo will lead you directly to the community with conversations and photo galleries dedicated to cigars. Finally, with your app you have control over who is advertizing on it – you can, but by no means have to, sell your add space.
I know how incredible it sounds, this idea that Facebook will one day cease to be the center of the Internet world, but it’s still true. As someone who surfed on the Yahoo! Directory before there was Google, and who had a Hotmail account before it was owned by Microsoft, I am absolutely positive about this. Of course, Facebook has its uses, yet it seems wiser to put your money where you get the last say.