“And YOU need an app! And YOU need an app!”
In 2014, the number of mobile users overtook the number of desktop users worldwide. Logically, mobile app usage over the last couple years has been steadily climbing as well, from 21.6 billion app downloads in 2011 to an estimated 224.8 billion downloads in 2016. Apps are where it’s at! Particularly, social media apps are among the most popular and most frequently used apps.
But I’m not here to tell you to be active on social media. I’m going to assume you already know that. I’m here to present the novel, and potentially intimidating, idea that you need your own social media app. An app that is branded and marketed by your business, that is used by your current, future, and potential customer base.
I can already hear all of your responses – why would we need our own app? All of our users are on Facebook or Instagram. We have tons of followers and we’ve already got a bomb-diggity marketing strategy up and running over there. Why waste the time and resources in building our own app?
Well, let me draw your attention to the dreadful day of reckoning that was Facebook’s algorithm change. In response to the cries of the people, Facebook strangled the organic reach of business pages in favor of the user’s friends and family. From a personal standpoint, I thought this was a fantastic move. From a marketing standpoint, I died a little inside (am I being dramatic enough yet?).
So Facebook is making it difficult (and sometimes expensive) to reach your customers. Even if you do have a lot of likes on your page, what percentage of them are actually seeing your content when you post it? Are your engagement numbers really where you want them to be?
And maybe you’ve turned to Instagram to expand your now limited reach. But ask yourselves this: what are you going to do when Instagram does the same thing Facebook did with their algorithm (as we can already see beginning to happen)? Where are you going to go? You may have this incredible reach to your customers and users now, but that could all go up in smoke just as quickly as it did on Facebook. I’ve already seen this begin to happen. Over the last month or so, several businesses my team has spoken with began to see their engagement numbers drop drastically after a stealthy Instagram update that no one knew was coming.
Having your own app with a loyal user base would keep you protected from these kinds of changes on the major platforms. Content that your business publishes would never get hidden or suppressed. In fact, with your own app, you could ensure that all of your followers will see your content, every time. Additionally, you’d have the perfect ecosystem where you could float ideas to see how your customers would react, you could easily get a bird’s eye view of what your target audience is interested in and you’d have a customer service tool that you could use to improve brand perception and customer satisfaction.
It’s important to start building out your contingency plan now, so to speak. You have the reach! Encouraging current followers to be active on your app now will ensure that you can continue to interact with those customers, even when Instagram presses the big red button.