Facebook down – Why you should build your community on your own stack
Is now the time to consider a custom web application for your community?
On the 4th October 2021, the social media giants Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp went down for six hours.
While in the long term history of those platforms six hours is a relatively short period of time, for many business owners, influencers and entrepreneurs reliant on social media for their audience or community, the six-hour wait felt lengthy.
Why? Because for those six hours, there was no contact with their community. Worse still, there were questions about what would happen to their wealth of content if these platforms were to never come back.
If you are building a community to grow, you should look to build it on your own stack.
Yes, social media can be a great starting point for picking up your first 100 followers, but for long-term growth, stability and content, a website or web application might be your next step.
Own your own content
Instagram Reels, Facebook posts, TikTok videos, Twitter threads, Instagram stories – these are all great ways to entice and engage your audience. They get the ball rolling and conversations started, but at the end of the day, by uploading to social media, you no longer own that content. If social media was gone tomorrow, so are your videos, posts, captions and comments.
Worse still, once someone has scrolled on by, they might not catch sight of or rediscover your valuable content again.
It’s so important in 2021 to own your own content. Host the seminars, blog posts, videos, images, infographics on a platform you have ownership and control over.
While it is super unlikely the giants like Facebook and Instagram would be here today, gone tomorrow, you never know when these platforms might lose popularity (remember Myspace?) or change their algorithm.
So what should your community stack look like?
Every community is different. There isn’t a one size fits all approach to community stack – consider it more of a toolbox, where you can pick and choose based on your audience.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room… Social media isn’t always the bad guy. It’s a useful way to get your message across, start conversations and pick up followers. The important thing to remember is the goal of the next step. Get people talking and link them to content stored on your own site or membership platform. Show them a 30-second clip of your recent video then entice them to click a link to view the rest.
Consider the demographics of your target audience when choosing your social media platforms. While TikTok might be the talk of the town, you might not get much traction if you’re targeting older generations. Do your research before you invest hours.
Once somebody has stumbled across your community, your number one goal should be to get their email address. A quick and easy text box that requires minimal buy-in from them, but provides you with an opportunity to remind them that you exist. Email is a good starting point for talking to your community, showing them what you have to offer and providing them with the answers to the questions they might be asking – whether it’s a link to a video or blog post, or perhaps an invitation to an online event.
A website is a great place to showcase who you are and what you do. It can include informative content such as blog posts, imagery and video all about who you are and what you do. But to take your community to the next level, you need to offer a place to engage, and that’s where a community web application comes in…
Community web application or software
Your own platform is the ideal home for your community, built by a trusted team of developers who have your audience at the forefront of their minds.
Web applications are flexible extensions of your brand that offer functionality to enable your community to connect, whether it’s an educational platform full of video content, a conferencing platform with live seminars and chat functionality, or a forum-type app to get people talking.
Gather the requirements of your community, write a list of recommended features, tailored to their needs, and write a brief for your web application.
With a bespoke platform, the sky is the limit and if your hosting and maintenance package is up to scratch (like with Steadfast+) you shouldn’t need to worry about any hours of downtime.
Steadfast Collective specialise in community-focused web applications and digital products. Get in touch today to discuss a custom web application for your community.