As an influencer, you have a lot of power when it comes to building your brand and reaching your audience. In the past, social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube have been the primary way to connect with your followers and share your content. However, these days there is a new trend emerging in the influencer world: custom community apps.
Custom community apps are becoming increasingly popular because they offer a number of benefits that generic social media platforms simply can't provide.
As social media platforms become more crowded, it's harder for influencers to stand out. That's why many are turning to custom community apps as a way to better engage with their fans and followers.
A custom community app gives you a space that is 100% your own. You can control the look and feel, the features, and who has access. This allows you to create a unique experience for your fans that they can't get anywhere else.
Community apps also have the potential to be much more engaging than traditional social media platforms. With custom features and content, you can encourage your fans to interact with each other and with you in new ways. This deeper level of engagement will help you build stronger relationships with your community.
If you are an influential person online, you have worked very hard to get there. Getting north of 100k followers on Instagram is not an easy task! You have proven tremendous tenacity and endurance. Above all, you most likely do what you love and educate and inspire millions of individuals by creating meaningful content. You make the world a better place by being you.
That’s amazing and deserves to be celebrated.
What has enabled your talent to be consumed by so many is information technology and the internet. You remain the same authentic individual, while the world of technology grows around you - all you have to do is harness it. There are a lot of different content formats for a lot of different personality types, daily routines, and interest groups.
It is an ever-changing landscape and if you’re not careful content might be swallowed up by the next big platform coming just around the corner.
Do you remember Myspace? Cable television? Those technologies are now a thing of the past. By coming to an agreement with new technological changes and embracing them rather than avoiding them, you will be able to maximize your reach and earning potential. You don’t change what you’re doing, only the technologies you use to communicate does.
Let’s talk business.
Take a short look at your competition. The influencer with the same amount of followers as you. A few different opinions about the topics you cover, but all in all a good person working in the same direction as you are. You might spot that some of them make a lot of money and others do not.
This comes down to the vital flaw of how influencers decide to monetize their work online. The most common way is to go live on a generic social media platform and sell shoutouts, or as they are commonly called, “sponcon”. This is done by working with brands to promote their products in exchange for money or freebies.
The average price of a shoutout from an influencer with 100k followers can be upwards of $1000.
With some quick math, if you do one shoutout per day you make $365,000 per year. That is not too shabby! But what if we told you that you could make so much more? What would your life look like then?
The reason why most influencers don’t make more money is that they have not taken their fans from a generic social media platform to their own custom community app. There are many reasons for this, but the most common is that they do not know it is possible.
The first and most obvious benefit is that you make more money. By having your own custom community app, you are able to charge your fans a monthly subscription fee without having to pay a portion to the platform. It all goes in your pocket.
The average custom community app charges between $5-$20 per month per subscriber. If you have 100k followers and 10% of them subscribe to your custom community app, that’s $1 million per year! And that’s just with 10% of your followers. Imagine if you could get 20% or more.
The average influencer cannot live off of affiliate links or marketing contracts. Affiliate programs are not primarily designed for influencers. Your fans hate those links and don’t think clicking them has anything to do with following your brand anyway.
The smart influencer sells something they are the owner of. Some sell a course, others a book. What they do is use what they love doing and create products that they believe in. Then they transfer the value they created to their fans. They will be happy to pay for your product because it’s from you.
Do you remember the Facebook Ad from Meta a few years back promoting their group feature?
If Meta thinks it’s worth promoting its entire brand by showcasing that they have a friendly place for a collection of like-minded people, closed communities are certainly worth a second glance.
How amazing would it be to be the owner of your own small followership community? But custom communities are not only for influencers with a lot of followers. They can also be for small micro-communities.
The next time you see a beautiful dress, an amazing meal, or anything that catches your eye, ask yourself: “What community does this belong to? What am I willing to do to get access to it?" Nowadays, there are custom community apps for every industry and interest you can think of.
For influencers, building their own custom community app is the best way to monetize their followership in the long term. The larger your audience grows, the harder it will become to weed out the random comments from your true follower's comments. You want to stay in touch with the people who value your work. Not bots.
Because of technological progress, it is very easy nowadays to build a community application that your followers can download to their phone, read content offline, and communicate with you and with each other. As the creator, you also get to add moderation tools that help you manage your community more effectively.
Having additional equity will set your mind at ease and increase stability for you while giving your followers the attention and value from you that they deserve.
You could try to do it yourself, but unless you are a technical expert or have a technical co-founder, we would not recommend building your app yourself. The best way is to partner with a venture studio that has a long track record of delivering successful influencer community apps to the market.
NineTwoThree has a team of experienced entrepreneurs, developers, and designers who have built custom community apps for some of the biggest influencers in the world. They can help you every step of the way, from ideation to marketing all while avoiding the 30% fee monster.
Dennis Bosch, is a writer at Passivebasics: a Technical Newsletter for non-technical Founders. Learn the top-down basics of Web Apps, APIs, Git, Docker, ML/AI, et al. without the usual hassle. You can also follow them on Twitter @passivebasics.