… you would be rich, especially if you were the founder of the company. If you have a large fan base you could own your own version of one of these social networks. It could be your name on the door, your share price being talked about on Wall Street. After all, it is your fans that have gone to Facebook and Twitter (and others), looking for you. You have created all of the valuation of these companies.
So why not create this value for yourself?
I was at a music industry conference this week (Midem) and a Facebook business development guy was on a panel with a few others, talking about big data. It’s all about data these days, knowing where your fans are, what they like, what they’re doing… and how to reach them. This discussion, however, was kind of boring because everyone was being too polite. There was no controversy or debate. But finally one of the music guys pointed out to the Facebook guy the fact that at least 50% of the traffic/users of Facebook were there because they were fans of a particular musician or band. The Facebook guy didn’t argue that point, but he changed the subject pretty quickly.
And there you go. Boom. Your fans went to Facebook and Twitter to follow you, to get closer to you, to get your news and updates. And Facebook and Twitter got all the benefits. They went public based on the value of your fans. You handed your fans to these social networks to do with as they wanted. Sure, they seemed pretty generous in the early days. You could use all of their technology to efficiently communicate with your fans. And in the beginning, with Facebook at least, you could still pull your fans’ email addresses out so you could maintain your own database. But hardly anyone bothered. Bait and switch. You probably didn’t even notice when your posts stopped reaching all of your fans and you couldn’t get your fan email addresses back out of Facebook.
Sure, Facebook couldn’t remain free forever. They needed to make money in order to make the real money, to go public and to reap all of the rewards. They had to change their rules. Once they owned your fans they were not giving them back. They could get brands to pay heftily for reaching your fans. They could charge you for reaching your own fans. They could and they did.
So, what are you going to do now? You still have your fans. But until you find a way to pull them back into a universe you control, where you can reach them directly, you won’t be able to be your own Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.
Here is the math. When Facebook went public the price per active user (901 million monthly active users) was $127. When Twitter went public the price paid per active user (232 million monthly active users) was $137. If you have a million active fans then your fan base could be worth $127 million!
How many active monthly users do you have? How would you even know? You have given them all to these other social networks. But what if you could get them back? They are YOUR fans, right? What if you invited them all into your very own social network, into an old-fashioned fan club where you own the data (their email addresses, their likes)? You would be able to sell ads to brands based on the number of active fans you have – like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter do.
You CAN have a modern version of a fan club, your own mobile fan app. We won’t call you Mark Zuckerberg, but you WOULD own your own Facebook or Twitter. We’d call you smart!
Do the math. The value of your fans should belong to you.