Cody & Angela Shivley created a vibrant community through the worlds largest social platform, Facebook. But what thou provide, thou can also taketh away, right? When you’re not in control of the platform, you’re not in control of the audience. Facebook is a pay-to-play space; that means if you want to reach 100% of your audience with every post, you’re going to have to pay for it.
If you don’t want to pay to play, use Honeycommb. Access to the audience you’ve built shouldn’t cost you every single time you have something to share.
The Honeycommb team wanted to dive a bit deeper on Cody & Angela’s experience and report back on the details about the transition of their audience and how they’ve found success in creating their own platform.
First & Foremost, what prompted the search for a solution outside of Facebook?
Cody Shivley: The current platforms have their purpose and they have helped our community for the time being. However, they also have huge weaknesses. We wanted to capitalize on those weaknesses by giving our community an area outside of them to enjoy.
We created the Humble Acres app with one purpose – to bring value to those we interact with.
There’s no doubt people are spending more and more time online. The jury is out on this one, people unlock their phones and check their respective platforms HUNDREDS of times a day.
We are not rational beings, we base the majority of our decision on emotion, not rationale, and online decisions are not excluded – this is why the current platforms “work” so well. Because of this, we’re under the impression that we are only exposed to content that is positive and relevant – the current platforms do an incredible job at providing this locus of control. But the fact of the matter is we’re exposed to so much negativity without even knowing it. What we ultimately see online is based on our behavior (i.e what we click on), not what we think or necessarily feel. Everything in our current situation is designed to keep us exactly where we are (meta data, cookies, search history etc etc), and if this is bringing anything but value to your life, and in most cases it isn’t, there’s an issue
For awhile we didn’t know how to reach people in regards to how much time they were spending on their devices and the possible negativity they were being exposed to. People aren’t going to give up their devices much less cut down on the time they are spending on them – so we reappraised the situation. If people were going to spend their time online we wanted to create a place that only brought value into their lives.
We control the content through the people we attract. Humble Acres is NOT for everyone (although it could be) and that’s exactly the point.
At the peak of your time on Facebook, what were some of the highlights? I.e. reach, engagement, sales, etc…
CS: Our experience with Facebook has always required heavy promoting and engagement from our end and we never felt like it was a good catalyst for our business. Spending hours a day creating content takes away from our time to run other aspects of our business. This amount of work has a regular reach of 20,000 to 30,000 with 25% engagement.
As our following has grown on Facebook, we also noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult to reach our customers without the use of paid advertisements.Cody’s correct, Facebook is a Pay-To-Play space
Many customers have complained that Facebook does not show our content (that’s also why they love Honeycommb) to them despite setting up their preferences to see our content. With that said our conversion rates from Facebook only reach about 1% despite accounting for 40% of our traffic.
Share some thoughts around the launch process: How simple was it to actually have the app in your hands & did the process feel fast?
This was the simplest process I have ever experienced with B2B. I was expecting a long drawn out process that would take a month or more. We had the app up and running within a week. As a smaller business I can’t express enough the gratitude we have for Honeycommb creating such a seamless process.
How has your audience responded to your new community on Honeycommb?
They love it. They want to learn, be apart of something new, and bring value to one another.
People don’t have an alternative, everyone assumes that Facebook is “it” – it’s the endgame.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. All we had to do was give people an alternative that could truly bring value to their lives and people came.
A quote that sums it up nicely is from a member in our “Healthy Living” group:”
“Hubs came in the kitchen and started dancing with me, even though he couldn’t hear the music! Said he felt the rhythm in my smile. I haven’t been able to dance in 10 years! Life is good!”
How has an owned community impacted the business? i.e. increased sales, traffic, etc..
With Honeycommb, we’ve increased the intimacy between the people we interact and ourselves. We are developing relationships, not attracting customers.
Yes, the traffic will come, the sales will be there, but what type of value are we truly bringing to people? This is where the app really shines. People can now be a part of a community completely separate from all the other bullshit going on online. As a business we are able to fully immerse ourselves in what we do and the people we interact with on a daily basis.
What’s a new value-add that a community app has added to Humble Acres?
The new thing is definitely the app itself. Before Honeycommb, there was no community for our customers outside of Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We had looked into creating a forum on our store site. When we first proposed the idea to our customers, they were ecstatic!
Our customers love having a place where they can talk to us and other customers and not be bombarded with off topic issues and advertising in their feed.
Where do your audience members get the most value out of the community and why?
Simply being an alternative to the norm has brought the most value to our community. People have continually thanked us for being that alternative. Some times its the simplest of things that have the most impact.
What are you most excited about regarding the future of the community you’re building?
The relationships we are building and the value we are bringing to peoples lives.
We have enough “businesses” in the world, let’s focus on taking care of one another.
A big thank you to Cody & Angela for contributing to this piece! To download & join Humble Acres, visit humbleacres.org or download their app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. You can also learn about Humble Acres on their website.
Have something to add or a comment to share? Feel free to reach out to us, let’s talk! Hey@honeycommb.com