As more people & businesses compete for attention on social media—and networks like FB continue to tweak their algorithms—businesses are seeing a steady decline in organic reach.
The most touted solution is to buy social ads. But what if your business does not have a social advertising budget? How could you increase organic reach… organically?
The rise of dark social& messaging apps like Facebook Messenger&WeChat proves that people are seeking personalized engagement & one-on-one connection on social media. This is why creating “micro-communities” could help boost your organic reach, by offering your followers a more tailored & relevant brand experience.
Instead of one general social handle representing everything, a micro-community is concentrated a specific element/aspect of your business. Dedicated customer support accounts and regionalized accounts are common instanced, but you could create a micro-community that revolves around a niche hobby or interest. The most effective micro-communities are not only focused on a business connecting with customers—they are also about connecting customers to one another.
Aside from creating entirely new profiles, here are 3 ways to create and participate in micro-communities on social media.
Start a Facebook group
Businesses have the ability to create FB Groupson their Page. This means you could use your Facebook Page for general information about your organization & key marketing messages while offering more targeted & one-on-one engagement to your most passionate fans.
For instance, reporters from The Washington Post use a group called PostThis – from The Washington Post to talk to the paper’s superfans about how stories come together. This group is a micro-community that lives within The Washington Post’s main FB Page. Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, says it is a “digital version of letters to the editor, but with ongoing real-time discussions.”
Not sure what your group should be about? Identify what it’s about your business that brings people together. A public library could begin a group that acts as a monthly online book club, for instance. A non-profit could start a group dedicated to volunteer opportunities in the community. If you have a product that is a bit more technical, a group could help customers get real-time support & advice from experts at your company/other users.
To create a group on your Facebook Page, simply click on “Groups” on the left side of your Page & you’ll receive this prompt:
Organize or participate in Twitter Chats
A Twitter chat is a public discussion people have at a predetermined day/time using a shared hashtag. They could revolve around a specific industry, topic, or trend—and they’re a great way to encourage engagement among your followers & boost your organic reach.
For instance, TalentCulture, an online community focused on the modern workplace, hosts a Twitter chat each Wednesday using the hashtag #WorkTrends. They discuss topics like technology, workplace culture, recruiting, benefits, and more. They promote the Twitter chat directly in their Twitter bio & introduce each week’s topic in a live podcast.
You could host a Twitter chat about any topic relevant to your business. Just make sure there’s enough subject matter to sustain a regular cadence—whether it is weekly or monthly.
If you are not ready to host your own Twitter chat, finding a relevant one for your business to participate in could help boost your organic presence. Use this comprehensive list of Twitter chats to find one that may fit with your brand & then monitor the chat at least once.
When you have a good sense of who’s participating & what value your business could add, go ahead & jump in. But avoid being overly promotional and self-serving; you are there to add value & insights that people will want to share.
Bring people together with an Instagram hashtag
Instead of only using a hashtag to promote your business, make one that serves as a rallying cry/a badge of honor for a micro-community.
For example, Herschel Supply Company’s #WellTravelled&#CityLimitless hashtags not only encapsulate what the Herschel brand is all about, they attract millions of travel photos from users around the world. This helps boost the organic achieve their brand, both directly and indirectly.
Herschel posts their own product photos with these hashtags, but they share user-generated content that aligns with their visual aesthetic. This helps them update their Instagram account with fresh content that attracts organic engagement, while exposing the incredible photography of their followers to large audiences.
“The #WellTravelled hashtag is a route of escapism on Instagram,” says Sheila Lam, Herschel’s community manager. “We could showcase not only where our product goes, but the stories & people behind it.”
Take a risk & create a hashtag that does not include your brand name (and do not force your product into every photo). Create a hashtag that personifies your brand & then allows your community to define and shape it. The hashtag can take on a life of its own on social media while your brand remains at the center. You will not just increase brand awareness, you’ll cultivate brand loyalty—and increase organic reach while you are at it.