Using Micro-Communities to Boost Organic Reach on Social Media

As more people and businesses compete for attention on social media—and networks like Facebook continue to tweak their algorithms—many businesses are seeing a steady decline in organic reach.

The most touted solution is to buy social ads. But what if your business doesn’t have a social advertising budget? How can you increase organic reach… organically?

The rise of dark social and messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WeChat proves that people are seeking personalized engagement and one-on-one connection on social media. This is why creating “micro-communities” can help boost your organic reach, by offering your followers a more tailored and relevant brand experience.

Instead of one general social handle representing everything, a micro-community is focused on a specific element or aspect of your business. Dedicated customer support accounts and regionalized accounts are common examples, but you could create a micro-community that revolves around a niche hobby or interest (as long as it relates to your business). The most effective micro-communities aren’t only focused on a business connecting with customers—they’re also about connecting customers to one another.

Aside from creating entirely new profiles, here are three ways to create and participate in micro-communities on social media.

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1. Start a Facebook group

Businesses have the ability to create Facebook Groups within their Page. This means you can use your Facebook Page for general information about your organization and key marketing messages, while offering more targeted and one-on-one engagement to your most passionate fans.

For example, reporters from The Washington Post use a group called PostThis – from The Washington Post to talk directly to the paper’s superfans about how stories come together. This group is a micro-community that lives within The Washington Post’s main Facebook Page. Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, says it’s 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 is about your business that brings people together. A public library could start a group that acts as a monthly online book club, for example. A non-profit could start a group dedicated to volunteer opportunities in the community. If you have a product that’s a bit more technical, a group could help customers get real-time support and advice from experts at your company or other users.

To create a group within your Facebook Page, simply click on “Groups” on the left side of your Page and you’ll receive this prompt:

2. Organize or participate in Twitter chats

A Twitter chat is a public discussion people have at a predetermined day or time using a shared hashtag. They can revolve around a specific industry, topic, or trend—and they’re a great way to encourage engagement among your followers and boost your organic reach.

For example, TalentCulture, an online community focused on the modern workplace, hosts a Twitter chat every Wednesday using the hashtag #WorkTrends. In the chat, they discuss topics like technology, recruiting, benefits, workplace culture, and more. They promote the Twitter chat directly in their Twitter bio and introduce each week’s topic in a live podcast.

You can 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’s weekly or monthly. For more tips, check out our step-by-step guide to hosting successful Twitter chats.

If you’re not ready to host your own Twitter chat, finding a relevant one for your business to participate in can help boost your organic presence. Use this comprehensive list of Twitter chats to find one that may fit with your brand and then monitor the chat at least once.

When you have a good sense of who’s participating and what value your business could add, go ahead and jump in. But avoid being overly promotional and self-serving; you’re there to add value and insights that people will want to share.

3. Bring people together with an Instagram hashtag

Instead of only using a hashtag to promote your business, create one that serves as a rallying cry or a badge of honor for a micro-community.

For example, Herschel Supply Company’s #WellTravelled and #CityLimitless hashtags not only encapsulate what the Herschel brand is all about, they also attract millions of travel photos from users around the world. This helps boost the organic reach of their brand, both directly and indirectly.

Herschel posts their own product photos with these hashtags, but they also share user-generated content that aligns with their visual aesthetic. This helps them regularly update their Instagram account with fresh content that attracts organic engagement, while exposing the incredible photography of their followers to a large audience.

“The #WellTravelled hashtag is a route of escapism on Instagram for us,” says Sheila Lam, Herschel’s community manager. “We can showcase not only where our product goes, but the stories and people behind it.”

Take a risk and create a hashtag that doesn’t include your brand name (and don’t force your product into every photo). Create a hashtag that personifies your brand and then allow your community to define and shape it. This way, the hashtag can take on a life of its own on social media while your brand remains at the center. You won’t just increase brand awareness, you’ll cultivate brand loyalty—and increase organic reach while you’re at it.

For more tips, check out our definitive guide to using Instagram hashtags.

Nurture and engage your micro-communities alongside your other social media efforts using Hootsuite. From one dashboard you can easily manage all your social channels, collect real-time data, and engage with your audience.

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