In my last post, How a recession will shape marketing and social campaigns, I looked at the impact recession has on how brands communicate, the importance of organic content and the power of community building.
In this post, I’m going to take a closer look at why your brand should invest in building communities and developing organic social content during a recession.
- Communities spread organic content
Nielsen’s 2021 Global Report found that 89% of consumers trust the recommendations of people they know more than anything else, particularly from peers. This trumps paid advertising.
When people engage with content on social media, it appears in the feeds of their friends, family and followers. So when we see a brand post a friend has liked or commented on, our interest is piqued.
The impressions you get from organic social posts are more valuable than those you get through paid media, because they’re reaching people who already care about you, have a connection to your brand, and share their joy with their network. It stands a much better chance of resonating with people when it’s authentic, rather than artificially placed in their timeline.
- You can’t pay for a campaign to ‘go viral’, you have to create content people want to share organically
Viral impressions from people who engage with content positively or neutrally are worth three times that of organic or paid.
“Going viral” isn’t easy – growth and sharing only comes from consistent investment in organic content. Nobody looks at a brand’s feed in August, scrolls through its feed and decides to follow because the last Christmas campaign was catchy. But they do look at regular, high-quality content. And sometimes that catches the public imagination.
Getting the format right matters.
We’re seeing that full-screen vertical video shorts bring in a lot of views from people who aren’t following the brand. There’s a clear trend for people to scroll through video after video on an app’s home tab.
I’ve seen from my own company that Reels can regularly reach 10x our number of followers, because our content’s great, and we post regularly. If we only posted once every few days, and only used image posts in feeds, our organic content would fall flat because that doesn’t work in today’s social landscape.
- Organic content helps to create a passionate community
If you’re a big brand with a big budget, the impressions your brand gets from organic and viral content will be dwarfed by paid reach. But the organic content will give you better value, and the community you build from that content is priceless.
A community that loves the brand will create its own community-led content around it without needing encouragement (just look at entertainment and gaming franchises and their fans who create and share cosplays, artwork and fan-fiction, for example). All of these things help to keep people engaged in the community and keep shows, games and their characters trending, sometimes years after their initial release.
We also find that a community will defend the brand when, for example, detractors appear in the comments of paid social posts. The brand often doesn’t have to get involved at all.
In some cases, stopping paid social won’t damage the brand if it has a strong and passionate community – stop organic social however, and your community suffers. Fans won’t do all of the work for nothing, they want engagement and responsiveness from the brand (as well as things like original content and sneak peeks).
Organic social and community building doesn’t have to take up all your resources. It does need someone who can really get under the skin of your brand, though. It is a lot harder to build and nurture a community than it is to develop paid social campaigns. It’s a different skill set and approach, and it takes creativity and a detailed understanding of what your community wants from you. If you’re exploring your options for community-building, community-led content or organic social media, do get in touch.