The Rise of Enthusiast and Expert Communities
In this exclusive post, Socialgist Chief Product Officer Jay Krall discusses the state of social media and PR as it relates to B2B, data privacy considerations, and much more.
As advertising spend consolidated over the past decade, marketers watched their organic reach decline. “Pay to play” was the only option, with independent researchers finding in 2020 that organic content reached only 7% of a Facebook page’s audience. Startups spend up to half their capital on Facebook and Google ads. Throw Amazon into the mix, and the three companies control a combined 64% share of the US digital ad market. It was only a matter of time before brands started looking elsewhere, in search of destinations where paid and organic reach could once again complement each other.
Now, brands are looking beyond the giants, embracing the power of crafting campaigns for enthusiast audiences and expert communities across other platforms. They’re rediscovering what made the early social Web great in the first place:
- Strong communities with volunteer moderators enforcing contextually appropriate conversation standards, as on Reddit
- Experts discussing in-depth business and technical topics, as on Quora
- Young, visual tastemakers continuing to congregate on Tumblr
- The rise of the individual investor enlivening sites like InvestorVillage.com.
- The unrivaled passion found in hundreds of thousands of hobbyist forums globally, for example, those of Canada’s VerticalScope network
It’s here, beyond the walls of big-tech empires, that marketers are reconnecting with their audiences on their own terms. At Socialgist, we’re proud to partner with these companies on data governance programs that help advertisers understand audiences within privacy-first frameworks.
Of course, connecting with audiences away from the giants takes a slightly different mindset. Long-tail platforms typically hold fewer data points on users, requiring you to take the time to understand which communities to connect with. That means reading and engaging with conversations on forums to understand accepted norms and tones before you create marketing content, bringing marketing efforts back to their organic roots.
This first-move advantage on long-tail properties won’t last forever. Brands that focus on community-building now will have a big advantage as advertising spend diversifies anew.