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Cultivating Community Through Social Media

As I sit here at this new coffee shop this morning, I had a thought of how I came to be here, how did I find this specific coffee shop to try out? Which then of course snowballed into the question, how do I find most places to go, things to do and things to buy these days? It all comes down to one place I visit every day, Instagram.

The coffee shop I found myself in today, Atmos Coffee Shop, first came to my attention about a year ago when I searched “Chicago Coffee Shops” on Instagram. The search brought up all sorts of shops across the city and one post caught my attention straight away. The look and feel of the reel they posted intrigued me, as well as the mid-century modern atmosphere. It looked like a place I could picture myself, bright and inviting.

I clicked on the link that brought me to their page and was captivated by the aesthetics of the coffee shop, their posts showcasing how they make their coffee so I hit follow and soon after they followed me back. From that day until now they have been ever present on my feed. Everyday posting stories and engaging with their community.

They take it a step beyond just a coffee shop, they are building a community and a shared experience amongst customers and followers alike. Through their active presence on social media, they have generated a larger customer base showcasing events for people in the neighborhood. For example, their Tuesday run club where runner’s meet at the coffee shop for a group run followed by a coffee clutch, an open mic poetry and spoken word night that draws in the local artistic community, and finally teaming up with a local yoga studio for a special yoga and coffee class.

By tuning into and engaging with the people who walk through their door, or following them on Instagram, this merchant knows how to cultivate a positive environment for patrons. Their passion transcends their physical location and can be felt through their Instagram feed, ensuring a uniform experience so by the time you walk through the door, you feel like more than a customer - you feel like family.

Their successful implementation of social media with the focus on not only quality coffee but also quality community has allowed them to expand above and beyond their local neighborhood. It’s no wonder they have recently opened a second location

So today, when I decided to take my work to a nearby coffee shop, I immediately thought of Atmos Coffee Shop. For all the reasons listed above - how could I not?

The truth is social media is just a tool. The concept itself is not new, we are not reinventing the wheel. The way in which we can use this tool is nuanced. Whether you’re a fortune 500 company or a local coffee shop, the goal of social media is to expand your reach and engage your audience - in hopefully an authentic way.

In a post Covid world, businesses can no longer depend solely on their physical spaces. The key to cultivating community through social media is understanding your brand, creating an environment (both physical and digital), and engaging with your audience. Be that through in-person community events or strategic reels on social, finding the harmony between those two spaces is where we see the most success.

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