Whether you are a brand or an influencer, you have most likely been caught up in the race to grow your social media numbers and constantly strive to hit the hundreds, and then thousands, and so on. But what you should really be focusing on is building an engaged community of advocates who genuinely love your brand and content, rather than a large audience that sometimes like what you are doing.
Here are 5 reasons why engagement is more important than follower count.
Reason 1: You Know The Audience Is Real
These days, it is increasingly common for social media account owners to purchase followers and there are so many cheap schemes going around that give you upwards of one thousand new followers for a small fee of $10 (or similar). Whilst these bought followers boost your numbers and make you appear popular, these paid followers will never engage with
Reason 2: User-Generated Content Is Created
If your audience is engaged, chances are they will want to create content about your brand and be an active member of the community. As a result, user-generated content is created, which promotes your brand to an extended network via 21st-century word-of-mouth marketing on social media. Consider Frank Body and their incredible social media success story. With their catchy hashtag, #letsbefrank, and an army of influencers in tow, Frank Body created a community that consumers were desperate to be a part of it. #NextMinute, the movement gained momentum and every second girl in the Frank Body target market (or at least, what seemed like it) was applying
To learn more about the value of user-generated content in your content marketing strategy, checking out this post.
Reason 3: Conversions Are Made
Conversions in the form of sales or clicks (or whatever your KPI is) are ultimately what most influencers, brands and businesses are hoping to achieve from their social media strategy. Don't forget that big numbers don't necessarily mean big conversions, and instead, focus on the fact that having a highly engaged community of customers is much better (and scalable) than a large community of consumers who won't convert to a paying customer. If they are not engaged and interested in your brand, it is highly unlikely that they will be interested in making a purchase. We're not saying that big brands don't drive big conversions (because we sure do know they do)... we're saying that the little guys can compete too if they have an engaged following across their key social media platforms.
Reason 4: You Earn Trust
Sure, having a large following looks good and means your content is likely receiving a lot of impressions, but that doesn't mean anything if the interaction between the account owner and followers is non-existent. Low engagement is often a warning bell to potential new followers as it indicates a lack of trust and authority, while a higher engagement rate often builds trust and peace of mind. This is a big one in the influencer marketing space, as influencers with high engagement often drive the best ROI because consumers value their recommendations. You can calculate the engagement rate (the hard way!) by finding the average post engagement (the average number of likes and comments an influencer receives on their content) and then dividing that number by the total followers, and then x100 to get a percentage. We use the last 12 posts when doing this manually, or you can use Scrunch, which automatically calculates the engagement rate of an influencer based on their last 30 days of posts!
Reason 5: Engaged Followers Build Relationships
Finally, it is important to shift your focus from the numbers to the engagement because it ultimately helps build relationships that last. If you are a B2C (business to consumer) business, you will know that building a relationship with your customers and consumers is critical to the success of your sales funnel, so the best place to start this is your top performing social media platforms.
So next time you stress or feel pressure to grow your social media numbers, consider these 5 points and shift your focus to engagement instead.