The day has come. The discussion has officially shifted from “how many followers do you have?” to “what’s your engagement rate?” To prove this point, social media influencers are taking to apps that remove ghost (inactive) followers from their Instagram account in order to improve their engagement rate. What it really comes down to is the discussion of a social media following of quality vs. quantity.
As a digital marketer for small businesses, I am happy to have this conversation. I never quite understood the draw to have 10,000+ followers if 80% of them reside in India (where none of our businesses are based, sell a product or offer services). While having a social media following that is large AND engaged is the ideal scenario, many brands and influencers fail to assess whether that is the case. When working with businesses, our mission is to build more than a following — it’s to build a genuine community.
Impersonal Following vs. Genuine Community
What a loyal community can be for you that an impersonal following cannot, is your advocate. Brand advocates are valuable both online and off. They genuinely care about your product or services because they actively appreciate the ways in which it can improve their own life. More than just seeing your content and giving it a double tap, they go out of their way to share your brand with others that might also find your product or service useful.
One of our Digital Marketing client’s is Party at the Moontower Event Rentals. They serve the wedding and corporate event industry here in Austin. We’ve helped them build both an engaged online following and a real-life community. Their Instagram profile is frequently tagged or shared by the community we’ve helped build when their own friends is getting married or associate is looking for chairs for their annual Christmas party. While we do run Facebook and Instagram ads to introduce the brand to new people — a lot of the recognition and sales are happening through the engaged community we’ve worked to build!
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t power in numbers, we’re just here to remind you that there is more value in 2 people that actively advocate for your service or product than 10 people who couldn’t tell you why they follow you in the first place. So, resist the urge to buy followers and automate engagement and dive in amongst your community! Offer content of real value and add your voice where it matters.
If you’re wondering how to grow your Instagram following in a way that is both strategic and authentic, we found this article from Social Media Examiner to be especially insightful. If you’d like us to cultivate an engaged community for your brand… let’s talk.