When it comes to social media, we play it by the rules that it's a numbers game. While it very well is a number's game, it all depends on what specific number you're looking at. The number of followers you have on social media might have been the key indicator of success a year ago, but more and more brands are starting to take detailed follower stats into consideration when looking to partner with influencers. Brands are now focusing on the one thing that is hardest to control: engagement. With the Instagram algorithm being rolled out last year causing chaos throughout all of social media, many influencers were prepared to see how the algorithm would affect their content's performance. That's where many tried to work on what they could control: their follower count. However, as more and more people (unfortunately) have tried to cheat their way to a fast follower count with buying followers, brands knew that the one thing that they could definitely depend on for authenticity was engagement. Gone are the days where brands are investing in influencers just because they have millions of followers. The real ROI for them lies within how many people they can actually pull back to their brand after they work with an influencer, and how invested their followers are in the partnerships they make. If you're an influencer with a small but engaged audience, brands will be more willing to collaborate with you; rather than throwing money at millions of impressions with no real promise of a good ROI. If you are struggling with your social engagement performance and want to activate a more engaged audience, here are a few steps you can take.
"Gone are the days where brands are investing in influencers just because they have millions of followers."
1. Engage conversation with content.
Posting pretty pictures is always great. After all, your Instagram feed should maintain a certain aesthetic and level of quality to make sure everything looks cohesive. However, what's the story behind your photo? Is your caption engaging a conversation with your audience where they can share their story too, and are you listening? Conversation is a two way street; the best way to ensure your audience stays engaged is to let them know you're actually listening, and not just doing it for the likes.
2. Let your successful, most engaging posts set the bar for your content.
When diving into your stats, keep track of your most successful content and see what key indicators made it perform so well. Take note, and then continue creating content based on those key indicators and see if you can apply it to new content that you're creating to make sure you're engagement stays consistent.
3. Tap into relatable content that is relevant to your audience.
Your audience follows you for, of course, the great pictures you post, but they also search for something that they can relate to. Forming a true connection with your audience isn't just based on having a WiFi connection or a good data plan - building conversation with your followers is rooted in shared experiences, so make sure you tap into that. Why do you think meme pages do so well?
4. Engage. Engage. Engage.
Going back to building conversation, you have to engage with your audience's posts to let them know you're paying attention to them as well. Kinda like "you scratch my back, I scratch yours" situation. And it's not just about going on liking sprees, but going on your intended audience's content and genuinely engaging with their content based on what they're posting. A "cool photo!" or "love this" doesn't quite cut it anymore as commenting bots have coined these phrases for themselves and have made them feel ingenuine. Take the extra step to TRULY engage, and see how your audience returns the favor by staying loyal to you.
"Take the extra step to TRULY engage, and see how your audience returns the favor by staying loyal to you."
With a few of these steps, you'll find a way to beat the Instagram algorithm and work your way to more a successfully engaged audience for your content. Remember to focus on the amount to likes and comments you have, and genuine followers will come through with time.