Influencer marketing has been the rage for the past few years, with brands scrambling to partner with influencers on massive social media. However, as an increasing number of brands enter the influencer marketing arena, it is becoming clear that a high follower count does not necessarily translate into a higher ROI. Focusing on community building and engagement may be a more effective strategy.
A recent article in The Drum explores the idea that the follower count may no longer be the key assessment for measuring an influencer’s value. Instead, the future of marketing is shifting toward building a community of engaged customers who share their values. TikTok has already recognized this trend by de-emphasizing follower counts and prioritizing content quality and engagement. This shift signals a new marketing era, where brands need to focus on building relationships with their audience and measuring community engagement is becoming more important than simply reaching a large number of people solely via influencers with high follower counts. Here are the reasons why:
The Rise of Micro-Influencers
One of the main reasons why the influencer follower count is losing importance is the rise of micro-influencers. Influencers with smaller followings, typically between 1,000 and 10,000 followers, tend to have highly engaged and loyal audiences. This is because consumers want to see themselves as being represented by the companies they support. Consumers want to feel connected with the companies they buy from and be part of a community that shares their values. Working with a variety of micro-influencers instead of a handful of macro-influencers helps brands appeal to all of the different segments of their audience and become more targeted.
The Importance of Community and Social Media Engagement
Engagement is becoming a key metric for brands on social media. Having a large number of followers does not necessarily translate into engagement, which drives sales and builds relationships with customers. Engagement rates, on the other hand, can provide a more accurate picture of an influencer’s ability to impact their audience and drive brand results. Ultimately, when brands focus on influencer engagement as a key metric instead of follower count, they are more likely to find influencers who create quality content that aligns well with their brand mission. This results in brand-building engaged brand communities that can build long-term relationships and foster brand loyalty.
The Power of Community
Building a community of loyal followers can be incredibly powerful for brands because it fosters a deeper connection between a brand and its customers. Therefore, harnessing the power of the community by creating shared experiences for fans, fostering open conversations, and encouraging user-generated content creates a sense of trust from consumers that cannot be bought or replicated in any other way. This ultimately leads to increased purchases, referrals, and positive word-of-mouth marketing. By focusing on building a brand community, companies can create a more sustainable and impactful marketing approach that puts the customer at the center of everything they do.
The Changing Landscape of Influencer Marketing
The landscape of influencer marketing is changing rapidly, and brands that do not adapt to risk are left behind. With social media platforms such as TikTok moving away from focusing on follower counts, community building and engagement are becoming new priorities.
The Need for Authenticity
Finally, customers are increasingly looking for authenticity in brands they follow on social media. Working with influencers with a large following that does not truly align with a brand’s values or messaging can backfire. Micro-influencers’ power lies in their ability to foster personal and genuine relationships with their followers. SocialLadder partners such as Mad Rabbit, goPuff, BeatBox Beverages, and DripDrop have succeeded in their ambassador programs because they recruit influential creators in their communities, share brand values, and create content without the brand asking.
In conclusion, the future of social media will center on the relationship a brand builds with its audience. Therefore, it is important to measure social media and community engagement. As social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok continue to evolve, the way consumers interact with them will also evolve. Consequently, the follower count can no longer be the key metric for measuring the value of an influencer. Metrics that measure the way someone interacts with their social media platform and the accounts they follow such as engagement will become the most important metric.