Why Brands Should Stop Tracking Follower Count & Focus On Engagement Rates
We all want a lot of followers, right? The idea that thousands of people are interested in our brand makes us feel all warm inside! But if you focus solely on follower count rather than the number of people actively engaging in your content, you miss out on the entire purpose of social media engagement – reaching people who will listen to your message. It’s much better to have a small, loyal audience than a large followership full of irrelevant accounts and bots.
What Is Social Media Engagement?
Listen, we know that marketing buzzwords like “engagement” get thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Let us break it down for you. Social media engagement is when your followers are actively responding to your content. They do this in a variety of ways:
- Liking your post
- Sharing your content
- Tagging others under your post
- Tagging you under other posts
- Opening your links
- Watching your videos
Calculating Engagement Rate
Many brands and influencers use their engagement rate to gauge success on their social media platforms. Your engagement rate can be calculated based on social reach (the amount of engagement you get compared to how many people have actually viewed your post) or follower count (the amount of engagement you get compared to how many people follow you). Brands obsessed with tracking vanity metrics, like follower levels, can get a nasty shock when they finally calculate their engagement rate.
Once you have this information, the next step is to compare your engagement rate to the industry average. For example, if the average engagement rate for brands in the hospitality industry is 0.14% and yours is only 0.09% it might be time to reconsider your social media strategy.
Quality Over Quantity
All the major social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – feed engagement rates into their algorithms to determine how often your posts get shown to their users. You can have as many followers as Kim Kardashian, but if they’re not interacting with your posts then you’ll be penalized by the algorithm. That means the potential audience you’re trying to reach are less likely to see your content.
This also applies when you’re looking for influencers to bring onboard for campaigns. Check their engagement rate before making any deals – you won’t make a valuable partnership if the majority of their followers are bought and paid for. It all boils down to quality over quantity!
How To Increase Your Engagement
Now that we’ve (surely) convinced you that engagement is more important than follower count, you might be asking – well okay then, how do I get my followers to engage with my content? The truth is, building authentic engagement takes time, but it’s absolutely worth it in the long run. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but here are some tips to start you off:
- Customer service – reply to questions and comments, both public and private.
- Quality content – give people something to talk about! (We can help…)
- Experiment – see what works, try new things, and adjust as you go.
- Social metrics – learn more about your audience to serve up content they’ll enjoy.
We all want the same thing – to let people know who we are! And the main point of spreading your brand message is to reach the kind of people that will actually listen. When you have built up a small group of dedicated followers who actively engage with your content, that’s when you’ll know you’re on the right track.