Social media has come such a long way since it’s creation many years ago. And for as many years as it’s been in existence, we’re still no closer to truly understanding how it all works. I mean we think we have an understanding. And there are plenty of advice columns and media gurus who claim to know how to navigate the system, but still here we are. And as companies realized the power of social media, they scrambled to find just the right individuals to sell their brand. In reality, it’s still a big old cluster *bleep*, and for as many steps we think we move forward in understanding, the path just gets longer and more twisted.
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
Many campaigns require a minimum number of followers on any given social media platform. 10k, 20k, even 50k just for the opportunity to bid on a campaign seems to be the going rate. And with the new push to focus on microinfluencers, there is still an 8k-10k following minimum needed. I’m in countless blogger groups and the cries for help are deafening, as people scramble to get their follower count up. There have been threads with almost 300 comments on the ethics of buying followers, just to meet brand requirements.
You Get a Like! You Get a Comment! We All Get Engagement!!
But now that an influencer has the numbers, the brand wants to know about engagement. How many likes or comments are you getting on a post? This need to show follower engagement was the impetus for comment and like pods to be formed. Comment/Like pods are a group of influencers who pinky swear to like and comment on certain posts. The pods usually meet in IG DMs or in a FB group. There are even products like Tailwind that help with Pinterest engagement. Tailwind is actually a great tool to boost not only Pinterest engagement, but it will also post to FB, IG and Twitter simultaneously.
But brands aren’t dumb….they see if you have the same 5 people retweeting your content, or commenting under a photo. And so you pray to the social media gods that the brands oversee that little fluff, to actually see the quality work you produce.
Studies have shown that their really aren’t any concrete ways to verify what “good engagement” is! There are so many ways to read into engagement numbers, from comparing it to industry standards to to comparing it to a stagnant number.
Three followers + One like x 30 hashtags = 3000 views
It was all about the hashtags when Twitter came on to the scene. That’s how you searched for content you were interested in, and you didn’t have to follow a million people unnecessarily to see that content. IG recently created the ability to follow hashtags and for me it’s been a game changer. Sometimes a person will use a hashtag once, and so I’ll follow them and then realize that it was a fluke. With IG, I can now follow a hashtag like “mommyblogger” and my feed is filled with cute mommy and kid pictures. I can still like their photo, view their profile and decide if I want to follow them. But it makes my IG feed so much more interesting.
I say all of that to support that follower numbers don’t necessarily tell the whole story. I only have 44 followers on a brand new Twitter account, but several of my tweets have been RTd several times. According to my Twitter analytics, that account had a over 29k impressions for the month of March only. That means that this is the number of times my content was displayed, no matter if it was clicked or not.
Think of it like a television commercial. Brands pay big bucks to have a commercial display, and you can see that commercial a bunch of times in any given hour. Each of those times are considered an impression. One television set, could account for numerous impressions if it’s played a bunch of times.
Pinterest is a different beast. Pinterest is a search engine, and so people use it to find recipes, crafts, quotes, etc. On average, my Pinterest page gets between 350K to 750K monthly views even though I only have about 2k followers. Think of Pinterest as an actual television channel. You use the guide button on the remote to go to a specific specialty channel. You find it (let’s say HGTV), and then you scroll to see what show interests you. But you know it’s all relevant to the HGTV brand.
How You Doin’?
I’m a Wendy Williams fan, sorry I couldn’t resist. But when it comes to social media, YOU MUST BE SOCIAL! Wendy calls her studio audience, her cohosts. She interacts with them. She doesn’t just shove hot topics in their face and wait for applause. You have to be social with your followers. This is especially important if you are sharing pictures of a brand that you are working with. Tell them what you loved about the products. Ask others if they’ve used it and what their experience was. This not only get’s your engagement up, but it also gives the brand useful data on product use/appeal (hello future gigs!). A like on a pictures could not even mean a person likes what you’re peddling. They could have liked the way the light bounced off your hair highlights, even though you’re showcasing a new cat litter product.
And like and comment on your follower’s posts!! This is a two way street, act accordingly.
Although I hated it at first, I’m coming to appreciate how Facebook and IG bump older posts back up to the top when there is engagement on the post. It makes sense. There are several posts that I missed (that pesky impression thing), and once bumped back up to the top of feed I usually interact by way of comment or liking it. And the beauty of it all is if I am sick and tired of seeing a specific post, I can mute it.
Hi, My Name Is….
A lot of my engagement has come on the heels of interacting with brands. Tagging brands, replying to brand specific tweets, and even reaching out to brands have yielded a few sponsored campaigns. I once tagged Canon in a picture of my toddler taking a picture with my EOS Digital camera. In less than an hour, Canon reached out to me (in my DMs) told me how they loved the picture and asked for my address so they could send me some official Canon swag. From one tag! I didn’t say “hey Canon, look at me”.
Replying to brands on social media is a great way to not only informally introduce yourself, but it can also boost your views. Most brands have several hundred thousand or several million followers of their own. If they like your post, retween/regram your post, or even reply to your post, their followers see that to. Those followers may view your profile, follow you, visit your website, like your feed, etc. It’s a win-win! Last week, a conversation I had with Hyundai was featured in their weekly highlights and I gained quite a few followers and several profile/website visits from that. Winning!!
I’m not a social media guru. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers. I’m not getting hundreds of thousands of views on my websites. But I am getting opportunities to do what I like to do. My social media presence has opened doors that I never thought would be opened. I’m not making big money…yet! But I already feel successful in what I do! Fame and fortune doesn’t happen overnight, and almost surely doesn’t happen by happenstance. Understand that if you have 1 follower or 200,000 followers, the drive behind what you do should be genuine and authentic. The sky is truly the limit!