February 27 2017

Forbes: The Key To Social Engagement: Relevance And Imagery

Thought Leadership, David Schwab, Forbes, Media, Social Media, First Call

Octagon First Call's David Schwab continued his regular contributions to Forbes with this piece on why relevance and imagery are the keys to social engagement.

It’s no secret that social media can be an incredibly valuable tool for brands to connect with their target audience. However, blindly chasing a personality with a high follower count could leave you chasing results too. Based on recent findings from Octagon’s Insights & Strategy team, there are three key insights that brand marketers should remember when it comes to partnering with influencers to create branded social posts.

Not all social media platforms are made equal. When looking at the three most traditional social media platforms for branded posts (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter), Instagram is far and away superior in generating engagement for both branded and non-branded posts. Instagram showed a 2.4% engagement rate for branded posts while Facebook produced a 0.8% engagement rate. and Twitter came in third with a 0.2% engagement rate. Simply put, pictures drive engagement more than words. Something new to keep an eye on is Instagram’s recent introduction of multi-photo/video posts; this new format will have its own effect on engagement rates and negotiations with influencers.

Don’t fixate on the number of followers. Too often, brand marketers are fixated on the number of followers a potential influencer brings to the partnership – too few and your visibility is low, too many and your engagement rate is low. Despite the widely held belief that engagement rates drop as followers increase, our research found that follower count has no direct correlation on the percentage of followers that will comment, share or like a post.

The average personality with 250,000 followers sees a similar engagement to the average personality with one million, two million, five million, and beyond. However, that doesn’t mean that brands should just chase a certain follower count. Engagement rates can vary drastically from one personality to the next even if they have a similar number of followers. When deciding between two or more personalities for a sponsored post, marketers should consider past engagement in conjunction with followers and asking price to maximize the efficiency of their spend.

Engagement carries over from non-branded to branded posts. Perhaps the most important insight is that personalities who notch a high engagement rate for non-branded posts also have a similar engagement rate for branded posts. This is of particular importance because it allows brand marketers to anticipate engagement rates for branded post from influencers, even if that personality has not worked with a brand previously. Still, it’s important for the post to come off as authentic and actually sound like something your influencer would say in order for the likes and positive comments to roll in. And remember, paid influencers must disclose the relationships, but you can be smarter than simply writing #ad. Here’s my take on that.

Measure and modify. As marketers, we have to measure our results. The good news is that social media allows brands to direct and immediate measurement. It is imperative for brands to monitor influencer social campaigns in real time, and to have the ability to modify the campaign’s message, tone, images and video throughout in order to increase engagement and hit brand KPIs. Social media allows us to be nimble, so take advantage of it.

If your brand is interested in turning to social media to get results, it is imperative that you do your research first. Just because your brand ambassador’s follower count on Twitter is high, it doesn’t mean that they are the right answer for your brand campaign. Consumers want to actually seecelebrities using the product, which is why Instagram and a high engagement rate are the keys to a successful branded social media post.