Imma spell it out for you, loud and clear: I’m pissed off! I’m pissed off at too many small, beautiful brands focusing on the wrong things and missing out on amazing opportunities to grow. They need to do better, brands should stop focusing on the wrong numbers.
Yes, yes, I know, Instagram is still one of the most popular platforms on social media, and it is a great way to market one’s products. But it’s not a bloody research tool!
In addition, it’s a very volatile and unstable platform that seems to be on a mission to make promoting anything as difficult as possible. It’s a platform that causes needless misery to a shit-ton of people, and it’s a platform that misleads both, the consumer and the brand.
Why am I talking about this? Because I’m sick and tired of being told ‘no’ by people who haven’t got the slightest idea what they’re talking about. People working for my favourite brands.
Basically I’ve got this amazing outfit challenge coming up, and I’ve put a lot of effort into the whole campaign. And I think that effort shows IF you’re able to recognize talent over a fukin Insta following.
I approach brands and they check this one number and nothing else. And they miss the fact that I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING and pass by a great collaboration opportunity. And if they pass me by, how many other amazing, talented content creators are they passing by? It needs to bloody well stop!
Prepare yourselves, strong language ahead. I might get some hate for this but BRING IT ON!
Why Brands Should STOP Focusing On Instagram Following
We’ve talked about this so many times, but I’ll say it again: Instagram is a FAKE platform. It’s full of faked content, fake followers, fake accounts, fake, fake, fake. And that is the core reason why I am urging brands to stop focusing their decision-making on Instagram follower numbers.
Fine, if Instagram is your chosen marketing platform, that’s all good. Just FOCUS ON THE RIGHT THINGS, PLEASE. And by that I definitely do NOT mean follower numbers. Because let’s face the ultimate fact, the smaller the number, the more genuine the following.
Of course, there’s no benefit for a brand to collaborate with someone who has 200 followers on Instagram, that’s not what I’m saying. But how many brands check whether the content on the accounts with huge following is in correlation with the 5 digit follower count?
Buying followers couldn’t be any easier in 2019, but will those fake followers do anything for the brand? OF COURSE NOT! They’re bots, and bots don’t buy shiz. Bots also don’t care shiz, or interact with the brand. So, why focus on such a useless number?
And there’s another thing: no matter how many followers you have, and how real they are, Instagram limits your visibility on the app more and more all the time. Now they’re taking out likes, which is known to decrease engagement even further.
Instagram is not the platform to focus on! Being able to take and edit a photo is not the mark of a truly gifted advertiser. It’s everything they do in addition to that: I’m talking about actual bloggers. Just compare running your own website to having an account on Instagram. Which one requires actual effort and skills? I mean, C’MON!
Building a following on your website is so much more valuable than a following on Insta, or any other social media platform. And when we add a newsletter to that, we can seriously forget about Instagram altogether. The numbers never change: people are 40 times more likely to buy from your newsletter than your Insta advert.
I rest my case.
What Brands Should Do Instead?
In the olden days there were marketing departments that spent days, perhaps months researching potential advertising channels and collaboration opportunities. And now it seems we’ve reached a point where no research is needed, one number will suffice: Instagram following.
I shutter to think how much money brands have wasted on collaborating with inexperienced “influencers” only because their follower count on Instagram was deemed big enough.
And how many brands have needed to do some ramifications when an “influencer” has effed up a campaign (due to that exact inexperience) and harmed the brand’s reputation.
Is There Talent and Engagement?
When will this lesson be learned; Instagram follower numbers aren’t realistic marketing data. Instead, there is other data that gives a brand much better insight on whether an “influencer” (somebody ban this word, please!) is a potential advertiser or not.
The focus should definitely be more on the quality of the content and the engagement rate, rather than a follower count! One can buy followers, but they cannot buy engagement. Not real engagement.
Yes, there are ‘engagement bots’, but y’all know what that means, right? Heart eye emojis as comments and that’s that. Not exactly engaging, eh?
You can have 100K followers but none of them gives a toss about your content. What is the point in collaborating then (I’d love to hear brands’ answers to this!)? In the meanwhile there are people, who create the most amazing content but only have 1K followers. The difference is, these are REAL followers.
Actual people that exist, breathe air and interact with the content creator. THESE are the followers that brands should be focusing on. Because these are the followers that have the potential of becoming customers.
Brands should stop awarding these fraudsters. Dem bots ain’t ever gonna buy shit from y’all, okay?!
Do Your Research
(Insta following is not research!)
Figuring out who’s a genuinely good collaboration for brands doesn’t take much time or effort. Yes, do check the follower count, but don’t focus on that. Instead, check their engagement rate and go a step further:
Do they have a website? Check it out. How does it look? Is it professional, how much work has been put on it? Is this person able to produce more than a photo with a filter? Do they have a newsletter? How’s their domain authority?
If you’re someone hiring social media “influencers” and just found yourself going “umm, what’s ‘domain authority’?” then sweetie, I’m sorry to say, you shouldn’t be doing the job you’re doing. You’re apparently not capable of deciphering actual professional content creators from those who just like to take photos for da Gram.
Finding the talented, quality content creators among all the others is not hard. It takes more research than just checking one number on an Insta bio, but not so much research that it should be ignored.
This is so frustrating, especially in these times when all information is right in front of us. But at the end of the day, there really is just one loser: the brands who fail to live up to the standards of the online world.
If a brand is willing to risk their reputation and hire an unprofessional “influencer” due to their big Insta following, they get what they deserve when it all blows up on their faces.
Perhaps things are changing for the better as we speak. I hope so and I’m aware that change always takes time. Brands should stop choosing the “easy” road to success, because nothing good ever comes easy.
Or what do you think? Am I barking at the wrong tree here? Is Instagram follower count really that important? ♥
Follow me on Instagram and use #styleoutlandish to showcase your style! I’m always on the lookout for outfit inspiration.