Why Engagement Matters More Than Reach

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By Courtney Moser

Quality over quantity.

Not to sound like a broken record over here, but if you’re ever pitting quality against quantity — quality wins every time. Within quality in influencer marketing lies content, engagement, expertise and more.

While quantity focuses on pumping out a large amount of content to as many people as possible, quality hones in targeted consumers who are engaged and listening. Because of this distinction, we call quantity “reach” and quality “engagement.”

A higher reach used to be the ultimate marketing goal, but now we’ve seen the light and realized that it doesn’t matter how many people you’re reaching if they’re uninterested. Times are quickly changing and it’s much more important to connect with the right people – even if that means there aren’t as many.

This is especially relevant when it comes to the celebrity influencer marketing trend. Although celebrities have an impressively large reach, it’s due more to public status than true interest in what they have to say. Credibility isn’t always there. In fact, according to a recent study, we are “50 times more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend than a celebrity or internet personality.”

Reinforcing the emphasis on quality content and engagement, marketers are turning to micro-influencers to connect with niche audiences and those who are most likely to become customers. Micro-influencers are typically categorized as having less than 10,000 followers, but even influencers with a much larger following can effectively cultivate an engaged audience.

“Influencers in smaller niches may have a much better ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level. This means you should be prioritizing relevance over mass reach. When you’re searching for the right influencer for your brand, look for higher engagement levels instead of large social following,” reinforces Search Engine Journal.

Ultimately, it all comes down to authenticity and credibility, and choosing influencers who are focused on engagement and creating a true community online. Brands who partner with engaging influencers are more likely to see success in influencer marketing.

What are the business benefits of prioritizing engagement?

More meaningful connections: Influencers with higher engagement are likely closer to their followers, with potential for engaging future brand loyalists.

Increased credibility: Smaller influencers are known for more niche topics or expertise, and often cultivate a trust with their readers.

Higher intent to purchase: A study found that influencers have 22.2 times more conversions each week than regular consumers. Clearly, their purchase influence is valuable.

Social Media Today best summarizes the importance of engagement over reach in influencer marketing: “You can’t build a loyal consumer base on reach alone. Reach certainly forms something of a bedrock… But without your audience acting on your content (likes, retweets, shares and comments) there’s very little chance of leveraging that relationship to score leads and converting these to sales. This is why 73% of content creators plan to prioritize creating more engaging content in 2016.”

Have you hopped on the engagement train with us yet? If you have any questions or concerns, the Find Your Influence team is happy to help you get on board. And in the meantime, you can learn more about influencer marketing best practices on our blog.

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