I usually follow surveys that provide an overview of movements on social networks and occasionally I come across curious information. In the last survey #MS360FAAP, carried out since 2014 by the Nucleus for Innovation in Digital Media (NiMD) of Faculdade Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP), in partnership with Socialbakers (now Emplifi), a particular fact caught my attention: among the most influential profiles in the country, brands have been gaining more than twice as many followers on social media compared to influencers and celebrities. Why is this happening?
Breaking down the numbers quantified by the survey, brand profiles increased their following by 3.7% over the previous quarter. The focus here is on Instagram, a privileged channel for both company profiles and influencers or celebrities, due to its focus on images and lifestyle. Digital influencers also saw their fans grow in size, but in a much smaller proportion: the positive variation was 1.5%.
The results point to an already different reality in relation to the last edition of the same survey, which saw both brands, influencers and celebrities decrease in the number of followers on the network that is part of the giant Meta (ex-Facebook). In analyzing the 100 national profiles with the most interactions, the survey concluded that, in the relationship between the second and first quarters of the year, brands lost 32.7% of their followers, while celebrities saw 27% of their followers leave.
The numbers can be frightening, but they can be better understood taking into account that, at the time, there was a cleanup in the number of false accounts, in addition to readjustments in the platform’s own algorithm, which decreased the delivery of posts and, consequently, alienated part of the public from certain profiles. The researchers who formulated the survey methodology themselves explained the result in this way.
But how to understand the difference in followers between brands and celebrities and influencers in the latest edition of the survey? First of all, I believe you have to take into account the context that we’re talking about. With the slow process of reopening trade and releasing some pent-up demand during the most acute phases of the pandemic, people seem to be more interested in researching products and shopping, preferably through multiple channels (digital, of course, but also physical, being social networks a kind of gateway to stores). The end of the year, with its get togethers and exchanges of gifts, is a good incentive for this.
Another possible reading is that brands are learning to deal even better with their audiences on digital channels. Knowing your followers well, their demands and preferences is crucial to talk directly to them, win them over and retain them in your followers network. Drawings and actions with famous people can attract a lot of people, but it is necessary to know the newcomers in depth and dialogue with them to keep them close, and this is a task that brands have been dedicated to.
The audience is always very dynamic and susceptible to the circumstances of the network. Celebrities and influencers are always at imminent risk of losing followers due to inappropriate comments or political positions that displease a part of those who follow them. However, it is interesting to note that, even with a smaller growth in the number of followers, celebrities and influencers produce more engagement than brands: according to the survey, a photo of an influencer produces the engagement of 7,424 people on average, while a photo of a brand only manages the engagement of 181 users. People, after all, still connect more with other people than with company profiles.
Therefore, it is important to know how to use all the tools available to balance the equation between own brand profile and actions with celebrities and influencers in order to have the best solution. It is necessary to scrutinize the public, understand their demands and pursue them, seeking as much as possible to gain their loyalty, involvement and engagement in the chains and physical stores.
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