For a while, players within the influencer marketing space have noticed a gradual shift from the
steady use of mega influencers for brand campaigns to more brands betting on smaller
influencers for success with their campaigns. In the minds of many, working with influencers
has always been a game of the highest numbers in the sense of follower count, and while that
holds some truth, recent events show that some metrics are more important.
Most brand managers have had to struggle with follower fraud on the part of influencers, which
is basically influencers using unethical means to bump up their follower numbers in order to get
more gigs. This challenge was probably the first indication that time might be running out for
Follower fraud, non-performance with campaigns, and other issues opened the doors for brands
to reevaluate what they were getting by working with most influencers, as their large audience
often didn’t convert to sales or brand visibility for them. What most found was that while
follower count was important, engagement rates were much more important.
Engagement rates are basically a ratio of real interactions on a piece of content to the number
of people who were reached by that particular content, and with micro-influencers, that ratio
often appears higher than it does for mega-influencers.
Using SocialCred, a recently released social media ranking app, any user can easily see how
their numbers stack up and what drives these numbers. The app designed as a ranking app
rather than just another analytics app does a fine job of stratifying content creators, influencers,
and other social media users by measuring some key metrics and allocating points to each of
them. The app measures four key metrics which are follower count, the ratio of original content
to shared posts, engagement rate, and audience sentiments. The measure of these four metrics
adds up to 100 points for each user, with the engagement rate being where a lot of revelations
are made and probably the metric with the most points.
SocialCred allows anyone to check the stats of whatever account they like, on YouTube,
Instagram, and Twitter, and doing this, the first thing that hits you is that most of the users who
appear on the ‘A-List’, ‘Socialite’, and ‘Big Shot’ ranks, have a lower engagement rate compared
to those on the ‘Crowd Controller’ or ‘Trend Setter’ rank. These ranks are part of 10 different
ranks that the app heaves on anyone who uses it, and the one thing the A-Listers and Big Shots
have in common is that they are most likely verified with followers that run into millions or
hundreds of thousands. On the flip side, Trend Setters and Crowd Controllers all seemed to have fewer followers, usually
between tens of thousands, and lower range hundreds of thousands. Interestingly, as the
follower numbers went up for people within the rank, the engagement reduced. They also
seemed to have more original content to their names than the content they shared or retweeted.
A clear indication here would be that a large audience doesn’t directly imply fans or people that
a user has some influence over, rather just people who are fine with your personal brand and
your type of content. This is because while most of the highly ranked users had poor
engagement rates, their audience sentiments tilted more to the positive and neutral than it did
to the negative.
With all these stats that the SocialCred app lays bare for everyone to see, it wouldn’t be out of
place for a brand manager to use the app for a search for who their next influencer partner
should be and end up picking a micro-influencer over a mega-influencer. They have the
engagement within their niche and are better streamlined to create content that thrives within
In today’s marketing and advertising world, brands are searching for true fans, and niches are
the best place to find them. When brands decide to reach everyone, classic digital ads might
seem a better way to go, because the mega-influencers are constantly proving that they might
really not have that personal connection or influence over their audience for which a brand could
decide to pay more.