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Advanced Influencer Marketing: Social Media Engagement is a Trap – Don’t Fall It!

Social Media Engagement is the New Red Herring – Don’t Fall For the Trap

I recently attended a meeting matching a brand with a celebrity for some influencer marketing. The celebrity was very gracious, even said he didn’t need any money upfront and wanted to see how he and the brand worked together first. I thought it was a match made in heaven.

After ironing out details and setting everything up, the celebrity’s team gets the message that the brand had to pull the plug because the celebrity did not have enough “social engagement” on their posts. NOW, any of us who have been around long enough know that social engagement at best is a tactic not a strategy. It is definitely not a measurement tool for public relations success.  In fact, it’s a TRAP.

It would seem obvious that the social engagement metric is misleading, because this celebrity was at the Oscars this year. YET, some brand are even hesitant to part with sending an influencer a good faith sample of a product because of there aren’t enough likes on his pictures.

Over my 10 years of experience working on influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements I’ve seen campaigns where there were only a few “likes” on a post but the click rate on the links, and the purchases made from the link were astronomical. I have even worked on a campaign where even though there was almost no social media engagement – everywhere you went (In person, off-line) people were talking about it! And let’s face it, the real world STILL happens off-line. Those campaigns were HUGE successes for the brands – social media engagement #s had no correlation.

Conversely, I’ve seen campaigns where there were an enormous amount of “likes” and comments – but not One single link-click nor any impact on brand awareness let alone revenue. Seriously! All they got out of the deal were some “likes.” I know it is hard for the social media engagement lovers to admit, but it happens. And it happens more often than you think.

Social Media Engagement is a RED HERRING (A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue. It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences towards a false conclusion. – Wikipedia)

I’d have to go as far as to say that in this day and age: anyone who makes business decisions based on Social Media Engagement is not only wasting their time, but while you are distracted by the herring – your real opportunities are slipping past you undetected. In fact, at this moment in time – IGNORING social media engagement might give you competitive advantage. While everyone is busy digging for the new fool’s gold of “engagement,” a few will know better to dig elsewhere.

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