The truth for marketers, publishers and social networks alike, is that it’s increasingly difficult to engage consumers where they are and how they spend their time, even when we know exactly where that is. The challenges brands face when driving consumer engagement through organic publishing and sponsored posts on Facebook is well documented, but the final frontier – the ability for your customers to drive consumer engagement with your brand through their own original content – is creating a tectonic shift in the industry.
Which led us to this question: how are consumers engaging and driving engagement on Facebook?
Our study of over 25 million Facebook posts indicates that one of your best opportunities for generating consumer brand engagement on Facebook lies in harnessing the power and influence of everyday Facebook users, known as micro-influencers, to publish original content featuring your brand.
Here’s what we found, and how you can start identifying micro-influencers to drive engagement as part of your Facebook social strategy.
1. Post Engagement Increases with Influence
We know that Facebook is prioritizing user-generated content in the News Feed, so how much impact does the person creating the post have on engagement?
On further investigation, we found the person sharing that content can dynamically impact post engagement. Using Mavrck’s patented influence algorithm, which scores a user’s influence and compares it globally to all users authenticated by the Mavrck platform, we determined that users in the 75th influencer percentile and higher, withat least 500 friends, earned at least 3.5x higher engagements per post than the average user.
2. High Reach ≠ High Engagement
Since the dawn of influencer marketing, an influencer’s reach has been a proxy for their ability to influence consumer behavior. While a user needs to have an audience in order to influence one – to be labeled an “influencer” does not guarantee that a person actually has influence, especially when it comes to your specific brand. Only recently has a person’s proven ability to drive a reaction from their network of friends, family, and followers on behalf of a brand been a measure and validation of influence.
Our research showed that engagement rate per user declines with higher friend count. Part of this is due to the nature of the News Feed in general – Facebook says that the average user has access to about 1,500 posts per day but only looks at 300. Users with smaller networks have the potential to see a larger percentage of their friends’ posts. Social relationship strength among users’ friend networks is also greater on Facebook than other social networks, such as Instagram and Pinterest, which trend more aspirational.
3. User-Generated Posts Outperform Brand-Generated Content
Our Facebook User-Generated Content Benchmark Report revealed that despite a 29% decrease in original posts published per user and an 11% decrease in overall engagements earned per user in 2016, there was a 26% increase in average engagements per post. The quantity of users publishing and posts published did not correlate with the rate users engaged with News Feed content. In fact, our research suggests the opposite: the number of original posts published was inversely proportional to number of engagements per post.
Just as who posted impacts post engagement, the type of content created also matters. When shared by a Facebook user, user-generated posts containing a brand generated 6.9x higher engagement than brand-generated content. When it comes to activating micro-influencers to create content featuring your brand, it’s better to provide minimal brand guidelines and requirements to allow them the creative freedom to incorporate your brand in the ways they want – rather than providing an ad or brand post to amplify.
Getting Started? Three Traits All Micro-Influencers Have in Common
When it comes to compelling user-generated content, you already have an untapped army of creators with brand stories to share in the form of your own micro-influential customers. When determining who among your customer base has potential to be a micro-influencer for your brand, look for customers who:
- Are Loyal: These customers already have an existing relationship and possess positive feelings towards your brand that you can tap to share through content. Start with your existing loyalty program, or customers with a history of repeat purchases.
- Will Advocate: The recommendation and public support of a loyal customer is the most trusted form of marketing. It’s also necessary for content creation. Segment your loyalty list by those who have created content or stories about your brand, such as a contest entry, product feedback, reviews, referrals and social content.
- Have Influence: In its most basic definition, to influence means to move another person to desired action. Segment micro-influencers based on content performance aligned with your goals, such as comments on reviews, conversion-generating referrals, or engagements on social content.
While there is value in getting as many customers as possible to create content, as we’ve learned with this study, the ability of that customer to inspire action is dynamic. Determining who among your customers has brand influence significantly impacts your ability to efficiently scale the success of your program on any social network.
For additional insights into the trends and benchmarks driving News Feed engagement in 2017, download Mavrck’s Facebook User-Generated Content Benchmark Report.