Influencers or brands – who really is winning it on social media and why?

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Influencers or brands – who really is winning it on social media and why? I tried analysing this on various metrics like engagement, loyal following, virality, investments and interestingly on every aspect Influencers or creators out performed biggest of brands backed by millions of dollars, managed by top creative digital and social media agencies. Well lets try and decode why even after spending millions of dollars over a decade brands are still figuring out the right social media measurement ROI while Influencers are in short span of time making a luxurious living (Profitable Business) out of social media. I personally know top brands who have spent millions of dollars on Facebook and YouTube and other social networks gained over million followers and struggling to get 0.5% Reach. Which means after spending a decade and millions of dollars to build a social media community of few million these brands are reaching few thousand people organically. So should we blame the social media algorithm for this? Or is their something else that brands are not doing right when it comes to social media? Whats the mantra that Influencers have decoded but brands haven’t?

Some might say influencers or creators cant be compared with Brands as the purpose of being on social media is different for both. Well if you think they are not then you are wrong. Both use same platform, same features, deal with same algorithms, share the same type of content like video, photo or text except one is backed by million dollars and other is backed by million of ardent followers. Here are few things that brands can learn from influencers to up their social media game:

  1. Brands have a slower reaction time as compared to influencers. Its a case of too much thinking and too little execution. Their content turn around time is much longer than influencers due to which they fail to leverage trends as much as influencers. Brands have to go through a content approval process which for most brands have inefficiency and gaps resulting in delays.
  2. Social media is about interaction or conversation between two identities. Having a social identity, a relatable personality that people can connect with, is what drives engagement. For most brands there is a strong identity crisis on social media. I have seen healthcare brands running mathematics trivia and ecommerce brands sharing leadership quotes . Being a business and more transaction mindset brands lack Human touch. A personality to connect with. A personality to socialize with. Eg. a travel influencer sharing travel photo of luxurious hotel gets much more engagement about the view and luxury of the hotel than When the same imagery is shared by luxury hotel itself.
  3. For influencers Content is more important than aesthetics however for brand its not always the same. For ages brands have been doing print shoots, tv advertising, using best photographers, production houses, directors, so much so that many a times this is a much more important discussion than the actual content. While influencers are quick enough to shoot via mobile or self taught methods brands spend more time in professional shoots. The cost of creation of content also reduces the frequency of the content.
  4. Influencers truly believe in social media and its power while most brands are on social media just for the sake of it. Influencers dedication and belief in what they are doing on social media is much higher than brands. Or i can say sometimes having less options is better. Influencers have limited options to market their content, reach their audience as they dont have tv, radio, press at their disposal. So they truly believe in social media and 100 percent dedicate their time, energy and money on it. Most brands still lack this belief and social media is still one of their last priority when it comes to market. Or social media is still another medium to circulate their offline marketing communication.
  5. Influencers believe in Collaboration. Collaboration of ideas, collaboration of people, collaboration of a common cause. Whereas most brands even fail to collaborate internally with their marketing, PR, digital, social teams. Still alot of them working in isolation. Eg. brand using a celebrity as social media influencer
  6. Its interesting how Influencers manage to build so much Trust in a short span of time more than most trusted brand globally. Eg. even in buying a tech product customers form their buying decision based on their trust on tech influencers. Brands should try to be more transparent, less transactional and should plan conversations based on data intelligence which can tell them what customers want to talk about instead of what brand want them to know.
  7. Influencers have more readiness to experiments as compared to brands. A simple example is what i mentioned in one of my previous posts where I explained how brands are under utilizing instagram reels which according to insta algorithm gets highest reach.

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