At Only Digital we’re used to hearing clients articulate their objectives for social media as the number of followers and size of accounts.

Success, to many brands, equates to social accounts with millions of followers – all of whom will be exposed daily to the brand and hear its message time and time again.

But the truth is that despite the magnitude of followers across any social channel, only a very tiny percentage of those people may actually be listening.

And the standard objective of seeking countless page likes and followers needs to change.

Brands typically used to define social media “influencers” as online users who have an exponential reach (usually in the millions) and who will benefit the brand even if they tweet, post or share a brand message once.

Yes, those influencers might have a huge network. But what’s the point if that network isn’t made up of an audience who actually matter?

The simplest way to sum it up is like this….


“Swimwear models don’t sell swimwear”


Or at least, they don’t on social media.

Take one of Australia’s most popular beach babes. Figures from a 2016 marketing campaign revealed she had 550,000 social followers, with whom she shared views on clean eating and healthy living – along with pics of herself looking gorgeous in the latest bikini styles.

Most of the engagement on her channels were women, saying things like “Wow, you look great. I want that bikini”.

To a brand, this is encouraging. But sadly these women were in the minority.

The harsh reality was that around 90-95% of her followers were hot and sweaty men. They liked her posts, for a very different reason, but they didn’t engage.

This bikini babe’s social following was never going to trigger a flood of swimwear purchases. Because the figures were misleading.

The game is changing and it’s time for brands to look at their metrics for what makes a well-performing social media channel and the influencers they want to target.

Here are the metrics to look at:



All social media channels are based on an algorithm which is programmed to show specific content to specific users, based on what they have engaged with previously.

Brands and marketers alike need to shift their reporting to reflect on what types of content receives the highest amount of engagement, and then figure out why.

Once this question is answered, they will have a much easier time producing content users want to engage with. Engagement means followers are far more likely to share.



Knowing who is engaging with content is the second half of the battle.

And this is what many social media influencers will be up against as brands continue to catch on.

If an influencer has a million followers on Facebook but only a very tiny fraction of those engage with brand-sponsored content, then even less people will actually see the content.

Of those who engage, if only 50% of them fit the brand’s targeting criteria then the ROI received from the influencer could be slim to none.


Algorithm changes have meant that old school influencers are really starting to feel the pinch. They used to be get away with posting any old junk, knowing that 90% of their followers would see it. Now they are lucky if even 10% view their content.

The truth is only 4-5% of the audience will see content from a large scale influencer with 100,000+ followers. While 60-70% of the audience will see content from a micro-influencer who has 20,000 or less.

Micro beats macro, and the small-scale influencers who put more effort into their content will get more likes and engagement.

A brand will generally have more success from five influencers with 20,000 followers than from one big fish who has 100,000.

If the brand is smart enough to select the micro-influencers with the right audience.



To find out which influencers are right for your brand, give us a call on 0800 612 9890