Social Media Mythbusters: Inclusion of others

Social Media is about the inclusive online environment of interaction. Instagram allows a two-way dialogue between the brand and the consumer. “When it comes to brands, this phrase embodies a very specific marketing strategy: personification”. ( Petronzio, 2013)

The first myth that I will be uncovering within my social media myth busting experiment is the inclusion of others through building rapport.

Building rapport is a pivotal aspect of building a brand and it’s engagement on Instagram because it works with the idea of a bottom-up model of interaction.

“This bottom-up marketing occurs because billions of people create trillions of connections through social media each day. These connections build relationships that result in a vast social network, tapping into a consumer marketplace.” (Hanna. et al, 2011 p. 267)

A  well known social media trick is the three-step social media piggyback tool. This technique was coined by Neil Patel, who The Wall Street Journal call a top influencer on the web.  He is also the co-founder of KISSmetrics who helps companies like Amazon, NBC, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

The Piggy-Back.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Find popular accounts, brands, or companies in your industry or space.
  2. Identify users who follow these targeted brands
  3. Utilize a 3 pronged strategy of liking one of their photos, commenting something genuine on another photo, and following the user. It’s easy!

As long as you continue to have great content and the user has similar interests, you can expect a significant follow-back rate. One study even found a follow-back rate of up to 34 percent while using this strategy. (Neil Patel)

Over the past week I have tested Neil’s theory and have come up with some results:

First, I identified influencers on Instagram with a larger following to our page who are within the same dance industry.

I looked at influencers who had both a larger following and a smaller following, within different age groups.

Micro Celebrity/Influencer’s Instagram page
sav clarke.png
Youth/ Nano Celebrity Instagram Profile

From there, I searched through the likes on the dance-related posts on the influencers page to find people who would be interested in our page and what we stand for.

I started to find Instagram profiles of dancers like Bronte Carrington, Jessica Bowen, Sophie Holloway . I then started my three-fold technique. Every night for a week I focused on one step, either, liking, liking and commenting or liking, commenting and following.

The comments, however, have to be meaningful. You need to be adding to the conversation and adding the the constant flow of consciousness.

Instagram guru Emil Pakarklis has nearly 50,000 followers and promotes the notion of commenting meaningfully on other peoples content.

“You can also get a lot of exposure by leaving meaningful comments on the photos of other people. When you leave a thoughtful and positive comment, there’s a good chance that the author of that photo will become curious to check out your profile. And if your profile is good, you’ll get a new follower.” (Patel, 2015)

For example, I commented to Claudia Levings dance video with a meaningful comment to add a sense of personalisation to our brand and to visually demonstrate our ethos–celebrating the dance community.

We commented “Loving the energy and soul you put into this!” As a dancer, this is a great compliment and so reinforced the notion of ensuring that comments are meaningful to show your audience that you care.

She replied to my comment, thus increasing the engagement with our brand. Not only does it increase the value of our brands identity between both us and Claudia, it also improved our presence and identity to the followers of her Instagram who can now see our comment and create a perception about us. As a result, they become familiar with our brand and what we stand for, thus creating a tighter relationship between the brand and the audience.

This is because of the nature of cyberculture and the simulacrum of Instagram, people make their minds up about a brand by their actions online, seeing as they have never encountered them in person. Therefore, the “emotions and values the brand symbolizes, and user imagery” is very important.  (Batra, Ahuvia & Sankaranarayanan, 2012, p.1)

I found that this method did have it’s perks, and showed interesting results.

ENGAGEMENT 13% 36% 50%
These insights were gathered a week after I started building rapport in the form of liking, commenting and following. As a result, our Instagram page received 398 more views than the previous week.

The engagement that I found was in the form of liking my comment, replying to my comment or following our profile.

Other power users do the same thing. Richard Lazazzera ran a test to find out which types of engagement got the most amount of return. When he followed users, 14% of them followed him back. When he followed and liked other users’ photo, 22% of them followed back When he followed, liked, and commented, 34% of them followed him back. That’s not a bad ratio — more than 1/3 — for minimal output of energy. (Patel, 2016)

Within this week, I found that our followers had increased by 55, although, from the people who I engaged with, only 3% had followed our page.

This method of increasing engagement took quite some time and in order for it to be successful you need to constantly find new accounts that would be interested in your content and then engage with with with either a like, comment of a follow.

The ultimate goal was to increase engagement, which it did, however it did not increase the amount of followers by as much as I had hoped.  However, this does not account for the indirect followers that we might have gained over that time. This means that the people who saw our comments, likes and engagement could have been interested in our profile and then followed us. This is a reasonable and possible outcome as to how our following was boosted to this great degree.

Here is my rating of this social media hack:

Time: 2 Stars

Practicality: 2 Stars

Success: 4.5 Stars

Engagement: 5 stars

Ethical: 3 stars

Common Practice: 4 stars

Overall: 3.4/ 5 Stars

Instagram Page: @danceeditorial 


Hanna. R, Rohm. A & Crittenden. V 2011, ‘We’re all connected, the power of the social media ecosystem,’ Kelley School of Business,  p. 267 <https://wolfman.one/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/BH_HannaRohmCrittenden2011.pdf&gt;

Patel. N 2016, ‘5 Instagram hacks that social media experts don’t want you to know,’ 16 August, viewed 30 April 2017 <https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2016/08/16/5-instagram-hacks-that-social-media-experts-dont-want-you-to-know/3/#1f299e8f41c1&gt;

Patel, N 2015, ‘Nine Overlooked Techniques for Instagram Popularity,’ Kissmetrics Blog, viewed 5 April 2017<https://blog.kissmetrics.com/techniques-for-instagram-popularity/&gt;

Petronzio, m, 2013, ‘Why brands want to have a two way coversation with you,’ Mashable, 13 May, viewed 1 April 2017 <http://mashable.com/2013/05/12/two-way-conversation/#idXpBg_oR5qc&gt;


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