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Jenn Herman
February 16, 2017

How Important is Your Social Media Follower Count?

Social Media Follower Count

Continuing our “Great Articles You may have missed” series. Jenn Herman, poses the question “How important is the follower count on your social media?”. Hint: quality beats quantity, but there’s more to it than that!

Is Social Media About Numbers?

How important is the number of followers on my social media account? ……. I get this question All. The. Time!

From all sorts of people, with all sorts of different goals.

Look, I get it. You see an account that has 100,000 followers, and you want the same. You see an account with a million followers, and you want the same. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t think about my accounts hitting those kinds of numbers too.

It’s an inherently natural position to want to have that “vanity metric”. That one criteria by which all other accounts, including yours, is judged upon. How popular is your account? How many people know about you? By extension, how many people can you sell to?

We all want that big inflated number for a variety of reasons.

But, it is only valuable if you have the right people following you – not the right number of people.

Putting This Into Perspective

Let’s take this away from social media for a minute. Let’s say you own a store and in one year 50,000 people walk through your doors. That would be good, right? That’s 137 people every day of the year. But what if, for all those people who came through, only 1000 of them actually had any interest in what you were selling. And of those 1000, only 82 of them actually bought anything – all year. That means, you invested employees’ time, resources, and business expenses to entertain 50,000 people, of whom only 82 actually spent money.

Now, what if instead, only 1500 people came through your store all year? That’s 4 people per day. But of those 4 people each day, all of whom are loving what you’re selling and are interested in your product, 2 people every day purchase something from you. That means for a fraction of the work (4 people’s attention versus 137), you will have sold products to 730 people – a lot more than 82!!!

I realize these numbers are arbitrary but I hope they work to prove a very important point: it’s not about the number of people, it’s about the quality of the people. Obviously, if you had 50,000 people walk through the doors and 80% of them were interested in what you were selling, that would be the better scenario of either I just mentioned. But you get my point…. it’s about having people interested in what you’re offering!

How Many Followers Do you Need?

The bottom line is, the number of followers you have on social media does matter. You can’t sell to anyone if no one is following you. You can’t drive opt-ins or sign-ups if no one is following you.

But, likewise, if you have a boat-load of followers who don’t give a crap about what you’re offering, you can’t sell to them or get any opt-ins or sign-ups from them either!

Growing Your Audience

How fast your audience will grow will also depend on the size of your brand.

If you’re a new solopreneur with no existing audience, you aren’t going to find 10,000 people to follow you immediately. However, if you’re a well-established brand with a large mailing list and/or busy store front locations, it won’t take you long to hit large following milestones.

If you’re that small brand, don’t compare yourself to big brands in your industry. It’s not a fair comparison.

Rather than stressing about that follower count, focus on the quality of your audience.

Create content for your target customer. Provide quality service via social media. Entertain, educate, and give value to your audience. Build your brand on the audience who cares about you.

It might take a while to hit 500 followers, or 1,000 followers, or 10,000 followers. That’s ok!

This frivolous number doesn’t mean anything to your business goals and revenue goals if you can’t use that platform and that audience to build your business.

Set Realistic Growth Targets

While you want to see that number of followers grow, set realistic expectation and look at long term growth, rather than short term growth (in general). Set a monthly goal to increase followers by 10% a month or by 500 followers a quarter. Understand that this will fluctuate at different intervals and daily, even weekly monitoring of your follower counts is not a realistic representation of your brand presence on social media. It’s the annual and long term growth that will drive the end results you’re looking for.

Finally, rather than focusing only on this one numeric value of a follower count, instead evaluate the following criteria for more valuable insights into your social media efforts and results:

  • Engagement rates
  • Clicks to website
  • Website traffic patterns or conversions from social media sites
  • Campaign conversions
  • Social media mentions or check-ins
  • Shares of your content or posts

I hope this helps you answer that age-old question about how important the number of followers on social media really is… cuz in and of itself, it’s not *really* that important!

Over To You

Do you agree with the above? We’re always interested in your thoughts, so please share

 

Originally titled “How Important is the Number of Followers on Your Social Media?” on jennstrends.com, this article is republished here with permission

Featured image: Copyright: ‘http://www.123rf.com/profile_mnsanthoshkumar‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Jenn Herman is a social media strategist and Instagram advocate who writes a blog focused on understanding trends in social media management. She provides tips, resources, and training for small to medium sized businesses that need to structure their social media strategies for success. Her business background includes Administration, Sales, Human Resources, and Marketing. If you would like to learn more about how to use Instagram, you can download "The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Instagram" here.