Dennis | August 22, 2013
Determine your Social Media Goals
Before assessing how well your Twitter account is doing, it is essential to determine what the actual goals are behind your social media campaign. If you are a company whose sole purpose is to simply inform people of a public service announcement, then yeah, your number of followers matter. But, if you are like most of the brands on Twitter, the goals behind your social media efforts run a little bit deeper.
Say your main objective is to gain traffic to a specific landing page on your website. Your concentration should be on your click rate (clicks/followers). If you have a huge number of followers but the number of people actually clicking through to your provided links is low, well then, clearly something’s wrong. Maybe it’s time to focus more on attaining the “right” followers, people who are interested in what you are posting and will want to click through. Or maybe you need to change up the content of your posts. Either way, it is pretty obvious that simply having an extensive connection list isn't enough.
Turn Followers into Brand Ambassadors
By choosing to follow you on Twitter, a person is publically taking an interest in your brand, though that may be where it ends. Yes, it is true, the more followers you have the more opportunity for engagement and awareness, but not if those followers are ignoring every post you make. On the other hand, when a follower chooses to share your words, they are declaring that what you have to say is important and/or fascinating, thus presenting you as someone influential. These brand ambassadors, if you will, are the types of followers you want.
By re-tweeting what you have said to their network, they are increasing your message’s reach. They have given it their stamp of approval and vote of confidence, offering you an endorsement. Since your reach is widened with each re-tweet, an increase in followers will, well…follow. It’s like a modern version of good old-fashioned word of mouth marketing. Consumers will take an interest in things that members of their community recommend. Increased visibility is excellent, but when it is coming from someone else it is even better. Engage your followers as much as possible. Re-tweets can even help with search engine ranking, so again, try to engage the followers you have instead of chasing down the ones you don’t.
Put it in Context
Don’t look at your number of followers as the end all be all of your Twitter campaign. Maybe your number has stayed stagnant for a while. Do a little research into the interaction rates of these current followers. Maybe you haven’t received more followers, but your existing followers have become more engaged because you have been focusing on being relevant to them. Jump on this opportunity to turn these followers into brand ambassadors and spread your word. Someone has made a comment on one of your posts? Ask them to RT it, and BAM, your brand is made visible to a whole new set of followers…aka more potential connections. Twitter has to be looked at as a whole, no one number can define a “good” campaign.
So, is the number of Twitter followers a useless metric? Well, yes and no. In isolation, the number really means nothing. It’s all about how that number is actually interacting with your brand. Just remember, you could have all the followers in the world, but if every single one is scrolling past your posts, does it really matter?