Back To Basics: The Value of a Social Media Follower

Social media marketing is a rather funny industry to work in. We don’t mean “funny” as in haha/hehe; more like “funny” in the sense of “why is something so simple, so difficult for some folks to understand?” Maybe it’s a matter of habit, in any industry, for professionals to take what they know for granted, and assume that because they “get it,” that everyone else does, too. The good news is, we love what we do, and with that, we love talking about it. So, what could be seen as a frustration by others, we find quite fascinating!

With the dilemma of misunderstanding comes a fantastic opportunity: practicing the art of communication. These questions/misconceptions are teaching us how to simplify things so that they make sense to any particular business owner on any given day. It seems like a no-brainer, but communication isn’t universal. It’s custom. Every individual, every brand, every  voice, has its own way of being connected to. Teaching and coaching has shown us that, time after time.

Okay, back to the point of this post!! That whole introduction came because recently we’ve been faced with something that hasn’t surfaced in quite some time. And that is: a brand’s desire to grow in quantity of followers as opposed to quality. There are times that we are curious if it would just be easier to accommodate their desires with Fiverr, or one of the hundred other sites you can buy fake followers from. But, we can’t. We know too well that it’s a trap, and it completely shatters any real social media marketing strategy a brand might have in the works.

Basically, if all a brand cares about is an empty follower count, we refer them elsewhere.

Here’s why, in three simple takeaways:

Quantity Is Void

Engagement > Followers. Why? A brand can have an empty number of followers (let’s say 100,00) at the top of your Twitter profile. Good for you! But, what does it matter if your message isn’t reaching anyone? Those 100,000 followers you bought, they are robots and they cannot favorite, retweet, or reply to anything you post. So, ultimately, you’re posting to yourself. In more blunt terms, you’re sitting in a corner, trying to sell your brand to a wall. (insert dunce hat)

You Aren’t Fooling Anyone

What’s more mortifying than Exhibit A (above), is that everyone will see, and know, that you bought fake followers! Consumers are intelligent and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get them to follow, engage, and/or click. Fake followings can be spotted from a tweet away! If a consumer goes to a Twitter profile to check out a brand, at first they might say, “wow, 100,000 followers!” But if those first three tweets show up in your profile (via mobile app) with no engagement, they’ll know it’s fake, and thus will not be joining your fan club (aka band of fake Twitter followers).

Measuring Results Will Be Impossible

How can you measure your success without real numbers? You can’t.

Your social media analytics, in addition to follower count, will be void. When you try to hire a marketing firm to figure out “what do all these insights mean?,” they won’t be able to give you a real answer. Sure, you can speculate, do some rough math, and maybe come up with some sort of rendition of truth, but there really wouldn’t be any way to tell how your brand is actually doing on social media.

Ultimately, the key takeaway from this post is simple:

Social media marketing is a commitment, not a campaign. You can conduct campaigns within that commitment, but setting a follower goal to reach within a time-frame, that is not an applicable strategy for social media. Your commitment will breed engagement, and therefore lead you to brand ambassadors, who are basically sales people that you don’t have to pay.

Now, which is more valuable to your brand: A void number at the top of your social media profile OR a sales person you don’t have to pay?

Note: Growing a real following takes time, so be patient. Those brands you have follower-lust for, they’ve been in the game for years and years, and their numbers reflect that. Strategize, execute, and nurture consumer relationships. That’s what social media marketing is all about!

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