No-contest-influenceBusinesses often set a target for X number of followers on Twitter or Y number of Fans/Likes on Facebook to be achieved in a set period of time. These targets can be unrealistic to hit and so the business can be quickly disappointed that a clear cut goal has not been realisWhy such an emphasis on a large number of followers? Well, three main reasons:

  1. Celebrities on Twitter have a high number of followers and they are successful, well known people, ergo high follower numbers = status
  2. Businesses with a high number of followers have a larger audience to broadcast to, ergo high follower numbers = reach and sales
  3. A higher number of followers makes your business appear more popular than your competitors, ergo high follower numbers = success

Eh? Wrong on all three counts. 1) Businesses are rarely celebrities 2) Social media is neither a broadcast media nor a direct sales channel 3) Businesses will have a better ROI with fewer, more relevant followers with whom they can engage more effectively.

Building a high number of followers indiscriminately is a relatively easy thing to do (as we are told incessantly on Twitter). There are endless automated systems on the market that add the masses like some over the counter social media steroid.  Businesses can grow a substantial number of followers in a few weeks – but often at little value for the business concerned.

Here’s a great tool – Klout . Hootsuite users will be familiar with this way of measuring the real influence of a person or business among their social media followers or fans. Klout measures a range of indicators and awards a Klout score out of 100 that ranks genuine interaction and influence.

Businesses with over 10,000 faceless followers can rank lower than others with just 10% of that number   who are relevant and receptive. And rightly so.

So the next time someone brags to you about their number of followers, run their Twitter ID through Klout to get a more accurate representation of their likely impact and effect in this smoke and mirror filled world of social media.