Interesting fact: 80% of Facebook users who like your brand, will never visit your brand page ever again.
I spend a lot of my time as a Social Media Manager. Regardless of the account I handle one of the most common questions I get from account and business owners is, “Can You Get Me 10,000 Twitter Followers”? And whenever I hear this question I always say that I can however in the back of my mind I smirk. I smirk because the amount of Twitter followers you have, like the amount of Facebook page likes your brand has, means precisely dick. We all know someone or some brand with 10,000, 50,000, 1 million likes/fans however in terms of the amount of their follower ratio to overall impact ratio, time and time again, higher number followed accounts prove to a grey ghost meaning – as stated – precisely dick. But why is this?
Real World Following vs. Bot Following
The first reason why a highly followed social media account equates to low social impact is because in most situations, roughly 65% of those followers or likes, are fake. They are fake in the sense that they were created, posted and carry on as an automated bot. While Twitter and Facebook have publicly done their part to lower the amount of fake bot accounts circulating on their social network, they really aren’t concerned with this. Why? Because a billion users sounds better than 100 million and 456 million users sounds better than 456,000 users. It is currently estimated that Twitter has 500 million users however only 200 million of them are active. Of those 200 million users who are actively micro-blogging via Twitter, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite etc., it is estimated between 45% – 65% of users are bots. Quick math: Out of 500 million accounts, only 90 – 130 million are real people posting real things. Likewise, Facebook currently estimates it’s monthly user base at 1.06 billion users. While Facebook has done a better job in shrouding its fake user base numbers, estimates rank fake clicks anywhere from 50% – 80%. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, let’s say Facebook’s real monthly user base is 500 million. By this rationale alone, the amount of followers or likes you or your brand has is at best skewed and at worst, fully falsified.
So let’s say the brand you manage has 5,000 followers. Looks great to outsiders right? On a passing glance 5,000 followers looks, to the outside viewer, that your brand must be doing something right. If 5,000 people decided to follow or like your brand, whatever your brand is doing must be good, right? Not so fast. Just like the monthly user base of all social media networks, the amount of followers you have, while already being but in half by bot accounts, will have to be cut in half again by passive user accounts. Passive user accounts are real accounts. People who are real, signed up for a social media network of choice and do post from time to time. But the thing is this passive user has less then 10 followers and is following less than 10 users. The passive user rarely posts and hardly interacts with other users. The worst part about it, like follower amounts, passive users make up 50% of overall social media network users. Thus, your 10,000 follower account, which is really 5,000, now just got cut to 2,500 users. The numbers lie.
The Problem with Real Users
Congrats, you have 2,500 likes or follows. Awesome. Yeah, not so much. The problem with real users, like the problem with most people, is they just don’t give a shit. Even if you have 2,500 Twitter followers or Facebook brand likes, the vast majority of those users just don’t give a shit about interacting with your brand. Most of your followers, while they follow or like you, only do so in passing. They see your updates, they notice your brand highlights and new products however they can’t be bothered to lift a finger to interact or get involved. I don’t have any stats concerning this suspicion but most people can’t be bothered in reality to lift a finger. Why in the hell would they do so on social media when lifting a finger literally just involves lifting a finger? Due to this, out of your 2,500 real users, lets say 800 actually interact with you or your brand in a meaningful way.
The Good Social Media Follower
At the end of the day, your 10,000 followers, down to 5,000, down to 2,500, really equates to 800 solid followers or likes. Those 800 (or maybe less) followers comment in your posts, engage you in posts, share content relevant to your brand and generally get involved with your growing community. These 800 followers, although a far cry from 10,000 are your core community. They stay involved and they are loyal. And this feature, loyalty, is what you are really looking for. You, as a brand, would rather have 800 core followers who grow your community than 10,000 who are absent from any form of interaction at all. 800 to guide you, to get feedback from, to foster and grow. So I am sorry Mr. I have 500,000 followers or likes, your following means precisely dick.