For far too long, many marketers have seen social network size as one of their primary KPIs. The reasoning is that the larger the network, the more people you’re reaching with your message. Hopefully that then translates into more page views and more sales from social. While this may sound reasonable, it’s rarely true. Here’s why.
Quality Is King
To get the best return on social, you need to focus on quality of following. Having a following built of relevant people rather than all people is the difference between talking to your ideal customers and putting a billboard up in the middle of nowhere and hoping for the best.
Those focusing on adding everyone possible to their following rather than adding those within your target market will see far less return from their social efforts. Messaging to an uninterested following will result in lower engagement rate, lower CTR, less viewership of message, and less distribution reach. No one wants that.
Quick And Dirty Proof Of Health
Find huge social account. One with millions of followers. Now look at the past 20 or so messages and the number of likes/favorites and shares/retweets they received. Average these engagement numbers to get an average engagement rate.
Now that you have an average engagement, divide that number by the number of social followers they have to get the average engagements per follower. You’ll see that despite the very large following, most large accounts see very little engagement from that following.
Next, do the same with an account that may not have a huge following but you believe has a very engaged following. A great example of this would be Buffer’s Twitter account. They do an excellent job of engaging with their audience and it shows in the engagement they see on each post, even as their following has quickly grown. Another would be my own account, @BestPixMN.
Compare the two. Which has the better rate of engagements per follower?
Here’s To Good Health
It’s clear that having a healthy following is key to prime performance from your social marketing. To help make that happen, you need to think about your following, not yourself, every time you prepare to share. What does the piece you’re about to post give your followers? Is it truly for them or is it self-serving for you? Be honest. Would you really find value in it if you were a follower and didn’t work for your brand? Always feeding your following a quality content stream is the best way to keep your followers engaged and build not just a large following but one that’s healthy too.
By focusing on health rather than size, we can see greater success in our social marketing. While we may not be able to show huge following numbers, we’ll know we’re seeing better return than those with far bigger followings. Staying with this strategy will mean we can outperform the others even with smaller followings and crush their numbers when we grow to their size too. Go grow up healthy.