It’s easy to get a lot of followers on Twitter. So what?


It’s easy to get a lot of followers on Twitter. But that’s not what matters.

Some people on Twitters have tens of thousands of followers, or even hundreds of thousands.

A few very large consumer corporations, like Starbucks and Coca-Cola, and celebrities may have millions of followers, but for us mortals a few hundred thousand would be a stretch goal.

But what’s the point of a large number of followers? That’s easy to get.

Many people on Twitter will follower you if you follow them back. If you don’t follow them back they will unfollow you within 36-48 hours. Some even say in their profiles that they followback everyone. Of course there are software programs to help you automate identifying people to follow, following them and unfollowing if they don’t follow you back. Big yawn.

(In terms of merely the number of followers the impressive accounts are the ones that have large numbers of followers but follow very few, like Seth Godin or the New York Times. People care about what they have to say and aren’t following them because they followed back.)

Tweet saying that number of followers is unimportantOn average, just like with Facebook, only a few percent of your followers will see a particular post. The lifespan of a tweet is only about 30 minutes so if they’re not looking at Twitter in that time it’s unlikely they’ll see yours.

All of this helps explain why McKinsey says that email marketing is 40 times more powerful for customer acquisition than social media.

Far more meaningful than the number of people who are following you are (1) are they in your target market and (2) how engaged with your content are they? From those you can drive real business results.

An impressive social media program is run by Maersk, the shipping company. It doesn’t get any more B2B than shipping. Much of their social media presence was built by Davina Rapaport and she always talks about the importance of business metrics. In an interview she said, “If I went into a meeting and only spoke about engagement rates and impressions, they would probably ask me ‘ok great, 100,000 impressions, what’s that in dollars?’ Leads, opportunities and containers sold are all metrics that Maersk Line understands.”

Getting lots of Twitter followers? That’s easy, and meaningless. Driving business results? Now you’re talking.