Do Followers Really Matter? #socialmedia


Some people call the number of followers you have a “vanity metric,” but I think that’s too harsh a term. I prefer calling followers a “health metric.” They are an important part of your social analysis, but how many you have is somewhat irrelevant. You can have strong relationships with your audience and even a high Klout score without having a ton of followers. To prove this point, here are the important factors that impact the number of followers you have.


Content has a huge impact on your online presence. It helps define your brand, carries your message, and even grows your following. But not all content is the same. The content that really impacts your following is salty content. Salty content is shareable, thematic content. Look at an active profile on any social media network and you will see it has consistently posted the same type of content to grow its number of followers. When Sharpie started out on Instagram, it was floundering. But when it finally landed on its thematic, Sharpie-drawn content, it really began to grow!


Engagement has an even bigger impact on your followers. Have you ever looked at Twitter Analytics? It shows you a follow and unfollow rate over time.

If you are one to participate in chats, the impact of your content is more noticeable. Putting out good content during a chat usually results in a higher following rate. It is also sometimes coupled with an increase in unfollowing (albeit a lower rate, which nets you an increase in followers). This goes to show you how much your followers are listening. If they see content they do not like or seems out of place, they unfollow. However, if you engage and participate with new people while consistently using good, shareable content, they follow you! Don’t forget to follow back.


If you’re still not convinced, just look at how Klout uses your followers to calculate your score.

Your followers have a logarithmic relationship to your Klout score. This means that for every multiple of 10 followers (1, 10, 100, 1,000, etc.), you enter the next bracket of Klout score (10, 20, 30, etc.). Even then, the variance in the scores as the following increases is larger — meaning there is a larger difference between scores among the users with more followers than less followers. This goes to show that if you are not engaging on your networks, you can still have a low score despite your following.

So, do followers matter? The answer is up to you. Just remember it is a health metric. Getting hung up on acquiring more followers will not necessarily help you grow your business or your sales! You have a better chance of doing that by putting out great salty content and engaging people.

Did you like today’s post? If so you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up HERE and receive The ExchangeGain Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!

Image Credit

Merlin U Ward is an author, passionate marketer, strategist, and beer geek! He is a proponent of building better business and doing better marketing through better understanding of your customers. His book “You Get What You Give” explores five distinct social media marketing strategies that strengthen the customer and brand relationship. You'll find him in the mix enjoying good beer and wearing funky socks!

  • ScrewtheSystemJoe

    Interesting post. I agree, number of followers is not the be all and end all. Especially when most of those followers are just following you in the hope that you’ll follow them back!!

  • MrEnergyCzar

    It always goes back to engagement with all sites….


  • TedCoine

    Another terrific post, Merlin – and I’m right on board with you! My only caveat is, I personally feel it is well past time folks opted out of Klout (and other “influence measuring” websites out there.

    Inspired by your post, I dug up something I wrote on the matter about two years ago: “The Only Clout I Care About.”

    When I recommend opting out of Klout, I’m frequently asked if it doesn’t hurt my online presence in some way. All I can say to that is, I’ve been ranked by Forbes two years running (16th, then 9th) as a most influential social media dude since I told Klout to keep their metrics to themselves. So, it’s probably okay.

    I can’t wait to read your next post, my social media magician friend!

  • JavierBorrero

    Great Post. Remembrance, loyalty and engagement to the brand is what is looked for. A follower is someone to be impact on at the beginning and this should be maintained until the end. Depends on the content of the message and how it reaches the eyes of the follower.

  • Connie

    Followers matter if you want to be a leader

  • Pingback: Brief thought exercise: does it really matter how many Twitter followers you have? | The Context Of Things()

  • There’s a more human way to do business.

    In the Social Age, it’s how we engage with customers, collaborators and strategic partners that matters; it’s how we create workplace optimism that sets us apart; it’s how we recruit, retain (and repel) employees that becomes our differentiator. This isn’t a “people first, profits second” movement, but a “profits as a direct result of putting people first” movement.

  • Connect

    Newsletter Subscription

    Do you like our posts? If so, you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up HERE and receiveThe ExchangeGain Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!
  • Contact Us

    Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.