Nobody cares about the number of your social media followers

Many thought leaders have been warning brands about egocentric social media KPIs such as number of followers. This article explains how content is a key element to build a large and engaged community. My biggest take away from managing and analyzing social media pages is:

Focus on engagement and loyal followers… will follow.

Ok, maybe my title is not 100% correct. Everybody cares about the number of your social media followers. But the truth is, so many brands out there are still obsessed with the size of their social media audience. Don’t be like them 👎🏾.

Followers are to social media what hits are to web analytics

Social media success depends on your goals. Social media followers count is a KPI invented to boost our ego. Let me explain why. 

Some brands want to build a large audience and the number of followers is an important KPI to them. They basically want to get as many eyeballs as possible and that is okay. Getting a large audience overnight is fairly easy if you have enough budget to buy followers. Keeping them interested in what you have to say is another story. 

I can’t help but wonder what’s the point of focusing on followers if they do not interact with your content/your brand? There can be 2 main reasons why people don’t take action:

  1. they don’t see your content – so you have to fix your strategy to get in front of them
  2. worse, they don’t don’t care about what you have to say. Your content is not good enough to give you a like, comment or share.

At the end of the day,  if you want to grow your audience, engagement is still important to validate your strategy and to grow your audience even more, organically.

Influence is more impressive than social media followers

In an ideal world, you would have a large and engaged audience. Most marketers think about growing their audience and then start wondering why the community is not engaged. Marketers should really stop stressing about followers count and focus on influence. You are not an influencer because a lot of people follow you. Influence is when people get excited about what you say. Contrary to what most people think, the starting point is not to grow your audience but create your content.

The virtuous circle of content and social media audience growth

My experience has shown me that the path to getting an large engaged audience is more like this: 

  1. Define your ideal audience before you create a social media presence
  2. Create content that you think is going to appeal to your audience AND tell your brand story.
  3. Acquire followers and promote your content with ads. Make sure you have good content planned for the next weeks before you pay for followers. You want them to get engaged as soon as they join the community.
  4. Understand who your actual audience. Hopefully their characteristics match your ideal audience because you would have done a good job at targeting your ads.
  5. Understand the type of content that get them excited. It’s important to note that in the beginning you have to be ready to TEST TEST TEST to find what works for you (different visuals, type of content, time of the day…).
  6. Create more content your audience like and get the word of mouth going.
  7. Promote your content and organic engaged followers.

The reality is, in the beginning, you will have to pay for followers because chances are your circle of friends not necessary match your target audience’s characteristics.

What is engaging content anyway?

There are 10 000 ways to get people excited. It really depends on your audience. You should keep these insights in mind when you build your community.

 Building a community is HARD yo!

I have been taking a lot of Instagram classes on Skillshare and I am shocked to see all these people teaching about  “how to get followers fast”. These types of classes remind me of these weight lost ads “How to loose 100lbs in 2 days” 😂. They often forget to define what they mean by “fast”. I just don’t like the fact that only a few courses actually manage expectations and tell the honest truth: building a community requires consistency, patience, authenticity and great content. 

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