Vanity Metrics, Part II: Why Followers Mean Very Little

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Often when I meet a new potential client, she’ll say something to me like, “I only have 200 followers on Twitter.” Or another potential client may say, “I have 200 followers on Twitter, which I think is pretty good since I’m just starting out.” 

So, which is it? 

Well, this scenario is your first clue that a number of fans or followers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram may not be the best way to measure whether you’re reaching a substantial audience of potential customers. 

Fans Do Not = Customers

As I explained in Vanity Metrics, Part I , you are not trying to enlarge your general audience. Rather, enlarging your audience of potential customers is the whole reason you’re engaged in social media marketing. You don’t need to reach people who will never buy from you. 

And social media followers are not the same as potential customers. So, even if that number is going up, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are reaching a larger pool of potential customers. 

Additionally, no matter the social platform, your individual posts are not seen by all or even most of your fans and followers.

Let that sink in for a second. Just because someone follows you on a platform does not mean they often or even ever see the content you post. 

But you can reach followers and non-followers alike who are interested in what you’re sharing. One great way to do that is by hashtagging your posts, using hashtags relevant to your topic. 

(You can get a quick primer on how to choose hashtags in this great video from Savvy Sexy Social.) 

You’ll hear more from me on hashtags in the coming weeks. Just remember: 

  • Not all followers are potential customers
  • Not all followers see what you post
  • Non-followers who care about your topic can find you without necessarily following your social pages


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