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Stop Counting Followers and Start Measuring Reach

The size of your social media following is, at best, a vanity metric.

Having a substantial following is a good way of showing you have a certain amount of clout and credibility to people unfamiliar with you or your brand, but it doesn’t provide you with any benefits directly.

Because although you may have 50,000 Twitter followers, if the vast majority aren’t engaging with you (retweeting, mentioning, favoriting, etc.), then you’re not getting any exposure to their followers and your brand isn’t gaining any widespread visibility.

Of course building an audience is one component of maintaining an enduring social media presence but it isn’t the be-all, end-all. It’s not how many people are following you but who they are.

All Followers Are Not Created Equal

We’ve talked about our new Twitter Reach metrics before and how you can use it to gauge the effectiveness of your tweeting.

By using Twitter Reach, not only will you know the total number of people who potentially saw your tweet, but who those people are that wield the most influence.

Looking at our own stats, we have about 2,600 followers – not presidential numbers but still relatively sizable. But where it gets interesting is when you look at Mention Reach and Retweet Reach. Year-to-date, 4.22 million people have seen us mentioned in a tweet, far greater than our 2,600 strong following.

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Taking it a step further, when you filter Mention Reach you will see a menu of the top 10 Twitter handles with the largest following. This is where using Reach drives our Twitter strategy. By knowing who our influential followers are, we can reach out to them personally to propel the relationship and increase the likelihood that they will retweet or mention us again. We do this by sending a DM thanking them, thanking them publicly, retweeting one of their tweets, drawing a personalized picture on our chalkboard door and sending it to them– literally any way we can get our appreciation across.

Reach is the only stat you need to look at for Twitter. Know how many people saw your tweets, who your most engaged followers are, and start using Twitter smarter.


  • http://www.ferreemoney.com/ Neil Ferree

    I’ve been testing multiple combinations to get a better feel for what content i post to G+ triggers advocacy on G+ and its impact on YT views, R/T’s and site visits and CTA activity

    • Mark

      Glad your digging into your data and experimenting, Neil, and thanks for reading!

  • http://Ecommerceattorney.com/ David Adler

    Mark, I think your post makes an excellent point. Social is absolutely about engagement. Now, how do I find those followers with whom I should engage most?

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