Followers don’t mean anything! Influence does | Surf Pacific
April 22, 2016

Followers don’t mean anything! Influence does.

In a digital age where Kim Kardashian is famous for being famous and the next generation are fixated on how they can gain more followers, get more likes and become instafamous, brands and influencers are placing far too much importance on follower counts and impressions. It would be incorrect for me to say that numbers don’t matter, but the high value people seem to place on them is something that certainly needs to be revaluated. Far too much emphasis is placed on the width of consumer or follower engagement – the number of potential connections or followers we can attract – as opposed to the depth of those interactions.

Impressions aren’t everything

For some unknown reason, the entire marketing industry is under the illusion that a high number of impressions correlates to a successful piece of content. Sure, the analytics might show that half a million people have seen your YouTube pre-roll ad, but did they really? The truth of the matter is, a majority of viewers will click away to another tab or have picked up their smartphone while they wait for their chosen video to start. So even though the analytics showed that they had viewed your ad, most of your audience didn’t actually watch it or pay any attention to your message.

Not only can the impression count be misleading, in most cases is doesn’t even reflect positive consumer engagement. You know those annoying pop-up ads with those tiny “close window” buttons that you accidently click fifteen times to try to close, those fifteen clicks get recorded as impressions. While those clicks may look like consumer engagement, the truth is they are doing more harm than good; they are expressions of frustration towards your brand and drive consumers away. This is something that matters and is lost in a word where impressions are treated as the ‘end all and be all’ of the content world.

Why 200,000 followers doesn’t make you relevant

When it comes to follower numbers, brands are still under the same misconception; follower counts are only relevant when the audience actively consumes your content and genuinely cares about what you have to say.

If you have 15,000 Instagram followers and 10,000 of them purchase your product because you posted content about it, you have created value and have your engaged audience actively consuming our content. That is of value to you.

Alternatively, you have 200,000 fans or followers which you have purchased. You post something and it gets no engagement, those 200,000 followers hold zero value to you. They either don’t care about your product or content, or they don’t actually exist. Either way, your follower count does not represent the true value of your consumer.

A low follower count can never be considered to be irrelevant. No matter if you have 5 followers, 5,000 or 50,000, all it takes in today’s digital age is for one post to be noticed by a single follower and for that person to share it to create a social media chain reaction. Follower numbers don’t matter nearly as much as one repost, retweet or share.

Attention > Numbers

Stop worrying about how many people see your content! What brands should be focusing on is the total value each piece of content they produce can bring their audience. In order to get the right reaction from your consumer, click an ad, watch a video or share a photo, it all revolves around caring for your audience’s attention. For you to get the results you want, your audience really needs to consume your content. It’s as simple as that.

The most important thing you need to understand when it comes to any platform is the context of how your followers consume content. Once you have achieved this, you will be able to reverse engineer how deeply you are able to connect with that consumer and how to turn that ‘impression’ into something of value, not just another number.

It is all about creating depth, not width, it isn’t how many people you reached it’s about how many people you were able to connect with. Quality over quantity. Reach doesn’t mean value and follower count sure as hell doesn’t mean people are paying attention. As marketers and businesses, we need to steer clear of optimizing for the number of views and instead focus our efforts on making each viewer care about your brand. Creating meaningful engagement is the only way you will successfully convert consumers into customers.