Followers Aren’t Everything

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Everyone these days is using social media to promote your business, your product, your service, or yourself. And what’s the first metric everyone turns to? The number of followers you have. Make no mistake, that’s an important number. But it’s not the most important one. Followers aren’t everything.

Sales > Conversions > Engagements > Impressions > Followers

Remember, your number one goal is to get paid. So sales are the first metric you need to be tracking, and that’s the number you need to ultimately be focused on raising. Everything else on the list is just a tool to help you with that – just like social media itself. You have a lot of social media followers. So what? Or maybe you don’t have very many at all. Again, so what? Let me show you a quick screen grab of my Twitter analytics as of Friday. This is just a snapshot of one social media platform. You’ll always want to use every platform you have – and you’ll want to analyze them about the same way.

My Twitter Analytics as of 5/13/2016

My Twitter Analytics as of 5/13/2016

Impressions are how many times your content has been seen (in this case, tweets). As you can see, I don’t have a particularly high follower count – only 344 followers. But move your eyes over a little bit to the left to that second number: 107 thousand impressions over the four week period shown. There are folks out there who could certainly do better. But as far as impressions go, I’ve done quite well with the followers that I have.

Engagements are how many times somebody has interacted with your content (again, in this case a tweet). Twitter says I have an engagement rate for this period of 2.4%, which comes out to roughly 2568 engagements. That number includes people liking and retweeting my tweets, or responding to them. It includes people who click through the links to wherever they go. It includes people following me after seeing a tweet, or clicking through to my profile. A 2.4% engagement rate isn’t terrible, but it could be better.

Conversions are far more valuable than engagements, however. And conversions are kind of defined by you. Conversions are usually sales related – somebody actually bought something from you. But often they can be useful to track non-monetary transactions. You can also think of somebody signing up for an e-mail list as a conversion, for example. Since my primary goal with social media is to increase traffic to this blog and awareness of my businesses, let’s think of somebody clicking through to one of those sites as a “conversion.”

Digging through my Google Analytics history shows that those 2568 engagements led to at least 800 pageviews on this blog. It’s more than that, because Google Analytics doesn’t always show someone coming from Twitter as coming from Twitter. Sometimes they show up as “direct traffic.” But I don’t know how much of my “direct traffic” came from Twitter, so we’ll stick with the 800 pageviews value. We can confirm that. Also, this is just from one of the three sites that I promote on Twitter. That means that on Twitter, I’m converting approximately one third of my engagements into my goal (site traffic) – probably much more when you include my other sites. That’s not bad!

Ultimately you want to track how many of those visits convert into actual sales. Sorry guys, but that information I keep confidential! I do track it, however, and you should do the same. The ultimate goal is to get paid. If you’re not getting as many sales as you’d like, you need to check every level of this chain and see where you’re deficient. As we can see from the chain above, my follower count is low. But we can also see that it’s growing quickly. It grew almost 20% in this period. I’m doing well on impressions per follower, and we can also see from this result that this is something I’ve improved quite a bit recently. I expect it to improve even more in the next 28 days as I implement new processes to help automate my social media. My engagement rate isn’t bad, but it could be better. 4-5% would be a good target. That’s definitely something for me to work on. On the other hand, I’m converting a large number of those engagements into pageviews. At the moment, that’s not where I need to put my energy!

If you’re focused on your low follower count, you’re looking at the problem wrong. You need to be ensuring that you’re doing the most that you can with the followers that you have. If your followers are engaging with your content, you will grow more followers with time. So make sure that you get those impression and engagement numbers up! And always remember to analyze every level of the flow to make sure that your focus is where it needs to be.

Russell Newquist

My name is Russell Newquist. I am a software engineer, a martial artist, an author, an editor, a businessman and a blogger.

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science, but I’m technically a high school dropout. I also think that everything in this paragraph is pretty close to meaningless.

I work for a really great small company in Huntsville, Alabama building really cool software.

I’m the owner and head instructor of Madison Martial Arts Academy, which I opened in 2013 less to make money and more because I just really enjoy a good martial arts workout with friends.

I’m the editor in chief of Silver Empire and also one of the published authors there. And, of course, there is this blog – and all of its predecessors.

There’s no particular reason you should trust anything I say any more than any other source. So read it, read other stuff, and think for your damn self – if our society hasn’t yet over-educated you to the point that you’ve forgotten how.

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