Social Media: Why the Number of Followers Matter

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Last week, we talked about the fact that having great numbers with your social media outreach on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn was not as important as what you did with them. My point was that having good numbers alone was not the goal in and of itself, that you needed to serve those followers with great information so they have a reason to continue following you.

This week, I want to go back and focus on the importance of the numbers, because I feel I may have done that point a bit of a disservice. You see, the numbers of followers you garner will be the driver of your efforts and provide an instant way of establishing your credibility with audiences who may not have ever heard of you.

The principle is simple, really. The soul of public relations is the power to enhance someone’s credibility with their core audiences. Whether that audience consists of potential customers, readers or clients, they all need to see you as a credible expert in your area. If they don’t, you’ll never be able to move past the word “potential.”

The toughest question to answer when someone is introduced to your work is, “Who are you?” If they don’t know your name or your reputation, they need to find out something about you up front that is either compelling or unique. So if the answer to that question isn’t something like, “He’s the guy who invented the rotary engine (that was Felix Wankel in 1957, by the way),” then you need something else to establish your credibility.

Now if you have a strong following, people don’t necessarily need to know about you or your expertise. All they need to do is click on one of your profiles to see you have 10,000 or 20,000 followers, and it instantly communicates that you are an expert and that what you have to offer has value.

Moreover, the media is actually starting to use the social media contacts of the guests they book to promote their shows. Recently, we booked a client on a national TV show and the producer emailed back and asked us if the guest could promote his upcoming appearance on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. This particular client didn’t have a Twitter account and his Facebook account is grossly underserviced. However, my campaign manager did comment that I had 55,000-plus followers across all my accounts and that I’d be happy to put out the word. The producer was very happy and will now be more inclined to give consideration to all the guests we pitch him, because he knows we can help promote our guest appearances. In the fight for ratings, sometimes a few thousand viewers can make the difference between a show winning its slot or losing to a competitor, so media outlets are doing everything they can to boost ratings. If you’re able to help them with that, and you have a sizeable social media following that instantly establishes your credibility, you’ll be an imminently more attractive guest.

The most important thing to remember is that social media is not just a “fun” thing to do. This is serious business and you want to approach potential followers with strong, expert advice and education. Many people don’t put a lot of thought into who they decide to follow, so if you can provide a modicum of substance in your social media dealings – as I detailed last week – then you will find it easy to add followers on a regular basis.

And, having a large number of followers can be like gold for you and your business, because it can make the difference between someone encountering your name online and saying, “Never heard of him,” or “Never heard of him, but 20,000 other people have, so he must be good.”

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