Why The Number of Followers You Have Means Nothing

Blog Post by Sarah Malcolm, Chief Digital Strategist at The News Funnel

Connect with Sarah on Twitter @mrssarahmalcolm

People are so obsessed with trying to get as many followers as they can. I can’t explain how wrong that thought process is. I remember when I met up with a company years ago, the first thing they asked me is how to get a million followers in one month. I nearly spit out the water I was drinking and thought they were joking. They were dead serious. I thought in my head, “You are a new business and no one knows who you are! Even if you got Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to tweet about you every day for a month you would still only get about 1,000 followers. Maybe 2,000 followers if you wanted to spend an insane amount of money in paid ads.” I quickly explained to him, you need to be focused on engagement and connecting with those who LOVE your brand, aka “Your Tribe” and then the followers will come.

One of my favorite online influencers, Gary Vaynerchuk, said it best, “Let’s say you have 20,000 followers on Instagram and 12,000 of them buy ten copies of your book because you posted about it. That type of conversion means you have an engaged audience consuming your content. That’s valuable.”

He went on to say, “On the other hand, let’s say you have 200,000 purchased fans. When you post something and it gets zero engagement, those followers have zero value because (1) they either don’t care about your content or (2) they’re not real. Either way, your follower count does not represent their real value to you.”

So here are a few ways to help increase your engagement. And because I love acronyms, here is an easy one to remember.  

L.E.A.R.N which stands for:

  • Listen

  • Earn Their Trust

  • Amplify Your Posts

  • Relationship Building

  • Network

Listen - One of the most important ways to engage is to step back and listen. What is your audience saying, what are the most important topics they are interested in, who loves your brand, who are the major players and influencers on social?  A social media audit is one of the best ways to understand your audience. An audit will help you build a roadmap to what type of content you should distribute to get the most engagement possible on each social media platform.

Earn Their trust - Of course having a million followers makes you look “BIG TIME” but it means nothing if no one is engaging. And it looks like you bought your followers which is bad. REALLY BAD. Most of those “get followers quick” scams are just fake followers. And that means they are not real people. Having little to low engagement is a red flag to followers who don’t know you or your brand which can translate into a lack of trust and you not being an influencer within your industry. If you are a brand that has higher engagement you are seen as an authority in your industry which in turn, builds trust and loyalty. Influencers with high engagement result in the best ROI because their audience values their recommendations. So how do you get this high engagement? It’s simple. Consistent and GREAT content. 1 blog a month is not going to cut it.

Amplify Your Posts - Okay marketing people… Settle down. I know you have no budget but unfortunately thanks to Mark Zuckerberg it’s pay-to-play time. We have spent YEARS building our followers. Yes, YEARS building our followers and now you can’t talk to all of them unless you pay. Sigh. But there is a lot you can do with very little budget. For example, on Instagram and Facebook you can reach 1,000-3,000 people with as little as $20 per post. The key is to target the right people. I have seen an increase in engagement of over 2,000% with just $20. Crazy! But make sure the post you are amplifying is not a snooze fest. Make it interesting.  If you really have NO money, concentrate on Instagram. I have seen some of the highest organic engagement in Real Estate on Instagram. Many brands get an average of 1-2 likes/RT’s on Facebook and Twitter but on Instagram they are getting 40-60 likes. That is HUGE. So please do not write off Instagram.

Relationship Building - Connect with the people who LOVE your brand. These people are your tribe aka your BFF’s. These are your unpaid brand ambassadors. They eat, breathe and want to be in the loop with the latest in what you are doing. Next, you want to connect with the people who don’t know you but have similar goals and interests. Follow, like, retweet, comment and share their posts. Show some love because social media is not all about you. If you aren’t showing the love you just end up being that annoying person at the party who won’t stop talking about themselves that probably had a little too much to drink.  Be consistent and keep being social because every conversation and connection counts.

Network - We sometimes forget that just like real life in real estate, you also need to network online. Find the influencers and look at who is liking and commenting on their posts. Reach out to those engagers because I say, “once an engager, always an engager”. Also make sure it’s known that you are a blogger/influencer and very active on social. Does your website have all your social icons and do they all link to the correct url? I know it sounds simple but you would be surprised how many sites I go to and the links to not work. Does your email signature have all your links to your social profiles and blog? Does your LinkedIn profile state that not only are you the VP of your company but also a blogger? Does your business card have your twitter handle? Just think, you can promote your social on any assets you use to network IRL (In Real Life).

So to wrap this up… If you want to increase your engagement, don’t just broadcast to your followers but be a part of the conversation! Lead the conversation by curating and creating great content consistently.  Unfortunately, there is no “Easy Button” in social. Add value, put in the work and never stop LEARNing. And that company that asked me how to get a million followers? They currently have 1,600 and were bought out by a HUGE company. Again… Followers mean NOTHING.

How Do I Take My Content Marketing To The Next Level?

We can help! Whether you’ve stumbled across this blog and are curious about real estate content marketing or simply need help executing your existing strategy, connect with our team of professional real estate Content Marketers to learn more about how we can help. At The News Funnel, we currently manage social media and write blogs for over 75 companies. We also offer social media audits, content marketing strategy, and much more.  Let us take the dirty work out of content creation! We make it easy at an affordable price. Contact Jen@thenewsfunnel to learn more!