The Hard Truth Behind Twitter Follows

twitter_follow_meThere’s no science, just hard work and some luck!

This is not another post about how to get more follows, how to become an influencer, or any other non-realistic feat on Twitter for the average or new user. This is about the hard truth behind the numbers.

Often you hear social media, marketing, and other experts tout their HUGE numbers on Twitter and how not to trust anyone that calls them self an influencer or an expert if they have low numbers on Twitter. We’re talking at least 5 figures.

Follow to follower ratio

What you don’t hear them talk about is how difficult it is to get follows and what good follow numbers are based on your follow to follower ratio, how often you tweet, and how long you’ve been on Twitter. There’s no magical equation or science behind these numbers, just some common sense and industry stats.

A few interesting stats

  • The average Twitter user has around 150 followers
  • The average Twitter user follows around 100 people

followers_count_distribution

On my personal twitter account (@digibomb) I have 1743 followers and I’m following 537 people. That means I have 1206 followers I don’t follow back , please don’t unfollow me :), which makes my follow to follower ratio very high. People follow me because they want to read my tweets and don’t expect a follow back – if they did expect a follow back they would most likely unfollow me.

I’m not saying I’m a super star Twitter user, but it’s tremendously difficult to get a 1000 followers. The chart above illustrates that. This is a milestone anyone can be proud of whether it be a personal or brand goal. True influencers rank high on their follow to follower ratio not because they have thousands of followers.

The louder you are

Those who know me in the “real world” know how loud I am! To some this can be annoying or even considered rude, it’s just the way I am, but in the world of social media this is a highly beneficial trait as long as you’re saying something interesting and intelligent.

Let’s take a look at the chart below.

ave_tweets_vs_followers

The above study revealed that users with more followers tweet more often. Logical. The louder you are on twitter – the more often you tweet – the more likely you are to get re-tweeted and favourited. The more often you get re-tweeted and favourited the more likely you are to get followed. Not science, just common sense. In the “real world” the louder I am the more likely people are to listen. Then based on what I’m saying they decide to continue to listen or walk away.

The average Twitter user has tweeted 794 times in the last 3 years. On my personal Twitter account I have sent 15190 tweets in the last 4 years, that’s an average of 3800 tweets per year, that’s more than 4x the average user. Does this make me an influencer? Maybe. Loud? Definitely.

Don’t believe the hype

There are thousands of posts online that claim if you follow these simple steps, tips or tricks you can get 10,000 followers in a few days. Bullshit! You can game the system to an extent and yes follow me and I’ll follow you back is rather common but not how you build true Twitter cred – influencers don’t play these games. You want a high follow to follower ratio? You want to be an influencer one day? You want to score high on Twitter? Then spend the time necessary to build a real following of users that care about what you have to say. Nurture your followers. Be patient. Easy follows can just as easily become easy unfollows.

Mark Shaefer published a great post on this subject – Here’s Why 100,000 People Unfollowed me on Twitter - where he discusses why people follow and unfollow at a phenomenal rate on Twitter and how that relates to the quality of your tweets.

What does this all mean?

Nothing. Be happy with the follows you have – they’re hard to earn – and do what you can to keep them. Always be cognizant of the quality of tweets you publish and track your follow to follower ratio monthly to see where you rank.

Most importantly look at the numbers in this study by beelove.com before you listen to the bad advice many agencies give. Remember, they are using their numbers as tool to board you as a client. The number of followers a so called expert has does not always make them an expert!

One thought on “The Hard Truth Behind Twitter Follows

  1. Pingback: Social Media tricks for extra followers for Authors | Indie Author Talk

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