Dear Brands, Stop Focusing on Your Number of Followers

June 13, 2016

Dear brands,

Stop focusing on your number of followers.

I know what you’re thinking. This chick is crazy! Somebody is about to get fired! You know nothing, Jon Snow Christina Li! But hey, hear me out before you send me north of the wall. Trying to increase your audience is a legitimate goal for any social media campaign. However, a large following is not a magic bullet that can solve all your problems with sales, brand awareness or brand advocacy.

Accounts that have a lot of followers may impress new users at first glance and prompt them to follow them, but more often than not, one of two things will happen:

  1. A brand will lose new followers as soon as it acquires them.
  2. A brand will retain its followers, but they will never become customers who contribute to the company’s bottom line.

So how can you prevent your brand from having to choose between sucky door No. 1 and sucky door No. 2?

Focus on creating engaging content instead of acquiring followers. Once again, for the people in the back: focus on creating engaging content instead of acquiring followers. The number of followers you have means nothing if your lack of quality content makes people want to push the unfollow button. So instead of putting all your eggs in the follower basket, focus on creating content that will eventually attract followers who are here to stay. Here are a few tips to help with this transition:

Stop buying likes. For those of you who don’t know, there are third party services who will actually promise your brand a certain number of likes or followers in exchange for some green. This practice may seem extremely tempting, especially for a business that has just started or one that cannot afford a marketing department. But no matter how uphill your battle may seem, don’t buy likes. Like, ever. Not only is it shady, it’s useless. Dummy accounts made just for the purpose of following brand pages will be found out, and you’ll eventually be back at your original follower count. And $50 poorer.

Side note: This practice should not be confused with purchasing ads or sponsoring posts. This is actually a legitimate way to attract users, especially when you’re working on platforms with a pay-to-play algorithm.

Create a content calendar. Devise a strategy that will increase users’ interaction with your content. That means stop posting on social media when you feel like it and develop a schedule. And then *gasp*, actually follow it.  

Don’t spam your page with sales pitches. Like our PR Director Julie Gauthier wrote, it’s not you, it’s them. Whether you’re creating news or social media content, frame everything you post with the user in mind. This means posting content that is helpful, informative, entertaining or a combination of all three.

Keep up with trends. So you’re finally ready to stop focusing on that number and start focusing on content. Great! Now start producing work that is hot right now. It’s the year 2016, and videos and live streaming are on freaking fire. Get to filming, y’all.

Best of luck,

Your friendly neighborhood social media specialist