Twitter cofounder Ev Williams spoke out this week saying that Twitter followers really aren’t the most important metric for users. Instead he said, “The thing I think would be more interesting than followers is retweets,” because it will do a better job to get an idea of how your content was distributed.
Ultimately, it’s about how many people saw your content, according to Williams, which is part of the reason Twitter has been restricting its API to third-parties. If Twitter controls the interface, it can deliver better data than we can get elsewhere.
Are Platforms Moving Away from Cosmetics?
Fans, followers, subscribers, etc. really don’t mean a heck of a lot. It’s gotten so bad that fake followers and likes have been bought, which Facebook took steps to combat this week when it removed a vast amount of fake accounts.
A follower or a fan is cosmetic if the brand is unable to entice the person on the other end to take action. Plus, there’s the challenge that a brand really doesn’t own its followers or fans. They’re merely rented for as long as the brand uses a particular social network or until the social network decides to change the rules.
It’s clear that both Facebook and Twitter know that the obsession with followers and likes is coming to an end, which points to a need to evolve. However, for Facebook in particular, this obsession has led to a lot of revenue as advertisers use Facebook ads to build their fan bases. Still, platforms are looking at other ways to show value beyond amassing as many people as possible.
Platforms refocusing may force marketers to refocus as well.
Are Marketers Ready?
Fans and followers make life simple for us. The idea of “the more, the better” appeals to marketers’ need to see scale and reach as many people as possible.
The question is do we want what’s easy or what is right? The right approach is getting as many of the right people as possible, not just anyone. Those are the people you can distribute your brand message to in a way that aligns with their passions and their personal interests.
The benefit of going after the right people is a brand’s message doesn’t fall on deaf ears, which means the brand looks more successful because it sees a higher level of engagement.
Are we entering an age of really putting quality over quantity? I hope so.