Jun 30

How Someone With 2000 Twitter Followers Can Be More Powerful than a Person with 25,000

Much of what Seth Godin says seems like common sense to me. Unfortunately, I’m finding more and more that companies need his lessons pounded into their brains. Here’s a video of Seth explaining that it doesn’t matter how many Twitter followers you have, it’s how effectively you can network with it:

The number of your social media followers does not matter. That’s like saying because you weigh a lot, you are a more powerful tennis player than Roger Federer. Federer can hit a tennis ball harder than people twice his size simply because he gets in position and has better technique. Tennis analogy not working for you? Here’s an example of what Seth is saying worked out:


1.) A person who blogs about foreign films starts following people who tweet about movies like “Dinner with Andre” or are tweeting about the Cannes Film Festival while it is occurring. By tweeting back and forth and engaging people, tweeting unique links, this person gets 2000 followers. Many of these followers have over 1000 film obsessed followers themselves.
2.) Another person buys followers, follows people just so they follow back, etc. The whole mentality of “I’ll follow you only if you follow back” is just childish. Tim O’Reilly offers useful info all the time and will probably never follow me in my lifetime. So what? Anyway, by playing this numbers game, this person gets a whopping 25,000 followers who are more concerned about reciprocal followers than actually getting useful information.

Say I’m marketing a foreign film. If I have these people tweet something with the intention of it getting as much exposure as possible, the person with 2000 followers will probably be of more use to me. Why? Because this person will get retweeted by people who actually care what I have to say, who would have a lot to offer their own followers by retweeting my stuff. Do the math:

2000 people exposed initially
x 6000 unique followers among these retweeters
600,000,000 possible impressions

vs. 25,000 possible impressions for person #2

Someone who just gets followers to have them will probably get few to no retweets, and often gets them simply with the notion that he or she will feel obligated to retweet in return. That’s lame. It’s not targeted or effective. So this person with tons of followers has little influence, because he or she is more focused on being perceived as influential rather than actually having something to say.

Power=mass x acceleration. If you are in the right position and surrounding yourself by people who actually care about what you are trying to do, you can do a lot more with a lot less. Ignore the numbers game. Engage people who are useful and who would find you useful. The numbers come, and not always where you expect them to.