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.

  • Mark Gardner

    I’ve been trying to explain this concept to people for a while. You did a great job. Thanks for the article.

  • http://www.ferodynamics.com/ Ferodynamics

    I just learned from TechCrunch you can use bit.ly to track the spread (success) of your links very easily. You just take that funny bit.ly URL and add a “+” (plus) at the end, gives you an animated hourly Flash chart. Anyway, not a new innovation, but more handy than anything I’ve seen before.

    Something else I’m trying: I publish the most recent tweets of everyone I follow, on my blog’s front page. Now my own blog is my favorite destination for news. Also, that should extend link juice to the people I follow.

  • Pingback: There’s nothing wrong with a little social media spring cleaning — Shooting at Bubbles

  • http://dustyreagan.com Dusty Reagan

    This is a great post! In fact I’m gonna’ retweet it! :)

  • http://www.keithburtis.com Keith Burtis

    Holy Moly! Great article. This is very well articulate and I am glad that we connected via twitter. I really don’t have much to add here besides the fact that your blog should be subscribed by all! Great job. Heading into the archives now!

    Keith Burtis

  • Sarah

    This is a breath of fresh air. I can follow 25000 people, but if half of them are bots, what good does it do me? I have been targeting those I follow lately. The results have been much more useful.

  • http://reinventingerica.com Erica OGrady

    This is a topic I talk about A LOT. Numbers meant something once…but the minute people found a way to “Game” the system…the numbers lost their value.

    There are people I know on Twitter with less than 1000 followers who are a million times more influential then the spammers with 25K followers. They have built a strong network based on Real Relationships and Common Interests. They have gone for Quality over Quantity. And they have won :)

    Erica OGradys last blog post..Week One of ReinventingErica.com – CHANGE

  • http://beth.typepad.com Beth Kanter

    I couldn’t have said it any better than Erica has above. It’s the relationship that matters. Your person #1 – is building relationships that stick. Your person #2 is focusing on transactional relationships. One is a marriage, the other a one-night stand.

    Beth Kanters last blog post..Jon Husband, Guest Post: The New Realities of Engagement – Stories That Drive Action Planning and Implementation

  • http://zencontrol.net zencontrol.net

    Good one , we have both schools of thoughts…and I think both are correct as well as incorrect up to certain extent. A person with 2000 followers may also have bots or people just interested in follow back, and person with 25K followers can also have many people genuinely interested in content, who retweet his content….
    Still I would say the post is really good :-)

    zencontrol.nets last blog post..Give Positive Energy to Your Relationship – 10 Mantras For Happy Married Life or Relationship

  • http://www.delbourg-delphis.com Marylene Delbourg-Delphis

    Very nice piece – Basically if you have a focus and a focused audience, you have a more focused shooting power and higher chances to reach a target that feels an active part of your tribe. A company that has a focus is usually more successful than a company with a scattered “potential.”

  • http://hummingbird604.com Raul

    Completely agreed. And you’ve proven your point. Your post includes relevant information, good insights and reflections and it’s been re-tweeted to the end of the world.

    That’s what annoys me about the followers game. I don’t care if I have 2, 2,000 or 200,000 – I have the BEST ones.

  • http://www.47project.com Rich Harris

    Freakin’ excellent!

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