Everyone always seems fascinated with Twitter follower counts. Friend Beth Kanter was recently added to the official Twitter recommended list, which in turn added more than 100,000 new followers to her account. We decided to see what kind of impact the new following brought with it.
We did this by retweeting a link to the above photo featuring her and fellow BlogPotomac Keynote Shel Israel. Before Beth’s tweet, the photo had approximately 140 views. After she tweeted it, the photo garnered another 260 views, ten of which you could assume came from prior tweets and links.
So unofficially, Beth’s then 120,000 followers produced a click through rate of 0.2 percent. Now on my feed of 7,500 followers a popular photo like the above if it’s not retweeted (as this one was when I dropped it) usually gets about 50 click throughs, or approximately 0.7 percent. In this case if you include RTs, I accounted for roughly 150 views or 2 percent (sounds like email click throughs).
So the lessons learned? Generally speaking, with more casual followers you lose engagement and influence power.
While the actual number of click throughs increased with numbers. if the following isn’t organically or naturally cultivated then people care much less about your tweets, and are not as likely to click through. Influence wanes without relationships. Social media is still relational. It’s better to cultivate a rabid community than a massive following.
I’ve seen this same phenomena on large client Twitter accounts as well as heard it from other folks with 100k Twitter followings. Bigger is not necessarily better.
P.S. See Beth’s post on how she came to be listed, and the impact it’s had on her.