Have you checked the social media small print?

Tees Business co-editor Martin Walker on why businesses should beware inflated social media numbers…

Turnover is vanity and profit is sanity, so the saying goes.

In social media terms, I use a similar principle. Followers is vanity, but engagement sanity – because that’s the real barometer of whether an account’s content is being seen.

Too many media outlets harp on about their social following. One here in the North-East appears to have more than 40,000 Twitter followers. Another member of the local media claims to have more than 16,000 followers.

But if you take a closer look at their accounts, the dozens of Tweets they churn out on a daily basis are getting little to no engagement. One of them recently launched about 300 news Tweets in the space of just two hours. But the majority of their “followers” would definitely have missed every one of them – because they were all launched between midnight and 2am!

I’ve just taken a further look at the same account. As I write, in the past 24 hours they’ve sent out 34 Tweets – and not had a single Like or interaction of any sort with even one of them. You’ve got to ask if those many thousands of “followers” are even real.

Granted, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get noticed on all social media platforms these days.

It’s a crowded place, and if you’re a business trying to market to other businesses, extended reach comes at a cost.

But that’s no excuse for trying to hoodwink potential customers into thinking your huge army of “followers” are all going to see or even react to their content. Because, as the above stats prove, they’re not.

At Tees Business, we’re transparent with all our figures – whether it’s readership numbers, social media reach or website visitors – and when it comes to social media, our numbers are pretty impressive for those Tees businesses who want to reach other local businesses.

In the last 28 days, our Facebook posts have reached 35,000, whilst achieving 11,000 engagements.

During the same period, our Tweets have had 126,000 impressions (views), with 729 link clicks, 511 likes and 194 Retweets. That’s been achieved with fewer than 4,400 Twitter followers. How? Because our followers are real. They are interested in what we Tweet because they’re interested in the Tees business scene.

We don’t try to sell our social media reach. It’s a given that our clients who book space in our magazines benefit from it as added value, but other businesses that aren’t our clients also benefit from this reach by sending us their news, which we share across our social media channels.

Like most businesses, we spend a small amount on social media advertising. But the figures outlined above are all organic, which proves the point that engaging content does create interaction, no matter how much Facebook and Twitter restrict it.

So we’re politely advising businesses, that the next time they get the hard sell about an army of social media “followers”, to just check the small print. Or, more to the point, ask for their engagement stats. Or just take a look yourself.

Martin Walker
Co-editor, Tees Business

 

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