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BizReport : Social Marketing : May 13, 2010


Report reveals fallacy of a fat follower count

Do you fret over the number of Twitter followers you have or, more to the point, don't have? Do you measure your micro-blogging prowess and success by their rising numbers? If so, a couple of recent studies should help lessen your anxiety.

by Helen Leggatt

Last month HubSpot announced it had discovered the "sweet spot" for the number of Twitter followers B2C companies needed to generate a lift in leads.

They put that number at around 100 - 500 with companies having that amount of followers experiencing 146% more monthly leads than those with between 21 and 100 followers.

However, HubSpot also found that if the number of Twitter followers exceeds 500 there is no discernible rise in lift.

New research, this time from Meeyoung Cha from the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Germany, claims that the number of followers a person has on Twitter is largely meaningless. It is no indication of influence.

In the report (.pdf), "The Million Follower Fallacy", Cha explains that the study didn't find follower count to be a bad metric. "Our claim is that follower count is not sufficient to capture the influence of a user (i.e., the ability of an user to sway the opinions of her followers)," she told Harvard Business Review.

"It only shows how popular the user is (i.e., the size of her audience). But, as we showed in our paper, retweets and mentions, which measure the audience responsiveness to a user's tweets, do not correlate strongly with number of followers."

Tags: Business-to-consumer, HubSpot, Max Planck Society, Research, Twitter










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