Social Media Engagement vs. Follower Count: Which Matters More?

It’s easy to get swept up into wanting more followers on social media, but let’s talk about a metric that matters more: engagement.

I’ve recently been seeing more of those “You can get 100,000 followers in one simple step!!! [insert emojis]” comments on my Instagram posts. Does it mean that I’m legit now that this happens regularly? Whether or not that’s the case it reminds me of a very important piece of social media marketing: follower counts aren’t everything. Engagement is key.

I touched on this over on 7twelve’s blog recently, but wanted to expand my thoughts.

What Social Media Engagement Means

Simply put, social media engagement is interacting with other users. It can be in the form of favorites, tweets, shoutouts, retweets, conversations, etc etc.

I like Sprout Social’s example of a long-term relationship. A committed relationship requires “dedication, readiness to adapt, the ability to think about the future and ensure the other person involved is happy for years to come.” You do this for loved ones, so why not your followers?

Simply put, engagement means being available to your community. Give them high-quality content, interact with them, do giveaways or live chats, and be available. Sure, you’re busy and your loved ones do need to come first, but remember that those engaging with you matter, too.

Why Follower Counts Don’t Mean Anything

Sure, at one point, they may have, but with follow bots and some only following for contests, they’re not as important anymore. Even measuring social reach and internet clout by one’s follower count isn’t very relevant anymore.

The answer lies in engagement. You can have a million followers on Twitter, but if you aren’t providing great content and engaging with followers, that number means nothing.


So which should you focus on?

You can probably already tell that I’m firmly in the engagement over follower camp. Yes, it’s important to want to grow your presence. But you can also grow your presence by focusing on engagement, employing some key methods to get your content in front of more eyes, and organically grow your numbers from there.

Social media engagement can be summed up in four words: remember the Golden Rule. Do for others what you would have them do for you. You like when someone acknowledges you, right? Right. So let’s reciprocate with our community, and we’ll be better off than if we had a million unengaged followers.


How do you engage with your community?