Here is the big deal with social media followers

A woman checks the Daily Monitor page on X (formerly Twitter). If you are a social media user, you are most definitely a follower yourself, be it actively or passively. You must understand the efficacy of interacting with your followers often and following relevant profiles.  PHOTO/ Michael Kakumirizi

What you need to know:

 Sharing links to your website in your posts and updates can encourage your followers to visit your site and learn more about your business.

There is a buzz about growing your social media following on various social media platforms that companies are milking dubbed - ‘Followers’. Depending on which platform, these can also be known as subscribers.

Since several people access these social media platforms such as like X formerly Twitter), LinkedIn or Facebook daily, even multiple times per day, this creates a big opportunity for brands to not only be exposed to their customers, followers, and target market but also interact and communicate with them. 
Both personal and business accounts can have followers.
If you are a social media user, you are most definitely a follower yourself, be it actively or passively and you have followers too. 

An article at Klipfolio defines social media followers as individuals who subscribe to a specific social media account to receive regular updates and posts in their news feed.

“Followers are critical to the success of a social media account since they indicate its popularity and influence within the platform,” the report on the real-time data analysis app reads. 

Ms Linda Evelyn Namulindwa, a Water Resources Engineer and a digital marketer, adds the aspect of support, criticism and loyalty to opinions, ideas and teachings of a particular person being followed by these committed enthusiasts; the followers. 

Following can be based on trade interests, be it at a business-to-consumer (B2C) level, business-to-business (B2B) or Customer to customer (C2C) where the followers’ interest is solely to keep up with the goods or services offered by a business or individual. 

On the other hand, the influencing prospects on netizens, that social media platforms present, have been harnessed by some individuals with a sizable number of followers, to offer unique guidance and inspire innovation. It often spills into opportunities beyond online spaces such as brand ambassadorship and appearance bookings.

This, therefore speaks to the narrative of Ms Cynthia Kyofuna, the communications and marketing lead at Hi-Innovator, of followers who subscribe not necessarily for the purpose to purchase, but to gain enlightenment from the proficiency, insight and valuable perspective of those they follow. 

Ms Namulindwa notes: “The ones followed in this perspective are termed as ‘Thought Leaders’ with a knack to draw on past experiences, analyse the present and illuminate the future to create comprehensive, unique views in their area of expertise.”

Follower count
The gist of this conversation is the profitability prospects generated from the number of followers or connections as termed on social networking site designed specifically for the business community such as LinkedIn. 
That aside, when an account hits 1,000 highly engaged followers, it is considered an influencer on the basis that its content has a sway over audiences in that space.

Some have professionalised this as a job or side hustle, while for others, it is still a low hanging fruit. They have the numbers but have not taken it a notch higher.  

One must understand clustering in terms of numbers since gains made are heavily reliant, yet not limited to, this factor. 

Ms Namulindwa explains: “One whose account has followers between 1,000 and 10,000 is a nano influencer. The ones with 10,000 to 100,000 followers are micro influencers.” 

In addition, when an individual or company’s account has between 100,000 to one million followers, these are macro influencers and more than a million are mega influencers.

 “Some specialist niches have nano-influencers with less than 1,000 followers. But this is on rear occasions,” she says.

Possessing a considerable number of followers signifies that a brand is reputable,  and deserving of attention. 
Resultantly, many have benefited from the visibility which exposes one to a vast range of feats. This is limitless, stretching to social life, where people develop intercontinental real friendships, life partners, mentors and a lot more. 

Furthermore, career connections and business partners have emerged by observing the digital footprint of individuals and companies, where the following is a big factor. 
Ms Kyofuna says followers can also be monetised on the different social media platforms. 

For instance, a report by Influencer Marketing Hub, says the average per-post payments received across various platforms by influencers are about Shs728,000 ($195) per post for 10,000 or fewer followers.
With 10,000 to 1 million followers, an influencer can earn about Shs4.6m ($1,221) per post. Mega and macro-influencers earn nearly Shs6.7m ($1,804) and more per post.

An article on linkedin highlights how in 2023, the market for influencer marketing is expected to be worth around Shs79b ($21.1b), which is 29 percent more than the previous year.  That shows that businesses are spending more money than ever before to take advantage of the benefits of influencer marketing.

“Micro and nano-influencers have a more engaged and loyal audience. By working with them, brands can tap into a highly committed audience and potentially see better results from their marketing campaigns,” Ms Kyofuna says.

To grow your social media following 
Mr Daudi Ogutu, team leader, kafunda kreativ, says it is very important for one to start by identifying their forte, study the social media platform their targeted audience uses most, and then consistently produce authentic content. 

This helps maintain the followers, increases engagement rate that subsequently translates into the ever increasing follower count. 

“You seek to produce quality content consistently over a period of time. Then people start to be expectant. Reliability is also key as you build trust to assure people you are not just passing,” he says. 

Inasmuch as there are many other ways to grow the following, it is essential that you understand the efficacy of interacting with your followers often and following relevant profiles. 

On the other hand, the more the following, the more likely one is to face challenges such as privacy and exposure to hackings. 
For instance, the private video of a twitter influencer in Uganda that was leaked, very recently.  

Interaction keeps getting harder, negative or even hate language hence cyber-bullying are more likely as the followers increase in number.