Social Media Following: is Bigger really Better?


In social media, it’s what we’re all striving for, right? To have that big following. To see the zeros get added to followers count. The bigger the following, the more respect we command and the more potential for making money, right?

Social Media following is bigger really better

Not really.

There is something I’ve been suspecting for a long time now, but only just recently had the numbers and data to back up my theory.

And that is this: the bigger your following gets, the more your engagement drops.

According to this recent podcast from Agorapulse, who looked at 30,000 Facebook business pages, the average reach potential for a small page of say, 1,000 fans is around 40%. When your page likes reach 10,000, that number drops dramatically to 21%, and pages with 100,000 or so fans are only reaching 4-5% of their audience.

That means a page with 1,000 fans is reaching around 400 of them, on average, and a page with 100,000 fans is reaching 4,000 of them, on average (organically). So, yes, you may have more fans, but you’re reaching less of them, on average, than you were before. Still, obviously 4,000 is more than 400, so overall, your numbers are up. But is the ROI worth it?

And it’s not just Facebook. Instagram is similar. You’ll find, on average, that a larger account (10K+) will be getting somewhere between 1-3% engagement, while a smaller account will likely be getting somewhere between 5-10% engagement, on average.

This is the reality of the algorithm and how it works in today’s world.

There are, of course, exceptions. There always are.

But the reality is, in some ways, you’re better off having a smaller, more engaged following, than a larger one who doesn’t engage.

Of course, there are other advantages of having a large following:

  • Social Proof: the reality is, that many businesses looking to work with influencers just look at that follower count, and they don’t look any further. That’s why it makes it so easy for people to buy followers, and get away with it. Obviously, don’t succumb to that temptation. It’s not worth it.
  • Ad purchasing: if you have a larger following, you can for sure boost your post so that more of your audience sees it (although technically you can do this if you have a small following too, you would just need to expand the reach of your audience).

I guess the question we all need to be asking ourselves is this: is it more important to have an engaged audience? Or a big one?

What do you think? Please respond in the comments below.


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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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