How many of your 100K+ Twitter Followers are Real?

  • Buffer

I often marvel at Tweeps that have a follower count north of 100K. I’m talking about non-celebrities of course. This is quite a feat no matter how one arrived at this number. While there are hundreds of Twitter tools out there that can assist in getting followers, it still takes time. You could use every trick in the book, including automated services (usually a no-no which violates Twitter’s TOS), and it would still probably take a year to get over the 100K line. While I’ve always found it to be an impressive number, I know it’s not a real number. Our followers include Bots and inactive users. Everyone has their own definition of an inactive follower, but I would say someone that hasn’t sent a Tweet in an over a month to be inactive. So how many inactive followers do you have?

SocialBro is a tool that allows you to manage and analyze your Twitter Community. It helps in getting your arms around the question in the title, and plenty more. Other Tools include monitoring a hashtag, analyzing your lists, Best time to Tweet, and analyzing competitors. SocialBro also provides a dynamite filtering system where you can isolate certain groups of users.

The chart above from SocialBro shows number of followers and when they last sent a Tweet.

Twitter Followers – 12,018
Tweeted in the last Month – 9,047 (Active)
Tweeted over a Month Ago – 2,971 (Inactive)

So based on my definition of an Active Follower (Tweeted in last month) my percentage is 75.3%. It is actually a bit higher than I anticipated. However, it also means that almost 3K or 24.7% of my Followers are dust. Valuable information that gives you a better grasp of your Twitter account. There isn’t any reason to follow these inactive Tweeps. If you’re serious about your Twitter account, this Tool in SocialBro gives you the foundation to do some cleanup.

Real-Time Analytics – Drum roll please…Earlier this week SocialBro unveiled a Real-Time Analytics feature to its Tool set. This allows you to view active users, and shows their total number of followers, that have tweeted in the last 5 minutes. The screen updates automatically every 10 seconds. This is some great stuff. The picture a below is a screenshot from Tuesday.

Damn, only 86. I actually watched over the last two days, and 97 was the highest it reached. So with over 12K Followers (yes I know about 3K are inactive) there are only 75-97 actively using Twitter at any one time. Ugh. Just to give you some perspective, my 2nd Twitter account started a month ago and just shy of 300 followers, was running between 15-20. This account is primarily filled with people I know. So 86/12,018 versus 17/291. Well, you can do the math. While you can’t control who follows you, being more selective of whom you follow should lead to a more efficient Twitter account.

So do you really have 100K followers? Well not really. Go over to SocialBro and find out your real numbers.

44 comments
brebory
brebory

It's annoying, because #TeamFollowBack is so ubiquitous and tempting, but really, what actual benefits do they offer?  What's the point of having so many followers if none of them are going to ever actively or meaningfully engage you?  Very good points brought up here.

Lisapbs
Lisapbs

This post is AWESOME. I can't count how many times a client says they want us to get them 50,000 followers or 10,000 Facebook likes. I can help do it for you, mostly by reaching out to people in India or following know "follow-back" people. But why? If you're selling medical supplies in a pharmacy in Iowa, who CARES what a disk jockey in Sri Lanka thinks? Numbers are NOT important. True people, and true engagements, are. Very well said, and thanks for the Social Bro tip.

Joanne Greco
Joanne Greco

This looks like a great tool!! I'm going to check it out. Thanks for posting about it.

knikkolette
knikkolette

I downloaded SocialBro months ago and haven't used it much... Definitely need to start using it more. Thanks for writing this post - it will get me moving on it - that's for sure! :)

ECwrites
ECwrites

I want to check out that site--sooo interesting!

AlanJobe
AlanJobe

unless you are coming up against the limits on how many you can follow back, which can be a whole separate consideration, you have no incentive to remove inactive followers. And when you have grown your following to the point you really have to worry about it.... there are lots of services that will help you to quietly unfollow the inactive. Twitter is kind of it's own art form. It can be tweaked and you may have some success using just as a place to broadcast content you create in other streams....but PR bots, aren't usually the ones with a ton of followers.

wordwhacker
wordwhacker

I love this feature of SocialBro. I find that usually only about 10% of my followers are active at any give point. I also know that about 10% of my followers are completely inactive. I wish I could sweep them away, but I can't.

btw, you should have written, "of whom you follow" since "whom" if the object of the preposition phrase beginning with "of."

etelligence
etelligence

This is one of my favorite subjects, and it has been since Newt Gingrich started catching flack for supposedly buying followers. I highluy doubt he bought any followers, but despite evidence to the contrary, anyone who is a Democrat or Mitt Romney supporter will tell you he did.

The studies I've seen show that there are very few accounts with over 50,000 followers who have an over 50% real-active followers to inactive/computer controlled followers. Over 50% of the accounts on Twitter are either fake spam accounts, or do not even have a single tweet. The follower number is extremely deceiving. When I think about the 86 people you're seeing online at one time though, it is promising. If you notice the click through rates on Triberr, 1 tweet gets usually 4-15 click throughs. Worst case scenario, that's a 5% click through regardless of headline, and in spite of the Triberr link formatting which is obviously from them.

Great Post Steven. If I get some free time in the next week I'll definitely have to check that program out.

BlueBirdBC
BlueBirdBC

I love @socialbro ! No other tool gives me as many helpful analytics and ability to directly manipulate my accounts. I really like the integration of tools like @bufferapp and @peerindex

Next on my whish list would be a custom report (including Google analytics) that I can download :-)

Great post! Thanks for sharing

BlazingMinds
BlazingMinds

I've been using SocialBro for a couple of days now and I do have to say that it certainly opens your eyes to what's going on with your followers etc on Twitter, so much shouting and nobody hearing ;)

enstine
enstine

Perfectly well put! It's really time to start getting concerned about the quality rather than quantity of followers. I'll give the social brother a shot too

organichat
organichat

Glad to see tools like this make it to the mainstream.. I'll have to check it out.. Thanks for the info..

fsusma
fsusma

I am aware of an interesting Twitter story. A young lady established a Twitter account with herself and her then boyfriend in the picture. I am still connected with her, but she has abandoned the account. How do I know, besides no new tweets? She broke up with that boyfriend over a year ago, dated someone else, became engaged and now is married. I suppose someone needs to tell her to change the picture or close the account.

24x7Media
24x7Media

Hi Steven, I have been using SocialBro for a few months also. It provides great insight and helps me determine action steps in managing my followers

HLeichsenring
HLeichsenring

Inactive menas, they are not writing tweets, but what about reading? Don't you think, there are people who are more on the listening side?

Kind regards from Germany

Hansjörg

ViolaMyers
ViolaMyers

Awesome post! Most of my followers are from http://xeeme.com/ViolaMyers. I do have some randoms that add me periodically, but my XeeMe account connects me with real people.

candacemountain
candacemountain

I can see this information being valuable. One other thing about inactive followers is you can often unfollow the severely inactive which frees room for growth and if they find out and unfollow you, there is nothing really lost.

Shelley Pringle
Shelley Pringle

Great post, Steve. Thanks for sharing that great information on SocialBro. I've made it a point to clean up my Twitter account using unfollow, but it's pretty time consuming (I use the free tool). I'll be sure to check out SocialBro, especially since it has such great analytics.

leticiapolese
leticiapolese

Fantastic post, Steve! Excellent points. I'm happy that SocialBro "helps in getting your arms" to check out which of your Twitter followers are real :-)

crixxan
crixxan

Wasn't this always to be suspected? Great post, thanks!

Lucas_Wyrsch
Lucas_Wyrsch

All, simply because I select them all manually! And you can check it through twitalizer!

http://twitalyzer.com/reach.asp?u=Lucas_Wyrsch

where you get the following results: Potential Reach: 1,071,563, Effective Reach: 263,525 from @Lucas_Wyrsch: 87,610 Tweets, 73,148 Following, 66,645 Followers and 1,314Listed

If you get less people in your effective reach than you are following, you can be sure that such a twitter account has been feeded by automatization. But if your effective reach and potential reach is far higher than the number of your followers, you can see that most if not all of your twitter followers are real!

rictownsend
rictownsend

Great topic every morning I get up an say "well I have almost 200K twitter followers" ...however I know most of them are not readers. Then I think 'I'll un-follow everyone and see who stays'... hmmm haven't done it yet, it's a bit daunting :-) Ric

jureklepic
jureklepic

Hey Steve,

nice post and yes SocialBro is an amazing tool i need to agree. I am using SocialBro from time that they first launch it. I use their features for cleaning all inactive users and manage my community. The Real Time option is really great i was using last night during the chat to see what was happening. As you know you can search real time option by hashtag as well.

My favorite option is The Best Time to Tweet special now that is integrated with Buffer.

GeneDexter
GeneDexter

Quality! Quality! Quality! It's the first, middle and last name in Social Media. Thanks for posting. Insightful

Purgly
Purgly

Very interesting tool, Steven. Thanks for sharing

mqtodd
mqtodd

Really interesting Steven. Thanks

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@wordwhacker Thanks for stopping by and commenting Linda. Well I'm glad many have already discovered the power of SocialBro, and others seem open to exploring. Thanks for the heads up on the whom error. I caught right after I published, then forgot to edit. It has now been edited. All is good. :)

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@etelligence Thanks for stopping by and commenting Adam. I can definitely buy those numbers. Could you see Twitter adding % Active Followers to profile? Me either, but food for thought. Definitely give SocialBro a look Adam if you find some time.

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@BlazingMinds Thanks for the comments Karen. A lot of noise indeed, SocialBro definitely lays it out.

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@fsusma Thanks for sharing Richard. Yes, Twitter seems like a platform where you're in our out...Not too much middle ground.

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@ViolaMyers Sounds like you've built a solid Twitter Community Viola...Way to go...I need to do some cleanup on mine...Thanks for commenting, and have a great weekend...

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@candacemountain Very well put Candace, especially the users inactive over a year...a very small percentage of them will return

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@Shelley Pringle Hi Shelley...Yes there are so many Twitter Tools out there, and many get the job done. SocialBro is a little extra special. It's very easy to navigate, and has some amazing tools inside. Thanks...

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@rictownsend Thanks for sharing your experience Ric. Yes, they haven't offered the big RED button to unfollow all inactive users yet. I don't think Twitter would be to pleased. I'm thinking an interview with you on best practices to get 200K followers as a future article might be interesting. :)

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@jureklepic Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment Jure, much appreciated. Yes, with so many Twitter Tools out there (it seems endless at times) this one really made an impression. I'm glad to see you're in there using many of the Tools. Yes, the Best Time to Tweet I mentioned briefly, but the integration with Buffer is of great value.

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@Purgly Thanks Jorge, glad you found it interesting. Have a good one.

rictownsend
rictownsend

@GeeklessTech Well it would be interesting, however its not as they say "all about the quality of content"... then again I think I do provide quality... hmmm however I'm gues I'm biased :-) Ric

Trackbacks

  1. […] colleague Steve Hughes wrote an interesting post about Social Bro a few weeks ago where he took a look at how many of […]