Audience development is central to every successful social media marketing plan. Who should stay? Who should go? Who should be pursued? Followed? Unfollowed? Liked? Liked a lot? Blocked? Engaged with? Whitelisted? Ignored? Funnelled down? Funnelled up?
Social media marketing plans should address these questions in a section titled “Audiences and Audience Development”
The primary measure of success of any social media marketing plan is how many net new followers are gained during a given period. We use the term “net new follower” because in a given period some followers will inevitably leave which can create a situation where a brand must make up for lost followers. With well managed accounts, this “churn” rate is modest because the audience is a good fit with the brand.
Low churn accounts give the audience what they want: no reason to leave or unfollow.
Monthly and quarterly periods are the most common duration to measure net new followers and associated churn. With professionally managed accounts net new followers should always be positive; there should never be a “down period” unless related to seasonality, hacking, or a software glitch. Some publicly available audience development APIs have been known to exhibit strange behaviour, the most risky of which is unfollowing followers.
It is important to keep a close eye on audiences because they are a tangible asset of the brand. For this and other reasons, measuring net new followers and other audience characteristics becomes increasingly important as the audience for a brand develops.
Sure, we can argue about the value of a follower, but we can agree that under most circumstances a Twitter or Instagram account with 200 followers is worth less than an account with 6,000 followers. Non-public accounts (i.e. private, confidential, or “cloaked entities” operating on social media) are exempt from the accretive value rule.
Enumerating followers begins with understanding your audience.
The better a brand understands its audience — who listens, who engages, who is active on another platform, who recently joined, who recently departed — the better the brand is positioned to improve its communications and relationship with current and prospective customers.
All of the social platforms provide meaningful insight into the mix and consistency of an audience. We use Twitter to demonstrate what off-the-shelf benchmarks are available. There is no need to augment this data with third-party sources; any free Twitter account provide this level of granularity.
It is advisable to track as many components as possible at least once per month in a formal KPI reporting document. this includes 30 and 90 day impressions, net new followers, and other engagement metrics.
Twitter provides a number of metrics to understand the composition of a brand’s audience. We take advantage of the free data Twitter provides by using software to improve the most desirable aspects of an identified audience.
Twitter’s audience is particularly desirable because of the education and earning profile of the average Twitter user.
The following metrics are available to any Twitter user, free of charge. Brands can also use third-party products such as followerwonk to gain additional insights that are helpful to strengthening an audience.
Maximizing reach through audience development
With so much raw data available about audiences, many brands develop goals associated with growing the depth and concentration of various audiences within a stated range or demographic perimeter.
Sky Alphabet has developed its own software — known internally as MAGnet — that quickly identifies and acquires the identification of target audiences.
Our first goal is to sort through the hundreds of thousands of potential followers to understand what users are most likely to become long-term fans of the brand?
We’ll get your audience turned on to what you have to offer. We’re pretty sure no one else can do it faster than we can.
— SKY Alphabet 🚀 (@skyalphabet) September 6, 2017