Social Media: It’s Not a Numbers Game

Ian McIlwraith
Mar 3, 2018
Ian McIlwraith
Mar 3, 2018

When it comes to the commonly accepted definition of a “social media expert,” it’s someone who can grow an Instagram account to thousands of followers or a Facebook page to tens of thousands of likes.

But it’s more than that.

Social media relies on our natural desire to outperform those around us. When we see our posts getting more likes than someone else, it makes us feel good inside. When we have lots of followers, it gives us a “leg up” on others.

While this in itself is not a problem, it’s what happens next that is.

What can, and will eventually happen is that the numbers become all you’re focused on. In this results driven society, that’s not always a bad thing, but it misses a crucial point: engagement.

I’ve seen my fair share of Instagram accounts that have 3,000+ followers, yet only 4% of those followers like a given post. Sure, not everything you post appeals to or reaches everyone, but don’t you think that’s a low percentage? I believe a post of mine is performing well when 25% or more of my followers like that post.

People get caught up in the volume of the numbers. I don’t care (that much) about the volume. I care about the percentages of the numbers, and the level of engagement present. I’m much more likely to call someone with 1,000 Instagram followers and 300 likes on each post a “social media expert” than someone with 10,000 Instagram followers and 1,000 likes on each post.