Follower Count VS Engagement Rate: Which Is the Superior Metric?

Follower Count VS Engagement Rate

We have always looked at a creator’s follower count and determined their success online. As of late, follower count has proven to be unreliable to determine the influence of a creator.

I mean look no further than this year’s VidCon. This year’s VidCon was a lavish affair, but many creators were met with empty lines for their meet and greet. @missdarcei, who boasts 2,19 million subscribers on Youtube, opted to go back to her hotel room and ate Tostitos after arriving to find no one there to meet or greet. This shows a disconnect between follower count and follower connection.

But, how can we determine the success of creators if not by looking at their follower count? Well, you have to assess their engagement rate.

There is a lot to unfold here so let’s get started.

What is Follower Count?

Follower count, as I am sure most of you know, is the number of people who choose to follow you on social media. It is a quantitive metric that gave a vague indication of your social media success. Follower count, unlike other analytics, is readily available to gauge if your content is resonating with social media users.

As a brand, you may have looked at an influencer’s follower count and thought to yourself “ Yep, that is who we are sponsoring next” and you are not alone. For so long, we were under the impression that follower count was the be-all and end-all of social media marketing. Because of this misconception, smaller creators were often overlooked by brands.

What is Engagement Rate?

Engagement rate, on the other hand, is the metric that tracks how engaged your audience is by looking at the number of likes, comments, saves, and shares that your post generated.

You can determine the quality of a creator’s content by comparing the number of impressions they generate to their follower count. This will allow you to determine their success but also appraise whether sponsoring them is a good ROI.

Which Is the Superior Metric?

Both metrics have something to offer. Whereas The follower counts metric offers quantity in the form of a sizable audience, the engagement rate is more concerned with quality and connection.

If your followers are not interacting with you online by liking your posts, they are definitely not spending their hard-earned money on the products you recommend.

The problem with a follower count approach is you have no real indication of your sales performance. 1 follower or 1 million followers are all the same. If your followers are not interacting with you online by liking your posts, they are definitely not spending their hard-earned money on the products you recommend. The creator economy sphere is built on connection and interaction. The creator builds a connection with the audience by sharing snippets of their life and personality, and the audience rewards the creator by interacting.

It is also important to address the issue of bots. Let’s be frank, I can go online right now and buy 1 000 followers for $10. You might look at an influencer’s Instagram following and be impressed by their follower count. The thing is, what is the guarantee that these followers are real people? Their engagement rate is your guarantee. Bot accounts do not drive engagement as they are unable to interact with content online.

Lately, I have become even more certain of the belief that engagement rate is far more important than follower count. As we have mentioned in a previous blog post, TikTok and Instagram, The top two social media platforms right now, are both relying on an algorithmic recommendations system. To put it simply, they are not pushing accounts that we follow but content that have a good engagement rate.

Any social media marketing expert that is worth their salt would tell you that follower count alone will not generate leads and sales and that engagement is the metric to pay attention to.

We have discussed engagement before in more detail, and ways to drive engagement with certain social media management tools like Nuelink.