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Twitter has 229 million daily active users, and 762 million tweets are sent per day.
This may sound like a lot, but it’s dwarfed by other social media giants like Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and even Snapchat.
Despite its relatively low user base when compared to other social networks, due to its reputation as the world’s “Town Square,” Twitter is frequently featured in the news and is used as a de facto online communication channel for many politicians and government agencies.
That allows it to punch significantly above its weight class when it comes to reach and engagement.
Due to these strengths, Twitter remains an incredibly important channel many businesses use to stay in touch with their customers and keep abreast of the developments in their industries. Just like with other social media platforms, more followers means more reach.
This means that growing your Twitter following has become a priority for any business aiming to be heard on Twitter.
But how many followers is enough? Is there a point of diminishing returns? What’s the sweet spot for the average number of Twitter followers for a small business? How about a large one? What are the best strategies to increase one’s follower count?
So we did what we do best. We crunched some numbers and talked to experts in an effort to answer these questions.
Let’s dive in:
So how many Twitter followers does an average business have? Does the math change if it’s a specific industry or type of business?
According to the data from our Benchmark Groups (sourced from 239 companies), the median number of Twitter followers for businesses of all types is just north of 1,000.
It’s clear from the graph that very few companies even reach 3,000 followers. The distribution is definitely weighted towards the lower end when it comes to the number of followers.
Want to benchmark your performance on Twitter, including metrics like followers, impressions, mentions, replies and more, against other companies? Join our Twitter Benchmark Group for All Business Types for free.
To get figure out how companies use Twitter, how many followers they have, and that’s considered a good number of followers, we interviewed 41 businesses. The largest share of our respondents (39.02%) were businesses providing B2C services or products, the runners-up (26.59%) are agencies in the Marketing, Digital, or Media fields, and those providing B2B services or products make up (24.39) just under a quarter of all respondents.
About 90% of our respondents said that their companies have Twitter accounts. However, a total of 19.51% stated the accounts aren’t being used actively. The remainder either don’t have company Twitter (7.32%) or aren’t sure (2.44%).
When it comes to the number of followers, the largest share of our respondents (26.83%) have between 1,001 and 5,000 followers, and the second largest group has between 501 and 1,000. What’s somewhat surprising is that a significant chunk of 12.2% aren’t sure how many followers they have in the first place.
Here too, we see that there’s a slightly different split around the 1,000-follower mark — 39.03% of the companies interviewed have 1,000 or fewer followers, while 48.81% have over 1,000. Our respondents skew towards higher follower counts than the sample from the benchmarks.
The largest number of our contributors have more than 1,000 followers, so we thought it would be interesting to hear their opinions about the data from our benchmark group. What do they think about the 1,000-follower median?
The general consensus seems to be that the 1,000 followers is on the low side but that it can be considered a good start, depending on business size and other factors. It’s also not the only metric that matters. Engagement is also important, as it’s possible to have a large number of followers and a disengaged audience and vice versa.
Sofia Hamberg of Flightrarad UK points out that the number will also depend on the industry, the length of the company’s presence on social media, its age, and its size.
Growth Hackers’ Jonathan Aufrey agrees with this sentiment. Noting that while this is a good number for a local business that’s been on Twitter for three months, if a company has a large brand and has been on Twitter for five years, the 1,000 mark is definitely low, and the company should rethink its strategy.
“Small businesses that are still trying to get a grip on their affairs can do with 1k followers on Twitter,” says Marc Hardgrove of the HOTH. Effective branding, marketing, and SEO policies require companies to have followers in 5-figure numbers. In Hardgrove’s experience, companies that have followers in the 100,000 range can implement broader marketing tactics that appeal to a generalized consumer base, and the game is fundamentally different for them and for small businesses.
Some people reject the notion of a good and bad number of followers. Instead, Luke Glassford of Gambit Partners recommends focusing on the quality of said followers. “Are they engaging with your content, in terms of ‘Likes’, ‘Retweets’, and ‘Comments’? Are they clicking on the links you share and visiting your website?”
Glassford concludes by saying that he’d much rather have 200 followers who are engaged with his brand and are helping to amplify his content to a wider audience rather than 1,000 followers who ignore his Tweets.
Related: 24 Twitter Marketing Tips for Driving Engagement, Leads, & Sales
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There are no two ways about it. Social media is a numbers game, and increasing the number of followers your business has on Twitter is really the only way to expand your reach.
We polled our respondents about their efforts to increase the number of Twitter followers for their business, and Tweeting frequently is by far the most popular tactic practiced by over three-quarters of our respondents. Posting visual content is the runner-up with 68.19%, and utilizing hashtags comes in at a close third, with 65.85% of our respondents using that tactic.
Of course, many of them use more than one of these tactics, and combining them is definitely the way to go.
Here’s some advice our respondents shared:
Yes, it’s basic, but it absolutely needs to be on this list. High-quality content is one of the best ways to ensure you get a constant influx of new followers and that the old ones will not only stick around but also continue to engage with your tweets.
Andrew Lokenauth of Fluent in Finance says that posting high-quality content that’s relevant to the target audience is a must. This content should be accompanied by hashtags, as they make it easier for people to discover your content. Above all, Lokenauth advises engaging with the audience in every way available.
“Engage with your followers and other users on Twitter. This can include replying to comments, retweeting interesting content, and participating in Twitter chats. Collaborate with other users or brands on Twitter. This can include co-hosting a Twitter chat, cross-promoting each other’s content, or participating in a Twitter campaign.”
Rinal Patel of Suburbrealtor believes that tweeting consistently and engaging with people, both on the company’s threads and other threads, helped the company increase its follower count. “I was able to gain over 2000 followers in one month by being active and creating insightful threads on Twitter,” Patel adds.
This follows from the previous point. The ticket to success on any social media platform is engaging people. Vincent Luca of On Demand Pest Control advises just that.
“Commenting in threads under someone else’s posts proved an effective way to appear on other people’s radars”
However, don’t just post for the sake of posting.
“Nobody’s going to follow or even check your profile because of your “me-too” comments. One of the most significant spikes in new followers happened after I got into an argument in a thread; getting the new audience’s attention was way more important than winning the argument,” Luca concludes.
Ensuring the profile has up-to-date information and optimizing the description to both reflect the business’ brand and be easily searchable is another good approach. Flower Station found this tactic effective after trying a bunch of others initially. Of course, that’s not the only thing they do. According to David Cohen, the company’s CEO, they also post regularly and stay active.
“We believe our consistency and posting of high-quality and original content at the right times have landed us a number of increasing followers,” Cohen concludes.
One way you can use Twitter is to give other accounts a boost. They could be industry peers, employees, companies you’re working with, activists you support, or anyone else. It’s a basic “scratch each other’s back” approach, but it definitely works.Teodora Pirciu of Impressa Solutions uses Twitter as a tool for elevating the company’s audience, partners, or customers. “Brands that use Twitter to support others grow naturally, so I suggest this strategy to clients whenever I have the chance.”
While the free use of Twitter API is in a precarious position at the moment, users have been making good use of third-party tools to connect with people and schedule their tweets. The key is in picking the right app for your needs.
For example, Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging uses Twiends to boost followers and Buffer to ensure tweeting at optimal times.
The best way to ensure your business is on the right track is to compare it with other businesses that are similar in some way, and social media is really no different in that regard. Whether you want to grow your following, boost engagement, or increase conversions, you need to know the baselines if you want to know how you’re doing.
So, you need to know how companies in your cohort are performing. You need to know what’s the average number of followers on Twitter for businesses in your cohort before you decide how much effort you want to put into increasing it. In addition, you can see what you’re doing right and what needs improvement. You’ll also gain insight into some of the social media best practices by examining the methodology of well-performing companies.
How do you learn how many followers you need? How do you figure out what’s the average number of Twitter followers for businesses your size? How about in your niche? With your budget?
The answer is simple: Databox Benchmark Groups. You can join them and start benchmarking for all metrics you can think of.
Specifically, you can join the Twitter Benchmark Group for All Business Types, and all the information you need will be just one click away. What’s more, you’ll be able to track metrics like new tweets, retweets, mentions, replies, and more. This will allow you to further optimize your Twitter social media strategy.
Sounds too good to be true? Join Databox Benchmarks and see for yourself. It’s completely free, and it will make benchmarking easier than you thought possible.
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