I was planning a big blog party when I reached 1000 followers. Well, the milestone has come and gone. I decided against the celebration for a couple of reasons. The blog has just gone through a month long anniversary extravaganza. How much partying can my blog followers stand? One can take a good thing too far, right?
My second reason has to do with the subject of my last post – taking a sober second look at my social media platforms. I got to thinking about how WordPress follower stats are arrived at. This passing the 1000 mark may not be the source of celebration I once thought it would be.
WordPress adds up WordPress members who have actually gone to my blog and chosen to follow, with people who have gone to the blog and followed by asking for email notification of new blog posts, with Facebook followers, with Twitter followers (the last two groups may have never visited my blog), to come up with a grand total.
Here is how the numbers break down for me:
- WordPress – 428
- Facebook (author page) – 203
- Twitter – 429
Facebook author page
I used to get around 2 new likes on my author page per week. There was lots of time for me to check out the people who liked me and see if I liked their pages. It was mostly authors liking authors, but I also had friends of friends and the occasional total stranger. It was all good. Over the past weekend, I have had 40 people like my page. Cause for celebration? Cue up the happy dance music? Not so fast.
I am currently running a Rafflecopter draw for two $25.00 Amazon Gift Certificates to go along with the Blog Tour I’m doing. I checked out at least 30 of the new people who had liked my Facebook author page and they all had Facebook pages entirely devoted to entering various contests. A fine diversion if you have the time and who is to say they aren’t also avid book readers. Still – that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I ran the contest.
Each new blog entry I do is posted to my Facebook author page, so all those who have liked me do see that notice in their newsfeed. That is if they haven’t blocked info from me the second after they liked me. Who knows? My point – this Facebook stat (203) probably means very little when it comes to my blog.
Twitter followers go up and down daily. I don’t follow everyone who follows me, so I often get dropped, which is fine by me. I look at Twitter as a means of fast-paced social engagement. The simple truth is that I don’t want to engage with everyone.
Including Twitter followers as part of a global blog follower count doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Like Facebook, my blog posts are automatically tweeted out to my followers. There is exposure. But just because someone follows me on Twitter is no indication that they will want to stop by and read my blog.
This number has grown slowly but steadily over the last year. It’s the number that seems actually to mean something, but even this stat can be misleading. An average post on my blog might earn anywhere from 12 to 32 likes. A far cry short of 428 and these likes often come from bloggers who don’t actually follow me. Obviously, not everyone who follows me stops by to read my posts and that’s fine. We’re all busy.
I know my true followers through their comments. I think that the only stat that matters is the number of comments on the blog over time. People who take the time to comment are engaged with the material I’ve written, and that is the definition of a follower – for me, anyway.
Moral of the Story
I take the stats that people display on their blog, related to the huge number of followers that they have, with a grain of salt. I ask you to do the same with my blog. The value of social media is to engage with other people on topics of similar interest – to create an ongoing dialogue.
What are your thoughts on the whole issue of blog stats and followers? Let me know what you think. I’d love to get into a dialogue with as many of you as I can.