Building a following on social media can be tough. Building a relevant, authentic and engaged audience is even harder. Audience quality is far more important than audience size, so I try to look beyond vanity metrics of follower / following numbers which can be easily inflated by bots or automation.
Here’s one thing I do regularly to check on the quality of the audiences that I am building on social.
For the 20+ social media accounts that I manage, I like to check the bio cloud of my followers and following using a paid social media analytics tool called Audiense (Free if you have less than 5,000 followers / following combined). Check out the results for some of my accounts! (Bio clouds are accurate as of 29 April 2018)
Deborah Kay: @debbiediscovers
This is obviously my personal Twitter account, which has been around for about 3 years now. It’s nice to see digital, social media and marketing as the key words in my follower and following bio. Love the fact that there are some founders and writers too.
The Gifted Singaporean: @giftedsgp
This account has been around for about 3 years as well and tweets news related to gifted education, so definitely very pleased to see the strong focus on educator, teacher, gifted and learning.
Little Coders Singapore: @littlecodersSG
This is my kids coding Twitter account – it tweets news about kids coding. Followers / following are mostly edtech educators / teachers into technology.
Digital Futurist: @digitalfuturist
This account was started 2 years ago and tweets about digital transformation. So I am super happy to see that followers are also into digital transformation.
World Orchestras: @0rchestras
This account is only 1.5 years old – and tweets about classical music, orchestras, and operas! I’d say my audience building is on fleek based on my follower / following bio cloud, with composers, artists, producers, singers and lots of music fans! Also, I love the fact that this account has been listed almost 200 times!
Now that was interesting! Well what about platforms like Instagram?
Instagram depreciated their API recently, preventing third party apps like Audiense from providing third party analytics, so unfortunately you will not be able to run this analysis yourself. However I still would like to showcase what one could hypothetically infer. It is possible to build this analysis with Instagram’s new graph API and I’m sure that other tools will soon emerge to provide this type of analysis.
Let’s have a look at my Instagram accounts!
ColorMeHappy Cosmetics: @colormehappycosmetics
The official Instagram account for my lippie brand rightly has an audience of makeup artists and beauty & fashionistas in Singapore!
ColorMeHappy Ambassadors: @colormehappyambassadors
Am happy to see a similar profile for our ambassador account – we also have a number of bloggers following us here!
Singapore Sailing Team: @singaporesailingteam
This account is new – it started in September, and I took over officially in October. Since then it has grown from 300 followers to over 7,000 – and I’m super pleased to see that we have been able to achieve rapid growth, without compromising the quality of our followers. Our community is strong and engaged, comprising of sailors and sailing teams
Deborah Kay: @debbiediscovers
Last but not least – here is my personal Instagram account. This one has been harder to build though growth has accelerated with a strong visual identity (see my top 13 Instagram tips for growing any Instagram account)
For Advanced Users:
For Twitter, Moz’s FollowerWonk (FREE) gives a one-word bio cloud as well as a two-word bio cloud!
Two word bio clouds shed a lot more light on your audience profile!
Two word bio clouds can give a much richer picture than one word bio clouds!
Summary and Takeaways
Could I have grown my accounts faster? For sure. But it would certainly have come at the expense of audience quality. So my takeaways are as follows:
- For Twitter users – check your one and two word follower / following bio cloud with Audiense or Followerwonk! It’s free if you have less than 25,000 followers or following.
- For Instagram users – you can use a web scraper to extract bios of your followers / following, and a word cloud generator to generate. I like using Jason Davie’s Word Cloud Generator!
- Don’t be tempted to grow your followers at the expense of building an engaged community. You could easily buy followers, but what’s the point? You want to build an engaged and relevant audience that appreciates and engages with your content.
Follower count is a vanity metric. Instead, invest the time to slowly build an engaged community on social. Your brand and your clients will thank you for it.