The Trials and Tribulations of an Influencer’s Follower Count

Social media is forever changing and evolving. Recent trends suggest that an influencer’s follower count isn’t as important as one originally thought. I mean, what’s the point of having a large follower count if they aren’t actively engaging in your content?

A quick look through various social media accounts can show a lot about an influencer. High follower counts and low engagement doesn’t always necessarily mean influencers are buying fake followers though.

Pewdiepie, Swedish YouTuber and video game commentator, currently has over 88 million subscribers and takes the top spot for most subscribed channel. His videos typically reach between 4 and 13 million views with the occasional video reaching up to 20 million views, which under normal circumstances would seem like a lot. But the dude has had 88 million people click subscribe!

Shane Dawson, also a YouTuber, who mainly creates docu-series revolving around other YouTubers, currently has 21 million subscribers. His videos are each currently receiving between 13 to 35 million views. Everyone seems to be loving Shane lately for his original content and reinvention of the YouTube scene by using his platform to dive deeper into bigger issues and by creating content that viewers had yet to see successfully from other creators.

On the other side of the scale is Zoella. Zoe Sugg, UK based beauty and lifestyle vlogger on YouTube, currently has just under 12 million subscribers. The majority of her videos just reach over a million views, but her channel isn’t succeeding like it once was. Since she stopped uploading to her “main” channel, her subscriber count has slowly started to drop.

Mackenzie Fogelson breaks down the way you should be measuring success on social media. Instead of focusing on follower count, she recommends you judge on three metrics – conversation, amplification and applause. These three things are a much better way to track engagement on social media posts and accounts.

Just the other week, influencers were losing their minds when Instagram did a “follower clean out” that got rid of inactive, fake and spam accounts. Obviously, this means that follower counts would drop dramatically… and drop they did. It was interesting to see influencers freaking out to Instagram, claiming that “Instagram is their job and they should stop messing around with it”, which draws the debate of caring more about follower count as opposed to engagement.

Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams has co-created a social media app that, get this, doesn’t focus on follower count. The layout of the app follows a similar one we see on Instagram, but follower/following statistics don’t exist. Williams announced that the feature was deliberate. She told Refinery29 that “When you have this reward-based system where you have view counts and followers, you start creating things those followers want, rather than creating things yourself as an artist,”.

Follower counts act as a kind of currency on social media – the bigger the count, the more successful you are in the influencer world. From influencers buying followers to boost up the social scene to fake, spam accounts clogging up someone’s followers list, influencers must start focusing on things such as organic engagement and natural reach to determine their stats and success.

Do you focus on your follower count on social media? Let us know what you think about this “issue” influencers face in the comments.