I've been having some interesting exchanges on Twitter about whether or not small business owners should concern themselves with the number of followers they have. The conversation started when I Tweeted this: "Saying you don't care how many people follow you on Twitter is like saying you don't care how many follow your site, newsletter and blog."
This statement is addressed to professional small business owners, not to obnoxious people who constantly Tweet about themselves all day long. If you own a business, Twitter is one of your websites, and just like all of your other sites, it has to reflect a professional image. Twitter is about sharing things that you think are important, interesting and entertaining. As a small business owner, you want to know that, when you Tweet something, people are listening or have at least chosen to have access to what you are sharing. While obviously not 100% accurate, Twitter follower counts are a measure of the number of people who are listening to what you have to say.
Do you know how many blog subscribers you have? Of course you do! That number doesn't mean that every single subscriber reads your blog each time you update it, but it does provide an indication of the level of interest in what you have to say. Twitter is the same thing. It's just a different kind of blog.
How many of you would publish a newsletter without knowing how many subscribers you have, and the rate at which you either gain new subscribers or lose existing ones? Would you maintain a blog if no one ever commented or subscribed?
What if your Twitter follower count was not automatically publicly displayed, just like your number of newsletter or blog subscribers is not automatically publicly displayed? Would you check the number every now and then to see if anyone was following you? I would, and if no one was following, I'd either close the account or change my strategy in an effort to gain new followers.
Twitter follower numbers are a tangible indication of how many people are interested in what you have to say. As a small business owner, I think that's a number you want to keep track of and maintain.
Question: Do you keep track of how many people subscribe to your blog? Your newsletter? Your Twitter updates? Why or why not? I'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.