With a growth spurt in social media activities and the huge number of social media accounts, various metrics are used to prioritize, classify, or differentiate these profiles from the others. These metrics are used by many creators, brands as well as social media marketing organizations to assess the quality of social media profiles. 

The most popular metrics used are the number of followers and social media reach of that account. This begs the question ‘Reach or Followers? Which is the more effective measure to assess a social media profile?’

Reach or followers: both are effective measures, but not equally

People use reach and followers interchangeably, assuming both are the same. Let me start by putting both the terms in simpler words. 

Followers are the people who choose to see the updates on your social media profile on their feed. Your followers/subscribers will instantly get notified or have updates on their feed whenever you post new content. Reach, on the other hand, is a much more diverse concept than followers.

Reach refers to the number of social media accounts who can view your content because it appears on their screens. These people do not choose to view your content, but it appears on their account in accordance with their viewing choices, or the type of accounts they follow or have followed in the past.  Thus, reach is always greater than the number of followers. 

For instance, the posts that keep coming up on your Instagram explore section, or the videos that appear on your YouTube feed from the channels which you have not subscribed to, are all part of accounts which have potential in reaching out to you. 

It is clear from the above explanation that reach is more important and should be given more weightage while examining a particular social media account. 

  • Between followers and reach, followers is always the restricted number, whereas, reach is wider. Out of the two, number of followers is a less reliable source to sort out social media profiles.
  • When it comes to actually comparing social media accounts, we like to focus on reach.  Yes, followers matter and your message matters. Engagement matters too! All the likes, comments, retweets, upvotes play a great role to examine profiles.  The most important metric, I’d say is reach. When we look at results,  we pay attention to reach because if you have good reach, then you can focus on all other aspects of your profile to re-brand or improvise your social media profile. 

The rules for increasing reach or followers are the same

  • Focus on your content. The golden rule to increase your reach is to focus on the quality of your content. Not hitting those desired numbers of followers or reach, that is when you know it is high time to tap into your creative self and improvise. 
  • Engage and Interact. After altering your content, aim to engage and interact with your audience. Special Q&A videos, AskMeAnything stories and many other mediums are meant to boost those engagement numbers. 

Hitting the engagement goals will automatically boost your reach as well. Reach is well-dependent on the number of times people have liked, commented, or shared your content. The more the engagement, the higher is the probability of your content being displayed on more social media accounts. 

Measuring followers is the easiest as the numbers are clearly mentioned on the profiles of every social media platform. As for reach, these days brands and companies have many tools at their disposal to figure out the reach of a certain social media account.

Reach is more important and adds to your credibility. Followers numbers may stagnate and that’s something you shouldn’t worry about. Instead, your focus should be on how you activate those followers and how your content is seen by more people so that you can add more value to your social media profile.