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The 2% Rule and Twitter

Recently, Anil Dash wrote a great piece about how  Nobody Has A Million Twitter Followers If you haven’t already read it let me summarize:  millions of followers are as inconsequential to brands as they are to individuals if they are not grown “organically” (his example was Twitter’s Suggested User List)

I’m no marketing or social media expert but, I’m going to have to disagree a little based on the 2% rule.

The 2% rule has long been the measure of successful marketing campaigns. Send out 200,000 flyers to your widget sale and only 4000  buy – 2% rule says: success!  Marketers have been using these kind of metrics for years! I see no reason not to use it analyzing the bots, brands and real people on Twitter, tweeked a little to account for Twitter’s real time platform.

Lets try this:

Followers of @botsandbrands = 1,000,000 (thanks to the suggested users list on Twitter)

For the sake of continuity, lets say that 2% of these followers are actually interested in what @botsandbrands has to say and have @botsandbrands on a Tweetdeck list or other type filter, lets call them “true fans”

True fans of @botsandbrands = 20,000

Lets take it even further and say that of that 20,000, only 2% are paying attention at the same time to what @botandbrands is tweeting about, let call these guys “attentionistas” (It’s my blog, I can make up words if I want)

Attentionistas of @botsandbrands = 400 twitters at any one time

Now, lets go even a step further and say that out of the 400 of @botsandbrands One Million followers that are paying attention right now 2% of them think that what @botsandbrands has to say is so mind blowing and relevant that they reply to or retweet @botsandbrands.  Lets call them “Engaged fans”

Engaged Fans of @botsandbrands = 8

That’s right. According to what the ole’ 2% rule says the effort taken to accumulate One Million followers on Twitter is a successful race if 8 of them reply or retweet them in real time.  I told you I disagreed “a little” with Anil, they aren’t ALL inconsequential.

Moral of the story – Don’t feel jilted or left behind if you are not on Twitter’s suggested User List and don’t have millions of followers. Chances are, if you are engaging, relevant, and build relationships ye’ ole’ fashioned way – one person at a time, your twitter stream will be the party everyone wants to attend.  Ever heard of the party invite rule? It’s a hearty 50%.

You can follow me on twitter at @melissapierce.

4 replies
  1. Roberto Valle
    Roberto Valle says:

    Nice post, but I do not agree. I have been working in some twitter communication campaigns and I can tell you 2% that you are talking about is real, but as a Ctr not as conversion rate. As you can see on Google, not everybody thats clicks on an ad , buys or is counted as conversation. Any marketer that could be considered a good marketer should not mesure clicks, you have to measure actions. On twitter, actions are a medium- long turn effort, and well at least for me twitter should be used as a conversation tool not an old media marketing channel.
    I guess there will be a lot of people and brands who will profit from having a massive amount of followers, but the key is not how many people you can get to follow you but how many people you can get to interact with you, and interacting with 200,000 is like trying to have sex with all of them… insane. 😀

    Cheers! Again great post!

  2. venerablechronic
    venerablechronic says:

    2% of 400 is 8 people. Just sayin’. Makes it virtually pointless.

  3. Melissa Pierce
    Melissa Pierce says:

    It only too 13 months for someone to pay attention to the math, bout’ time. Thanks Ben, fixed.

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by melissapierce: Want One Million Followers on Twitter – Use the 2% rule. http://bit.ly/6njJjM (I hope I got the math right)…

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