The other day, I listened to my friend, Kathleen Ndongmo speak about the advantage of curating existing content, over developing fresh content. The advice was intended for small organisations without the resources to develop original stuff. She also spoke about how an organisation must develop social media content with an end goal in mind. She was right.

I have observed businesses talk about how they want to grow followership on social media. At the back of my mind I’ve wondered, “To what end? You want thousands of followers, Yes. But what do you plan to do with them or what do you want them to do for you?” Should followership only be about numbers, bragging rights or winning a popularity contest?

Now that it’s possible to buy followers, how useful is follower count really, as a metric of social media success? Not very. That’s why I prefer to use engagement and purchase action instead. Specifically, I want to know how many followers:

  • Click on a link to read an article, buy a product, sign a petition or register to attend an event
  • Share content on their own timelines
  • Provide feedback about products that can be used in product development
  • Resolve product or service issues online
  • Feel a greater affinity for a brand after online interactions with it

The point is, as a business, unless you focus on a real business objective, you will lose time and money on social media. In essence, you will become a producer of entertaining stories, which your followers consume at their convenience, with no thought of rewarding your effort.

I think the most rewarding social media initiative by any Nigerian brand is GTBank‘s Facebook Banking (though discontinued). Having created a loyal audience through their social media accounts and Ndani TV; the bank introduced Facebook Banking as an easy way to open bank accounts. The proof of success is the thousands who opened real accounts, generating deposits for GTBank. Can social media impact your business? Yes.

If your business goal is to generate custom on social media, do ensure you build a sales funnel, that clearly guides people through the process of ordering and paying for your product or service online.

You can gain insight into your audience’s engagement levels via analytics tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and Twitonomy. You can also check the click through rate of your links, if you use URL shorteners like, and For instance, I recently discovered that my most engaging posts are not my business offerings, but rather, my personal reflections. This tells me a lot about my audience and their thirst for what they call, “being real”.

You can also learn a lot from the most engaging posts by Nigerian brands on Facebook, as reported by Social Bakers:

1. We are interested in celebrities: The most popular post in 2014 was a birthday greeting for Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa.


2. We love games: A puzzle by GTBank produced incredible engagement. Now we understand why Candy Crush was a hit in Nigeria.


3. We love freebies: Nigerians were quick to participate for a chance to win a cellphone in Samsung’s giveaway.


Hopefully, you’ve gained a few insights from this article to help you develop an engaged (and profitable) audience.

I wish you the best.

Engagement & sales, not followership is the true measure of #socialmedia brand success. Click To Tweet

6 Thoughts to “Engagement Not Followership”

  1. Nice article Subomi, but I feel your post tilted toward the big brands. Does these strategies work for smaller brands also?

    I’ve managed a couple of smaller brands and big brands and I can tell you that those engagements are as a result of the psychology people feel with big brands. E.g – during Don Jazzy’s last birthday, I posted the same content as Jumia and they had more engagement than I had.
    Why is that? I had followers too? And I post regular content. I just think that 9 out of 10 times, users feel the need to share content from top brands – which they know makes them feel cool rather than to share same content from a random page or blog. This doesn’t affect users on Twitter though, but has more impact on people on Facebook.

    Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

    1. In any brand building effort, contextualise your market. Nigeria is a band wagon market. You cannot escape this unless you’re selling a niche product.

  2. Agree with u 100%……most times we are fucosed on the wrong things, am gonna have to share this

  3. Following and learning. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *