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Do Numbers Matter Anymore on Social Media?

That was the question asked in a recent blog post on GovDelivery's Reach the Public. Inspired by author Penny C. Sansevieri's claim in her "Twelve Social Media Predictions for 2014" that numbers don't matter anymore because engagement is more important, the blog argued that numbers do matter to the public sector, it's just not the only piece. 

Sansevieri suggests in her post that what companies care most about is engagement. For example, are you getting people to communicate with you? Are they re-tweeting your content or leaving comments? Comparing it to an in-person event, she asks would you rather have a lot of people show up but half fall asleep mid presentation? Or would you rather have a smaller group that is very engaged and asking questions? To Sansevieri, a good social media presence is more than the number of followers. 

However, the public sector is a bit different. Of course engagement is important and a good way to determine how helpful your content is, but the number of followers also matters. As the Reach the Public blog notes, "the number of people you reach with a message can have a profound impact on citizens’ lives." Considering so many government organizations are sharing information on storms, public safety, emergency management etc the more subscribers they have, the better (think Superstorm Sandy).  

As we look down the road in 2014 and the next few years, it seems like it's going to be a "have your cake and eat it too" scenario. To meet your agency's goals, you will need engagement (and a lot of that is going to come online). But you also need people to see your messages and know what you are offering. Which is why, Reach the Public, notes  "numbers are no longer the only things that matter."

I encourage you to check out the full blog post here which also includes 3 tips for increasing engagement. 

What do you think? Do numbers still matter? Or is engagement more important?

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Replies to This Discussion

Catch22, in my opinion, they are both equally important.  

It's not the number of connections you have, it's how many people believe in you or your product, and how engaged do they become when you have their attention.  That being said, if you don't have an audience to share your product/service/skill, how can you be successful?  

If you have a valuable product/service, and you are using social media within your market, you should be able to capitalize.  The key is "within your market", in my opinion.  



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