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Learning to Like Those Who Don’t “Like” You: The Importance of the Non-Follower Audience

Social media is often looked at like a fairytale — a magical journey filled with allegorical remedies ready to promote good overcoming evil (aka your brand overcoming competitive markets) — so you lay out your tiny breadcrumbs in hopes of leading the perfect subscribers, fans, and followers back to your platform. Whether that be Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard, or any other social media outlet, you aim to attract and capture the perfect audience.

Not only does that scenario cast you as the wicked witch (not good, my friend), it’s a limited outlook that is impractical, and frankly, as old-fashioned as fairytales.

It’s time to think outside the realm of your subscribers, your followers, your fans, and explore the world beyond — those who will NEVER follow your brand, will never subscribe, those who will not “like” your page but will be influenced and prompted to make decisions and are members of your audience all the same.

Unhinge yourself from the archaic belief that your brand’s influence on social media can be measured by the number of followers or likes you acquire.  This notion might command some child-like (even fairytale-type) faith, but believe us when we say, those followers you’ve captured and are obsessed with nurturing is an inaccurate understanding of brand audience.  Your social media numbers do NOT represent the actual amount of authority your brand possesses.

Still don’t believe us? Consider this:

Say you love live theater performances, so you buy tickets to see Peter Pan on stage. It was an exceptional performance, and you tell your friends and family so.  They don’t purchase tickets to the show, but they buy the soundtrack on iTunes or read reviews online, and they tell their friends who tell their friends who tell their friends about the amazing Peter Pan show.

The same thing can happen online. You have a Twitter account that you handle perfectly. Your ratio of promotional to filler messaging is on target, and you’ve built up a fair amount of presence. True, you can see how many followers you have, you are to see who is retweeting you, mentioning you, and favoriting your perfectly crafted tweets at the click of a button; however, can you see who saw your tweet that didn’t retweet, favorite or mention you? Can you count how many people noticed your post, not because they follow you, but because they follow someone who does, and then talks about it to their grandmother who has no idea what the Internet is let alone about Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram but then becomes a patron of your business due to that lengthy, unmeasurable process?

The answer? No. you. cannot.

You trust phrases like “word-of-mouth” and “through the grapevine” and understand that it’s not only intangible but indispensable, so why not rely on the same practices online, through the non-follower audience?

Audience is not  comprised solely of your fans, followers, or subscribers, and to define it in those strict, subjective parameters is harmful to your social media campaign.  Don’t be blinded to the fact that some people will never follow you or like your page, but it  doesn’t mean they aren’t seeing your tweets, going to your website, or supporting you and your brand indirectly and, therefore, acting as part of your audience.