Check your Twitter Follower Count and compare it against your Blog Subscriber Count. Which is the bigger number? Which of those counts is growing faster?
I asked my Twitter followers this question, and overwhelmingly the answer came back that you have more Twitter followers or Twitter is catching up fast and likely to overtake.
The folks who have far fewer Twitter followers than blog subscribers are those who I would call “Well Established”. Their audience has been subscribed for a long while and in large numbers, while their Twitter following is recent and likely made up of a subset of their huge blog or email list audience. Uber bloggers like Darren Rowse and Brian Clark come to mind, and internet marketers who can call on hundreds of thousands of email subscribers like Frank Kern, Jeff Walker, and Rich Schefren.
Why is Twitter Overtaking Blog Subscriber Count?
In the case of Twitter dominating, I believe this is down to the relative ease of recruiting followers and the method in which it happens.
Twitter is like blogging but accelerated and concentrated. Rather than links, comments and trackbacks, we discover new people to follow through replies, both to you and to others. If someone replies to me with an interesting comment, or if someone I am following has an interesting conversation with someone I haven’t discovered, I am more likely to follow them. People who would otherwise go unnoticed in the blogosphere have found attention far more efficiently in the Twittersphere.
This is even more pronounced when you get noticed by the Twitter movers and shakers. As in the blog world where an A-List link can boost your subscriber count, this happens much more often on Twitter. Tweets are cheap, it isn’t a big deal to fire off a message, compared to writing up a blog post, so a conversation with a big named Tweeter can drive hundreds of follows with little effort or risk on either side.
There is also the “reciprocal follow” where someone follows you so you follow them back. It doesn’t happen all the time but it is virtually unheard of in blogging.
In the case of personal blogging, Twitter has mostly taken a big chunk of the action. Before we would subscribe to the feed of people we wanted to stay in touch with. Family, friends, or just people who we found interesting. Twitter now provides the same role, with the bonus of immediacy of updates and instant interaction.
The End of the Blog Feed?
There is much to be said for the blog, or email newsletters. Not least is depth and detail that is not possible in 140 characters. But that in itself could be seen as a disadvantage as reading more than a few sentences feels like “effort”. Writing a few hundred words even more so. 140 characters means “just the facts”.
Blogs will more and more have to provide value greater than mere links, quips and trivialities. The chit-chat conversation has moved, and your content and community will need to evolve. Discussions on blogs will need to take more thought and provide more value.
What Should We Learn?
People with large, established audiences, can add many more Twitter followers just by pointing out their Twitter Feed, but to move their audience to follow in quantity will require the promise of something over and above business as usual. That requires interaction and original content. Not everyone will have the time or see the benefit, so we are unlikely to see 1:1 matches across the board, however those that do engage will benefit from viral effects and social audience growth.
Chris Brogan is the reverse of the big-blogger stereotype. While obviously being an established blogger pre-Twitter, it was social media and Twitter especially that cemented his popularity and profile, and therefore I see his Twitter following fueling his blog subscriber count growth through fantastic content promoted via cleverly tweeted links. The lesson here is your Twitter Feed can grow your blog if you model successful Tweeters like Chris B.
Either way, you need to:
- Provide unique value in both Twitter and Blog.
- Drive followers to your sites with carefully crafted and selected links.
- Encourage subscribers to engage you in conversation in Twitter.
- Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of both.
- Continue to observe those who are gaining traction and learn from their example.
What Do You Think?
Are you seeing this phenomenon? Have your own theories? Please share your thoughts in the comments, or of course, on Twitter