It costs $4 to get each follower on Twitter

by Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded  |

In social media, it is hard to tell what is that really worth. For example, do you know how much a facebook “like” is worth or a Linkedin “connection” is valued at? Because the social media world is still very new, everyone is trying to see the real dollar value beyond the stories and occasional exceptions we all experience from time to time.

I recently saw a report from a memo by the Twitter Advertising Department. It stated that the Cost Per Follower (CPF) for promoted accounts is anywhere from $2.50 – $4.00 per person. For those who may not know, promoted accounts are ones who Twitter suggests users to follow – “Hey if you like your friend, Holly’s Twitter Feed, you’ll gonna love the Tweets from Hollister.”

Here are some broad stroke averages for Cost Per Customer (CPC) by marketing method:

• Google Adwords – $319.17
• Web sites – $101.23
• Email marketing – $6.00
• Attending networking events – $118.62

I only included new and alternative marketing channels since that is what many business are most interested in. Here are a few reasons why I find the Twitter memo and the CPC data interesting:

1. It confirms my belief that social media isn’t really free. If it’s done well, it’s typically not free. Not only do you have fees to the social media sites, but the cost of labor for your staff, or you, to keep on top of the feeds and content. (Just as this blog takes considerable time for me to devote to on a consistent basis.)

2. Even though it’s targeted, the ROI is not as cheap as you may think. Yes, I think new media and social media has given us marketers a great tool in allowing us to laser focus our efforts, but the information doesn’t support the belief of social media and new media is cheap or free. The tools are free. To use them are free, but to get real leverage out of them, it takes investment as in other traditional forms of marketing.

3. Marketing is still #1. What I mean by that, without marketing, you will not be in business for very long. It is rare that a company exists for very long without it. Most start ups survive by word-of-mouth at the beginning.  They can even grow to a respectable size without marketing. But, eventually, to sustain the business and to take it to a higher level takes investment in marketing, online or offline. Even anti-marketing Google has invested millions of dollars over the last 6-7 years in traditional and online advertising.

By not buying into the myth that social media and online marketing is free, a business can adapt a different mindset by investing in paid tools for these new platforms in harmony with their investment in other marketing tactics.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

2 Responses to “It costs $4 to get each follower on Twitter”

  1. Good post Tony, especially the CPC figures.

    I have to agree, the often brandished “Be Social, Especially as its Free” doesn’t really wash with me. To be truly effective in Social Media you do need to have a dynamite brand, preferably with good awareness offering reason for people to want to connect with you or money. Money to invest in incentives, tools or, as you say, time.

    I am very much as fan of Social Media and do encourage businesses to adopt it into their strategy. For what it’s worth, you have earned your new twitter follower, whether it cost $4 or not 🙂


    • Michael, thank you for taking time to read my blog. You make an excellent point about the need of a “dynamite brand”. A great brand is all you really have that is unique. I appreciate your participation. It’s worth way more than $4 (ha). –Tony

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