Growing your social media audience is important - it shows you're focusing on the right elements and producing content of relevance to users. But equally important, and where we've seen increased emphasis on in recent times, is the make-up of that audience, as opposed to the number itself. Getting a million followers is largely useless if you're doing it by posting off-topic news stories and inspirational quotes from cats - it's how that audience aligns to your brand's wider goals that matters, how those audience members are interacting with your business, via click-through rates, conversions and/or subscribes. Your social media presence needs to have defined goals, and if those goals are being met, then you're meeting your targets, regardless of vanity metrics.
That said, audience growth remains important, and while you're putting all your effort into boosting your reach and numbers, it can sometimes be hard to get a handle on how well you're actually doing, how your follower growth compares to wider industry trends. Of course, as with most things in social media marketing, this is largely a case-by-case proposition, but even so, it can be helpful to get an understanding of the bigger picture, to have an understanding of what numbers are 'normal' in the current social landscape. And given the exponential growth of social media, what's 'normal' is changing all the time.
To offer some perspective on this, TrackMaven have put together a 'Social Media Inflation Index', a study which takes into account the social media followings of almost 27,000 brands to offer insight into what sort of audience growth they're seeing and their comparative percentage growth of followers across each of the major platforms. The data shows that Instagram follower growth was by far the highest across 2015, which makes sense, as more marketers started to pay attention to the platform, with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter trailing behind.
The data can help provide some context around what results your brand is seeing, and whether you're growing at an average, or above average, rate, while also highlighting where brands are getting more attention, and where you also could also consider putting focus.
The full infographic of TrackMaven's findings is below, with a range of insights into audience growth rates across the major platforms.