In social networks such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, a follower is a subscriber to an account. The term was coined by Twitter, but it has since become accepted as a general term for fans or followers.

The follower was originally an invention of the micro-blogging service Twitter. The follower system simplifies the possibility of reacting to tweets – for example, by integrating them into one’s own account, through comments or favorites. You become a follower simply by clicking on “follow” or “subscribe”. The user sees the tweets of the person they are following on their own timeline. The more followers, the more important, well-known or popular the person or company behind a social media account is considered to be. Bloggers use followers to provide more traffic for their own blog, which is linked to in a tweet.

The number of followers is a gauge of awareness and popularity. Companies therefore use social media accounts primarily for online marketing purposes.

Do more followers lead to a better Google ranking?

A link on Twitter is provided with the Nofollow attribute in the HTML source code. This instructs Google’s robots not to follow such links. This means: followers are not a direct ranking criterion. This also applies to services such as Facebook and Instagram.

However, the number of fans following a profile online is an indirect SEO factor. What matters is that users are offered content that resonates. When users read posts about topics published on company websites, Google registers it. Many users come to these posts via hashtags, likes or other social media detours. So the more followers, the more attention and potential visitors there are for content on websites and blogs.

SEO experts therefore repeatedly give companies tips on how they can optimize their accounts on social media portals to ultimately receive more visitors as a result. One example: Subscribers on YouTube immediately receive a message when a new video has been uploaded. This video draws attention to a new product that is described in more detail and offered for sale on the company’s website.

Hashtags draw attention to topics

Hashtags indicate the topics to which the content of a tweet refers. This means of meta-keywording (“#” + “keyword”) is used in social networks such as Pinterest and Facebook, as well as in the micro-blogging portal Twitter. Moreover, the hashtag today already has a meaning as a keyword in itself.

In the portals Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest, the hashtag stands for the labeling and tagging of images. LinkedIn and Facebook introduced the hashtag in 2013. Searching via a hashtag takes you to posts that have been posted on a corresponding topic. Thus, one can use already established hashtags that relate to topics on one’s blog (or link from the tweet to one’s blog). You can also introduce your own hashtags in tweets. If these are picked up by other users and commented on further, interesting synergy effects arise.

The importance of hashtags is demonstrated, among other things, by the fact that the term “hashtag” was chosen as the word of the year in the USA in 2012. In Switzerland, the double cross (“#”) was declared the word of the year in 2014.

When formulating a hashtag, attention should be paid above all to meaningfulness. When participating in discussions under an already existing hashtag, it is not always advisable to rely exclusively on currently high-ranking hashtags. This is because your own tweets or posts often get lost in the crowd.

Become an influencer with followers

If you have a lot of followers or subscribers, you can become an influencer. Influencers are among very valuable people for advertising today. They are targeted by marketing agencies to place certain products or effectively support campaigns. Online marketing with influencers has the great advantage that wastage is extremely low.

Example: X’s online blog deals with outdoor articles. Company Y gives X a tent. X tests this tent and writes about it in his blog. He refers to this blog post on Twitter. His followers – most of them outdoor fans themselves, of course – find the tweet in their timeline and read the blog post because they are interested in the topic and attach great importance to X’s expert opinion. Company Y thus achieves a great deal of attention for the new article with little effort.

Tips for more followers

Successful profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Co. live from their followers. There are some important points to keep in mind when gaining new followers:

Anyone who comments on or likes tweets and other posts by users from their target group gains followers themselves – or keeps existing followers as active followers.
Following accounts of users from your own target group is also helpful.
The design of one’s own account on a social media portal can also positively influence the number of followers.
It is also important to link from your own blog to the accounts on social networks.

Buying followers?

At best, attempts to artificially increase the number of followers have a short-term effect. There are numerous dubious providers for this – but in the long run, only content that offers users added value has an effect. There are many signs of unnatural growth of followers. These signs are also known to the operators of social media portals. The consequence of purchased followers is often penalties up to the complete loss of an account.

Caution: If a company is followed by a conspicuously large number of well-known users with a poor reputation, this can have a negative impact on its own image. Therefore, it is advisable to reject certain follow requests in case of doubt.

Not only celebrities have a high number of followers. Companies also use the Internet for their commercial purposes. An account in a social media portal that is followed by many users achieves a correspondingly higher level of attention. The goal of using followers in the commercial sector is clear: Ultimately, the purpose of a tweet is usually to attract users to one’s own website. Direct SEO effects are not to be expected from a high number of followers – but more attention always leads to more visitors to one’s own website. That is why followers are so valuable.


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