5 years on Twitter vs 7 months on Google+…which has netted me more followers?

I noticed something interesting yesterday, I was close to having the more followers on my Google+ account than on Twitter.  Nothing too thrilling until you realise I’ve been on Twitter almost 5 years and Google+ little over the same amount…of months.

Two things before we dive in…1) this is not a Google+ love post nor a Twitter bashing one.  Neither has a specified use or way of using it.  I enjoy using both platforms and use them for different reasons (personally and professionally).  I get very different things from both.  2) It’s also very important to not mistake this post for me believing only numbers is important.  Having a huge following that does something for you is better than simply having a huge following…proverbial butts covered, let’s push on.

After clocking some time on Socialbro and Allmyplusdata I determined it has taken me less than a fifth of the time to accumulate the same amount of followers on Google+ than it has on Twitter.  Not bad considering it took me 14 times less content to do so. I also looked at my original content vs. borrowed content ratio; there was a significantly less amount of original content on Google+ from myself (1:1) vs Twitter (7:1).

Now that IS interesting.

Why?  Because both of things directly either make or save you time and money – that makes community managers, brands, CEO’s, (hell agency folk) happy.  Don’t take this to mean drop Twitter or that content creation is not required in Q2… far, far from it.  It does mean however the behaviours on the platforms are very different and this should inform (but not dominate) any strategy.

Baring in mind growth on each account has been steady since beginning both of them and I often cross post what I think those who follow me will find interesting across platforms, there’s little (high frequency event posting for example) that distinguishes my behaviour on Google+ vs. Twitter and considering their very different sizes.

So, is 140 characters just not enough?  Is the same content just playing better on Google+?  Is it because I’m following 3x more people on Google+ vs Twitter?  Unlikely (but certainly a factor) – you follow more people and law of reciprocity could be said to be at play (although I don’t really follow that many – nor do all of them follow me back).

There could be a multitude of answers and factors as to why the speed at which my Google+ has grown so fast – in truth it’s likely a combination of factors however its instantly graphical nature, longer posts, notification system and general increased functionality means an increased value proposition

I think it’s simpler than this, I think it’s a combination of two points: 1) The network building effect – it’s easier to build new networks faster when you have established networks to help aid growth and 2) quality vs quick wins on Google+, without doing the maths to back this up it’s easy to see why content gets higher engagement on Google+ than Twitter.  You just get more, images, links, explanation.  It’s a fuller package – which would tie-in with the recent changes to the Twitter layout etc.

What does this mean for you/brands?  Right now, very little – although per Socialbakers brands are doing pretty well on Google+ too.

Someone’s got to create what others will share.  Are you going to create or curate for Google+?  Are you using Ripples to find out who you should be telling once it’s made?

Google+ (joined 02/07/2011): 7 months and 18 days as of 20/2/12

– Number of posts: 618 (295 original, 323 reshared)

– Following: 1516

– Followers: 2901

Twitter (joined 25/03/2007) – 4 years, 11 months and 2 days as of 20/2/12:

– Number of tweets : 8507 tweets (7501 original, 1006 retweets)

– Following : 622

– Followers: 2883

  • Victor Saunders

    Personally I am also not a hater or lover of these medias, I use them and I use them effectively for my personal use. So far the experience with Twitter, Facebook has been excellent and recently shifted to G+, enjoying it too

  • Paul Armstrong

    Thanks for the comment Victor.  Have you seen similar growth patterns?