The old follower vs subscriber debate has resurfaced recently with many entrepreneurs and biz owners confused on what to focus on. The reason for this is, most people simply do not understand the difference between the two -- and more specifically which one can benefit their business the most.
Well, let's put this matter to rest once and for all. Shall we?
TRUTH BOMB: You need both and here's why...
Let's start by defining what these two groups are and how they operate.
Who Are Followers?
Followers are anyone on Instagram, YouTube, FaceBook or any other platform that watch what you are doing (or have posted) via a news feed. They do not receive individual or dedicated messages when you post new content and on networks like Facebook and Instagram they may not see it at all unless the 'Almighty Algorithm' decides to show it to them.
Advantage of Followers – Followers on social media are publicized, so followers can see who's on the list and in the comment section which can lead to higher engagement on your posts. This in a nutshell creates a community and can foster more interaction with and attention towards your brand from people who otherwise wouldn't know who you are.
Disadvantage of Followers – Followers only see notifications of your new content when they check their news feed and in most cases the 'Algorithm' has to push your content their way. If they follow a lot of people/businesses, your posts may be missed due to the amount volume on their news feed. On top of that, if you do not post often or if your followers do not check their feeds often, you may rarely appear on their radar.
Who Are Subscribers?
Subscribers are the people that have given you permission (along with the means) to contact them directly via email or text. These people are usually interested in exclusive content, special offers and discounts that you don't always post publicly. They are also interested in what you have to say, are looking to learn more about what you offer and are looking to find ways they can further support you.
Advantage of Subscribers – Subscribers are unlikely to miss out on your posts and updates since they receive direct messages. In addition to that you own your list and can essentially do whatever you would like with it in the future. Imagine writing a book 5 years from now and having a list of 10,000 people that you can send a message to letting them know what it's about and where to buy it.
Disadvantage of Subscribers – Your subscriber list is normally not public and subscribers do not see each others interactions. Unless you create a group or forum for these subscribers there is really no way to build an 'online community' as every one is isolated in their own inbox.
To maximize your efforts you need both subscribers and followers! Following is a way for people to support you publicly and subscribing is a way for you to ensure that your content and offers are being seen.
You can accomplish both simultaneously by encouraging people to be both followers and subscribers. By understanding the differences between these two, you can better approach your marketing efforts and understand the impact and reach of each position. Most importantly, always be respectful of your subscribers and followers by posting valuable content and not spamming them with irrelevant information.