Marketing Currency: Why Followers Are The New Dollar

The United States Dollar is arguably the most powerful currency on the planet. And we aren’t just talking about its financial value. Sure, there are other currencies that are worth more on paper than USD. But socially and politically the USD is unrivaled. It is one of the currencies that the rest of the world stacks themselves up against. It is considered the global currency and is often the primary choice for international transactions.

But there is a new contender in the ring. A social currency that is only getting stronger every year. And that currency is followers. The ultimate marketing currency. With the advent of social media we have seen a dramatic shift in the marketing landscape. Suddenly it is possible to visibly measure the success of an individual or company without looking at their finances.

And the importance of this cannot be overstated. Followers are no longer just an indicator for social connections. They are a currency that can be used in a variety of ways. Below we will examine how this new currency is changing the world and how you can use it to your advantage in the marketing and business world.

The Value Of A Follower

There is a curious phenomenon caused by social media that could be called number blindness. If you put up a social media post and it only got 100 likes, you might say that post was unsuccessful. But if 100 people came up to you in person you would say that is a lot. Social media has created a disconnect between the true value of a follower because most pages now operate in the millions of followers.

The page with the most followers on Instagram is that of Cristiano Ronaldo with over 600 million. For scale that is more than the combined population of the United Kingdom and the United States combined. In theory Ronaldo could market a product to every single person in both nations. Something marketing professionals of the past could only ever dream of.

And the reality is even more staggering as those followers will be spaced out globally. Social media provides global reach almost instantaneously. Most currencies on the planet become useless the moment they leave their border. But the currency of followers is spoken by everyone.

Leveraging Followers

In the past companies would only offer sponsorship deals to people of great renown. Athletes, actors, politicians. People who were in the public eye. But that metric of success was measured on their exposure through traditional channels such as TV, movies, newspapers. These days most companies offer sponsorship deals based on follower count.

Suddenly normal people can leverage lucrative sponsorship deals and launch successful careers without a single dollar being spent. Because having a million followers is worth more to a company than anything else about you. In essence an influencer spends their follower count to bring in money. This is why more people are starting to buy Instagram followers when they first start out. It equates to a direct currency conversion. And, in the long run, those followers will be worth a lot more than the money spent on them.

A lot of people also leverage their followers in real time to get products or services. Working on a barter system of sorts. Someone with a high follower count might get a free meal at a high-end restaurant in return for a social media posting about the meal. The cost to the restaurant financially is recouped in the form of the exposure. And that exposure’s value is directly tied into the follower count.

The Net Worth Of Followers

Follower counts are akin to the Net Worth of an influencer. In the same way that it might be huge news that a company’s stock has plummeted, an influencer losing 10 million followers will also be a story worth talking about. Because that is a lot of lost marketing and social value.

The value of follower counts is so powerful that there are numerous sites dedicated to the tracking of real time follower data for major influencers, political figures, and celebrities. In a similar style to how we monitor prices on the stock exchange. Companies value this data as it can tell them if one of their brand partners is suddenly falling out of favor. Allowing them to find new partners or distance themselves from the old one if needed.