Skip navigation

BLOGThe Social Follower Thought Leadership Test

by Randall CraigFiled in: Make It Happen Tipsheet, Blog, Social Media, Thought Leadership, Trust

How many people are in your network? 50? 500? 5000?

The Social Follower Thought Leadership Test

How you answer that question is a function of your age. If you asked your parents or grandparents, it would likely be 20-50 people, which would include their family, friends, and work colleagues. If you grew up in the 1970s to 1990s, it would be much larger — maybe 500. This would also include people on your mailing list. And if you grew up with Social Media, it may be well north of 5000, and include LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends, and all manner of followers on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and other social sites.

While all of these are valid measures of network size, it is also true that the depth of relationship that you have with a smaller group of 20 is vastly different than the depth of relationship you can have with 5000 people.

The Social Follower test is not a test of depth alone, but a test of your depth WITH your reach. The greater the reach of your ideas, the greater your impact — especially as your followers will share your ideas with their network. The more followers, the greater your influence.

But wait, you may argue: isn’t it true that the number of followers is less important than the quality of followers? This is correct: it is even possible to purchase followers. This is why the social follower test is only one of the tests. And as a side note, if a thought leader decides to walk down the unethical path of gaming the system, fake followers will never turn into paying clients, nor will they generate referrals. At best, they prop up a fragile ego.


The best way to grow social followership is to both engage with your current followers, and to encourage people who engage with your “real” thought leadership (blog/podcast/whitepapers/presentations/books/events) to also follow you online. This week, start the process. And in my case, here’s my “ask me anything” offer: book a meeting at, and I would be happy to answer any of your questions on marketing, technology, strategy, engagement, or growth (and get to know you a bit better, too.)

Influencer insight: One of the more interesting marketing trends today is that of the “Social Media Influencer.” These are typically celebrities (and others) who have amassed a significant followership, sometimes in the millions. Influencers make their money by monetizing their social platform through sponsorship, donations-in-kind, and sometimes appearance fees.

While some Influencers are thought leaders (and vice-versa), it is interesting to contrast these two approaches. Thought leaders often see themselves as independent and objective: building an influencer-style sponsorship revenue model is usually quite antithetical to this. Thought leaders’ posts are often demonstrative of their… thought leadership; Influencers’ posts are often promotional or self-aggrandizing.

Related Post: Take the next Thought Leadership test: The Traditional Media Thought Leadership Test

Does this topic resonate? Reach out to Randall: he can present it to your group.  (More presentation topics)
Download Randall’s professional credentials: Speaker credentials one-sheet or Management Advisory credentials.

Content Authenticity Statement: 100% original content: no AI was used in creating this content.

@RandallCraig (Follow me for daily insights) Professional credentials site.



Randall Craig

Contact us for more on Randall’s topics, availability, and audience fit.

Back to top