Are your twitter followers Meerkats, Lions or Howler Monkeys?

How does coffee shine light on twitter followers?

If you go into a contemporary coffee shop you can tell by the menu board that coffee isn’t just, well coffee. Just taking the office order can require a degree in logistics.

‘Make sure mine’s extra hot.’

‘Yeah mine’s a skinny, right’

‘An extra shot for me.’

‘Remember it’s decaff, ok?’

The combinations are endless and would make a math conundrum for anyone was interested to calculate the possibilities.

So if we can get so many combinations for coffee what would it mean if we substituted the phrase ‘twitter followers’ instead? You can see where this is headed.

 Followers and following on twitter needs some attention

Most of us who use twitter for business will have been adding followers and following. We all got out of the habit of following with reckless abandon some time ago, right? We hope so!


But like me you may have not tailored your followers closely enough. I’m mixing up my decaffs with my extra shot espressos and they don’t make great combination.


There are 6 types of twitter follower

A study was recently carried out by Pew and covered by Vocus among others. This study has gained quit a lot of press coverage and a detailed study.However, if you are enjoying your Frappuccino and reading this, you probably only want the frothy bits from the top.


Ok, so here they are.

Basically you can broadly define twitter followers into 6 types: These are polarised crowds, right crowds, brand clusters, broadcast network and support network. Get that?


1.Polarized crowds or The Lions

These are large ‘prides’ in every sense. They have a disconnected level of interconnectivity and there are few unconnected participants in the group. So they might be doing politics or something a bit edgy and sensitive even. They don’t talk off topic. They have one strand in common, end of and they want to be known as kings of the jungle. So they might be filled with influencers but how much influence do they have for your brand personally? The networks are disparate and might be spread across continents. They may not be using twitter in the way you need. So, you might have Stephen Fry in your twitter feed but honestly what relevance will he have for your business? Your marketing outreach may well be compromised as they roam about their landscape looking for a kill and then a sleep in the shade.


2. The tight crowd or Meerkats.

They get together because something matters. They are often much smaller and interconnected and therefore collectively they will wield more clout. If you are marketing a book of poetry to poets then this group will be interested. If one member retweets then people check out like Meerkats. So collectively they can drive re-tweets, replies and mentions and may well check you out very seriously. There is a downside they might well be hard to get them individually. Think of the Meerkat; at the leaders’ signal and when they sense danger they all vanish!


3. The brand cluster or the watering hole gatherer.

These are usually quite large groups and use a brand as a point to gather but rarely interact. They tweet about new products or jump on a trending hashtag but when the water dries out they are off in search of the next one spot. Yes you can get in the middle of the group but you take your chances as you will never know who is there.


4.Community clusters or Bees.

They are bigger than some but not as big as others. Ha! They gather around a topic. Yes they are individuals and with an element of disconnection but will connect very intensively with subgroups within the hive. These community clusters might be filled with worker bees and they might help you reach the honey more easily. Therefore they actually have more influence than bigger groups at the watering hole.


5.Broadcast Network or howler monkeys

They call through the twitter jungle and broadcast the news. There is interaction but it’s about making their own noise to tell everyone they are there quite distinctly. In the daylight they are gone and you rarely catch up with them as they operate in the rainforest canopy. They might help you but they demand much and are elusive.


6. Support Network or Spiders.

They put together a web and offer support. Often each line is disconnected in one sense but stick together by customer resolution threads. You can get in there and offer customer service but do watch out if you are a fly…..


So as we know it is a social media jungle as Michael Stelzner says every single week on his podcast. Looks like its time to see whether you’ve been hunting with lions instead of making honey with the bees.



Marketme is a leading small business to small business news, marketing advice and product review website. Supporting business across the UK with sponsored article submissions and promotions to a community of over 50,000 on Twitter.