It used to be that Twitter users were focused mostly on getting the highest number of account holders to follow their string of tweets. While a certain bulk of followers will always be important, it takes more than just a mass following to be considered influential on the 140-character social media platform.
Increasingly, social media experts say financial advisers should be looking more at the reach of their tweets and thinking about which followers are helping expand that the most.
“The number of followers is just a vanity metric,” said Stephanie Sammons, founder of Wired Advisor. “It's the quality of followers that matters, and that requires an organic process to find the right people and build a relevant community.”
Advisers seeking to become influential thought leaders should considering following those in the profession and others who already carry weight on Twitter. Look for people who have more followers than they are following and have written fewer tweets than their number of followers, experts said.
(More: 10 advisers with Twitter power)
Being active on Twitter can help an adviser gain Google search visibility and attract attention from the media, which could even include the adviser's embedded post in an article, Ms. Sammons said.
Josh Brown, chief executive of Ritholtz Wealth Management and the financial adviser who likely has the greatest number of followers, agrees.
“If it were just about absolute followers you could hire a consultant to go get those,” he said. “It's much less influential to have lots of random strangers following you than a strong group of people who care about what you're writing and interact with you.”
While Mr. Brown falls in a select group of individuals who have achieved the mark of having more than 100,000 Twitter followers, his account suggests his messages also have reach.
One of his most popular wasn't even about the financial markets, and it was retweeted 1,500 times and liked 969 times.
An account's number of likes, Twitter's method of allowing followers to show their favorites by noting them with a heart, is another measure Ms. Sammons said may be worth looking at to judge influence.
“Likes is a public vote of confidence for what you're putting out there,” she said. “It shows you are sharing high-value content that resonates with those who you are trying to attract.”