You've seen the ads offering to sell you 10,000 followers on Twitter. How valuable do you think it would be to have 10,000 followers?

If all 10,000 were actually listening to what you have to say, it'd be worth a fortune! But how many really are? Somewhere in the neighborhood of none? Probably. At least among the kinds of followers that can be sold.

They're probably each following 10,000 other people. So anything you tweet will be buried under 10,000 descriptions of the Egg McMuffins they had for breakfast.

"What you need isn't 10,000 Twitter followers. What you need is 10 Twitter friends."

10 people who are interested in reading your tweets. 10 people who retweet them. 10 people who respond to the invitations you make.

Is 10 responsive followers really enough? Maybe. Maybe not. But it's certainly a lot better than 10,000 unresponsive followers.

Think about that for a second. Even if 10 is not enough, it's better than 10,000 who don't interact with you. So what should you be focusing on? Volume or quality?

We all want to believe that we can have both. And sometimes that's true. But you're more likely to get both if you focus on quality, because you'll never accidentally get quality while you're focused on volume.

With 10 responsive followers, your reach grows beyond the 10, because they retweet for you. And then their 10 responsive followers see what you tweeted (now you're up to 110), with the added bonus of the social proof of having been retweeted. Once that happens a few times, a few of them will follow you directly, and you'll have 20 responsive followers.

Reader Comment:
Antone Roundy said:
Brian, I wouldn't say that it's a high PERCENTAGE of true followers that matters, but a HOW MANY true followers you have that matters, and that that matters much more than your total number of followers. So you're right that, all other things bein...
(join the conversation below)

Go for volume, and you'll still just have 10,000 unresponsives (unless you went out and bought 10,000 more).

My brother and I are building a new business, and one of our core principles is that a small network of people working together can accomplish much, much more than any of them could accomplish on their own.

One of our first products (getting pretty close to launch) will help you figure out which of your 10,000 Twitter followers (or 200, or however many you have) has any interest in engaging with you. And then it will help you engage with them. Plus, we'll give you some strategies for taking your Twitter relationships and turning them into something profitable.

Here's a video showing how it works (as it was a few days ago -- it's still evolving):

Interestingly enough, by using the right tools, you may be able to get some value out of the 10,000 followers you bought. Because with the right approach, you may find 10 who are willing and qualified to be part of a core group that mutually supports one another.

I'll let you know when the tool is ready for use.