Report: Brands with large followings aren’t necessarily sociable

A research report from Cole & Weber and The Palmerston Group found that people with the most loyal followings aren’t necessarily those with the biggest friend counts.

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“Very sociable people in the real world, those people you look to that you think are magnetic, that carry all the attributes brands hope to have, don’t actually behave like hyperconnectors,” says Britt Peterson, director of growth and strategy at Cole & Weber.

Sociable butterflies are curious, interact often and maintain relationships. Hyperconnectors are great at initiating contact, but “they can’t keep it to save their life,” Peterson says.

“Brands want the opposite of that,” she says. “They want you to stay connected to them. They want you to be loyal.”

And yet, most brands tend to act more like hyperconnectors than butterflies, the report states. Cole & Weber aims to change that approach.


To get a handle on how popular social media users behave, the researchers did surveys in six cities, asking people who the most social person around was. In many of those cities, the same people rose to the top of the voting, so researchers met with them and examined how they interact with people in day-to-day life.

Meanwhile, the researchers also used Klout and other tools to determine the people in those cities with the biggest social media followings. They met with those users as well.

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