The extraordinary reach of social media platforms

In online social networks, there is such a thing as the invisible audience. This fact has continued to spur the curiosity of many users, if the popularity of apps, programs, and communities that promise to reveal one’s quiet followers is to be taken as an indication.


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Indeed, while it could be a no-brainer to count the friends who visibly interact, such as in the form of comments, with the user on a regular basis, the number of people who have access to one’s shared content and information remains a mystery.

According to a new study from the Stanford University Computer Science Department and the Facebook data science team, majority of Facebook users actually have a wider reach than they think.

The study analyzed the activity of 222,000 Facebook users in the U.S. in June 2012 and found that they tended to vastly underestimate the number of people who viewed their posts and about half of the respondents have expressed that they wished for a bigger audience.


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Companies and brands with social media campaigns can pay attention to some of the findings in the study. The study has made it clear that there is more to social media networks than just the people who like and comment on updates.

Business owners would also do well to remember that people have expectations on how they want to interact with a brand or company on social media. To get the silent audience to be more visible in their support, businesses need to go beyond hard sells and come up with social media campaigns that consumers can easily identify with.


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John Bohan is an Internet advertising expert with over 12 years of experience in crafting smarter-media campaigns, managing online communities, and building engaging applications. Visit for more information on how to make social media work for online marketing campaigns.


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