As the tab for social media advertising is expected to hit almost  $30 billion in 2016, it is increasingly important to engage with users that will provide the biggest bang for your buck.

With this in mind, SocialRank founder Alex Taub has a few suggestions. In a recent interview with NPR, Taub speaks about managing and ranking followers on social networks. His New York City-based startup allows companies to measure the value of Twitter and Instagram followers based on more than just a number.

Here are three ways he'd suggest recognizing your most bankable followers:

1. Seek active followers.

Followers that frequently reply, like, or share content are more valuable, since they're more engaged--and if they speak positively about the company or brand, even better. 

2. Target your engagement. 

Tweet or post customization also increases follower value. SocialRank pulls data from follower profiles including activities, interests, and location that companies can use for more direct marketing or even comparing to competitors' accounts. Through sorting and filtering features, "we basically let you datamine your own audience," Taub explains. Even if you don't use a tool like SocialRank, however, you can customize your own interactions. Facebook, for instance, will allow you to send targeted messages to people within certain geographies. There's also a matter of timing. If your core audience craves your product at certain times of the day--during lunch, for instance--it makes no sense to issue posts at 7a.m. The key is to be smarter about your postings.

3. Identify the best followers. 

SocialRank's Taub also recommends identifying high profile accounts, not just celebrities and other influencers. The number of followers a follower has is important, but you'll need to look for those who engage frequently with your brand or company account. Within this category, however, keep in mind that there is still no standard method to determine the difference in value between followers from different social networks, co-founder of video curation site Tubefilter Drew Baldwin told NPR.

Regardless, it hardly ever hurts to work smarter, not harder. 

Published on: Jan 29, 2016