How Impressions on Social Media Help Your Business

Twitter introduced potential impressions and actual ones, but many other social media platforms are adopting the concept and adding it to what they offer followers. So, what is each type of impression and how can you start using them to move your business forward?

Potential Impressions

A potential impression is the total number of times your comment is shared, tweeted, etc., or your account might show up in users feeds during a set reporting period. Keep in mind that most impressions are not “de-duplicated” – meaning, all possible connections are counted, even if they one account shows up on multiple sites where your post was shared or retweeted. They are the total possible views – if someone has it on their feed, whether they see it or not, whether they are even there to see it – those still count as potential impressions. In the case of Twitter, unless another user uses the “@reply” if they mention your account, then the potential impressions from that retweet equals their number of followers. Obviously, that’s not the real world views.

Benefits of knowing and using impressions

You also want to know the number of actual impressions if that’s an option. That means the number of times someone actually looked at your post or tweet. The actual version will be a much lower number than the potential. But you need to know both numbers so you can see the ratio. Expect your actual numbers to be somewhere between 1 and 20 percent of the potential ones.
Potential impressions can be a very useful tool if you are looking to see if certain posts trend higher or faster, helping you know what topics and approaches may garner the most attention. And knowing that may determine when you should be posting those new ideas – i.e., during peak times rather than when fewer people are likely to be on the social platform.
Also, keep in mind that in some of the platforms, actual impression information is not an option.
Using the ratio between the two, when you have it, allows you to see if you are not actually reaching enough people, and make changes accordingly to what type of information you share, what time of day you post, and possibly even who to run an ad campaign to target so your business can increase followers.
Impressions matter and how you use them to promote your business also matters. The more you know about how to use them, the more effective your efforts to keep and gain new followers, customers, and clients will grow.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.