Sneakers - May 30, 2014

Sneakerhead Influence - Impact of Being On A List

Shortly after being honored as one of the best independent sneaker blogs, we saw a bump in our followership on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  (You can read our “acceptance speech” HERE).  The well-appreciated social bump got us thinking about the impact that these lists can have.  And when we start thinking about impact, we think about numbers.

The best way to quantify impact of being on a lists is, in our opinion, to measure the increase in social following.  To do that you need to know the follower count both before and after the list but, because we rarely know when a list is being published, getting the “before” counts are often difficult.  However, while doing research for our article about Sneakerhead Influence on Instagram we ran across Kicks Deals 30 Best Sneaker Instagram Accounts to Follow.  That list provides a clean number of followers for every account listed as of their date of publishing (Feb. 14).  The research from our Instagram article – which was conducted five weeks later (Mar. 25) – provided a perfect “after” count.  And thus growth over time a.k.a. impact of the list.


  • We started with the 30 Instagram accounts from the Kicks Deals article& removed the big name news sites and shops, leaving us with 22 accounts to review
  • From the article we grabbed number of followers as of Feb. 14
  • From our work we calculated number of followers on Mar. 25
  • Based on these two data points we calculated total new followers gained and the % increase in followers
  • Total New Followers = (Total Followers on Mar. 25) – (Total Followers on Feb. 14)
  • % Increase In Followers = (Total New Followers) / (Total Followers on Feb. 14)

Chart Interpretation:

  • The vertical blue bars represent the total number of new followers each IG account gained (in thousands) between Feb. 14 and Mar. 25, and is read off of the left vertical axis
  • The red line represents the percent increase in followers, and is read off of the right vertical axis

Instagram Growth - 3.30

Key Insights:

  • The two accounts that had the largest boost in their raw fans numbers, The Perfect Pair and What The Kicks, were the two accounts that had the largest follower bases to begin with.  This confirms the age old maxim:  “the big get bigger”.  In this case, their massive number of followers served as validation to Kicks Deal’s readers that they too should follow these IG accounts.  And they did in droves.
  • Two of the top three increases in % of followers were definitely about sneaker content:  John Geiger and Dependable Jay have collections that probably make you mad with jealousy, but you still hit that follow button.
  • Yes, we love Gary Warnett for Instagramming old school Nintendo games but the fact of the matter is, he’s posting pictures of his real life (i.e., his brother reading porn in a hospital bed) and not trying to be a “sneaker IG celebrity”, which might explain his small gain in total and % followers.  Click here to buy our favorite kicks from Gary Warnett’s collection (and see what they are).
  • On the other hand, Pound for Pound Shoes got a huge bump of almost 50% because they are trying very hard to establish their own branding, as evidenced by their newly designed IG account and website.

Admittedly there are countless other factors that can contribute to a growth in followers — exposure on other platforms, shout-outs by influential people and just good ole’ fashioned sick sneakers.  Our take on it?  A list gets eyeballs to your page; your content still has to get the follow.

At the end of the day, only 3 of the 22 accounts featured on the Kicks Deals list experienced greater than 20% growth in the month following publication of the list, and only 7 gained more than 2000 more followers.

What activities do you think create the most influence in social media?  What gets you the most followers?