Do you have some big names following you on Twitter? It’s always exciting to have some of the social media elite keeping an eye on your stream. After all, they aren’t likely to retweet you if they aren’t following you, right? This visibility is the first step to 140-character greatness, it would seem. Well, while it’s true that you can’t be on the radar of a major social media player of that person isn’t following you, merely being followed doesn’t create value. You need to be able to command their attention, too.

Now that Twitter has reached an impressive level of adoption, the value of having been an early adopter is clear. If you aren’t among the big names in the social media space but got onto the platform early, there’s a higher likelihood that you were able to interact with them in the early days, even if it was only a brief brush with greatness. Also, you may have amassed a pretty hefty following because of the compounding effects that came with Twitter’s meteoric rise in use.

It all seems inherently valuable: having big names and a large follower base should help you reach a wider audience, get you lots of retweets and drive lots and lots of traffic to wherever you want it to go. As with any marketing endeavor – social media or otherwise – there’s no such thing as inherent value in a strategy or tactic. Rather, it all comes down to the results. If you aren’t driving traffic, leads or conversions, your Twitter all-star following will get you nowhere.

So, take a look at your metrics. Can you see a straight line from your Twitter activity to your marketing objectives? If not, there are a few specific reasons why you may not be realizing any benefit from having the true Twitterati in your followers column.

The first is that they may not be watching you anymore. Months (or perhaps years) ago, you tweeted something clever – an interesting link or a witty hashtag. It got someone’s attention following some heavy retweeting. And, the celeb or social media guru decided to follow you. After that, you went back to normal, and he or she probably forgot about you. The person never bothered to drop you (some people are lazy about cleanup), but the relationship never really got off the ground. As a result, there’s no value in having this person follow you.

Some people are stingy with retweets, and some social media superstars are downright miserly when it comes to pounding out an “RT.” They may not want to be seen as promoting a “commoner,” or there could be a dose of ego involved. These folks may watch and even enjoy your tweets, but they won’t serve as amplifiers. There’s always a chance that one of them will encounter an irresistible urge to retweet you, but it probably doesn’t make sense to hold your breath.

Let’s say the top two points aren’t a problem: you have a social media superstar following you who is aware of your existence and isn’t sting with the RT action. This is gold, right? Not so fast … you still have the problem of being noticed. There are plenty of major social media personalities who have both large followings and lots of people they follow. You wind up in the position of having to compete for attention – along with everybody else. Results may come, but they aren’t likely.

When you look at your Twitter following, don’t focus on the big names following you. Instead, try to gather the people most likely to care about your message genuinely. Each may not have a big following, but together, they can put your tweets in front of a large, targeted audience. And that is what you need most.