There used to be a strategy in sales called the numbers game. The more people you cold called the more likely you were to get a sale. It can be a soul destroying and inefficient way to operate (depending on your target market). Nowadays, we have the wonders of the internet and the benefits of social media where we can hopefully connect with all the people who are interested in what we have to offer.
Unfortunately, some businesses are still opting for the more is better strategy. It makes sense doesn’t it? If you have twenty thousand Twitter followers you’re going to reach more people than if you only have 500.
Well, yes and no. You will reach more people. The trouble is, if you have added them to your fan or follower base randomly, 99.9% of them are likely to be useless. They will not engage and they certainly won’t be too interested in your product or service however much you plug it.
Social Media Number – Never Mind the Width, Feel the Quality
With social media numbers, it’s quality that matters, not quantity. Having a large number of followers may give you bragging rights but it doesn’t do your business any good and you’ll find it harder to spot the engagement from those truly interested in your offering. After all the only number that really matters are the number of leads, orders or sales generated from your social media activity, right?
It’s true across all social media. If you are connected to a large number of businesses on LinkedIn but have no idea what they do then they are just so much digital space that has no benefit whatsoever. In other words it is far better to have 10 connections who are actually interested in what you do than 10,000 who couldn’t care less.
It’s not just a case of following the wrong people. The wrong people will also follow you on social media, entirely unsolicited. It seems to be a goal on social media for individuals to follow as many people as they can, and that goes for businesses as well as private accounts. Typically these people don’t interact and they just sit on your timeline, tweeting or posting their own stuff occasionally.
As a business you want people to engage with you. You want them to ask questions, share your content, and be ambassadors for your brand. The same goes for networking on sites such as LinkedIn. You don’t want people who are going to sit there quietly, you want to build mutually beneficial relationships that are going to lead somewhere. That means you need to work a little smarter (not harder, thanks Keith Kruger) when building your following.
Tips to Build Your Social Media Numbers Sensibly
- First of all, try not to be in a hurry. Many businesses buy into an automated system and add thousands of accounts to their timeline in one go and wait to see who follows them back. This builds your following but it doesn’t do it in an intelligent way.
- Second, select the right people to follow. You need to know a little more about them than just their username. Read their profiles. Check out their messages and interaction online. Send them a message, make contact. Engage. Yes, it takes a little more time but the results will be worth it. You are looking for people who are going to play a part in your online engagement.
- There are several ways to find people who are interested in your business or product. Hashtags are now used by most of the main social media platforms. So if your business is related to something like #smartphones then put that into the search engine and see who is talking about that subject. Follow the steps above and you may just starting finding the right people to follow.
- Make sure links to your social media sites are visible on your website but also put it on all your promotional material including flyers and business cards. If you have a video or ad on YouTube then end it with an invitation to follow you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter or Google+.
- Look for regular posters who share (beware the spammers). If you are on Twitter your ideal connection is someone who interacts but also retweets. Retweets are the life’s blood of Twitter and can help spread the word of your product further than your account on its own. On Facebook you are looking for those who engage within the groups and business pages etc.
- Be it yourself! Engage by posting interactive comments, supportive likes, congratulatory messages, birthday wishes, etc. In other words be what you want to attract.
- And finally, if you produce a regular blog make sure you include a sharing app at the bottom of each page so that readers can help you spread that word more easily, help them to help you!
I would love to hear your tips for building the right social media numbers – What do you find works for your business? Are you a fan of the mass messaging? Or do you like to be personable? Is there a happy medium?