What Gives? Why Do We All Need So Many Followers?
If you do a search on Google: “How to get more followers” you’ll get 676,000,000 hits. It seems that a large portion of society is on a hard driving quest to be “followed.” Someone in social media marketing has set this up as a big goal for many people, but why? Do we all really need to have as many followers as possible? Some are even buying followers. Why are so many people so desperate to get a large following online?
One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four
I think part of the reason is that many people think of social media as a pure numbers game: The more followers I have, the more relevant I must be, therefore the more successful I will be in whatever it is I am trying to do. More is better. The problem with this thinking is that it doesn’t always pan out. First of all, it doesn’t ask the all important question: what are you trying to accomplish with your social media presence? Secondly, it begs the question: are all followers are equally valuable to you? Why?
Social Media Marketing – The Why Behind The What
For most of my customers, social media is a vaguely familiar “thing” out there, a waste of time and energy for which they have just not seen the value to their business. What they don’t realize though is that the “word-of-mouth” that they tout as the biggest source of new business for them, is exactly what we’re talking about in social media marketing, and it’s got little to do with having a bazillion followers. Conversely, there are those who have asked me to help them get started on social media, and after talking about it together a while we decided that no, it wouldn’t help them at all, in fact, it might just hurt their brand by make them look like a desperate “me too, me too!” company that has no idea what it’s really doing online. It all comes down (or should come down) to the use case. What are you trying to accomplish?
Less Following, More Connecting
I have no interest in being followed by 50 million people. The term: “follower” is awkward anyway, because it kinda sounds like we’re members of some weird Davidian cult. Most of the people I’m connected with (which is my goal in social media involvement if you haven’t deduced that yet) are people who have either found my thoughts interesting, entertaining or helpful in some way or I have found them so, or both. We are connected. We have a relationship and conversations. They are friends, suppliers, clients, peers, colleagues and mentors. It’s difficult to interact and engage with more than a few hundred connections this way, let alone 50 million “followers.” My greatest use of social media has been to connect with people share ideas about their lives, their businesses, about blogging and social media marketing.
The best is when I get connected with those who have an interest in my ideas and have interesting ideas of their own, and who are generally fun-loving, cooperative, pay it forward kind of people. Ideally, we will build connections not just in social media, but in face-to-face meetings, over a coffee (or a beer) over some mutual project, over a mutual love for the band: Rusted Root or whatever. There’s no magic formula. Essentially, in some social circle or other we can share common ground or can help each other out with networking contacts, knowledge, sounding board, a good laugh, a kind word, etc. That’s what I love about social media. It is what you make it. I’ve managed to build a small, but very valuable network online (take a bow y’all.) You guys are the best.
I would never ask: “What’s it going to take to get you to follow me?” because I don’t care to be followed. I would love another connection though. Why are you on social media? Have you seriously thought about that? What are your goals? Is it just to get more followers? How does that help you? (I’m not trying to be sarcastic) Do tell! Because I’m pretty sure I don’t get it.