Listen, kiddo, who really cares if you have 1,000 followers on Twitter?
Yes, on some level, if you are sitting with your marketing team to analyze the latest campaign, someone will cite the number of followers to say whether you’ve been successful. Yes, on some level, your Head of Business Development may count your Facebook page’s “likers,” since after all, isn’t a liker just a customer who has not yet bought from you?
On the other hand, no one REALLY cares if you have boatloads of followers if:
- you have no idea who all those followers are
- you have no meaningful relationship or engagement with them
- you have no clue if they are genuinely interested in your topic or not
- and all you did to build that community was go to LinkedIn Groups and ask people to follow you.
Think about it. Is that lame, or what?
First: As you live and breathe, you should know that quality counts. Not just quantity.
I would rather have one CEO of a $100 million dollar tech company do me the honor and retweet my post, than 1,000 followers all of whom are as unknown as Kim Jong-un and as disengaged as a passive-aggressive husband going through a divorce.
Second: Any advertiser or venture capitalist worth their salt is going to ask how engaged your audience is, not just how much traffic and how many subscribers you have.
You’d be far better off going after one highly influential person or even building a relationship with one follower whom you can truly help.
At all times, have prepared a list of 3-4 examples that show how engaged your audience is. These are valid ways to illustrate engagement:
- the average interval of time spent on your site
- the number of comments garnered per post
- the average number of pages viewed per visitor
- the amount of retweets, likes, shares or +1s (i.e. its virality)
- the time you spend weekly conversing with your audience (conversing is videochatting, skyping, yakking on the phone)
- the amount of money shelled out (if your site sells something).
One-way communication in blogging is the literary equivalent of waterboarding. People will ask if talk goes both ways.
Third: Spend your time building a meaningful community.
Allocate effort to dig into topics that will allow you to see into the future, and offer some serious thought leadership to your audience. Do the difficult work of analyzing beyond your intuitive instincts, and instead, draw upon your more thoughtful, questioning side to really put out something new and valuable.
Otherwise, you will look lame, and we will see that.
Fourth: It is time to expand your sandbox, and consider that social media is not just about marketing or empowerment.
(Empowered consumers push for what happened yesterday with SOPA: They ask you to black out pictures on Flickr, and prompt you to tweet that. And I did!)
Social media is also about engagement with the great creativity that comes from collaboration. Here is what Keith Sawyer, an Associate Professor of Education at Washington U. and author of “Group Genius,” wrote in a letter to The New York Times dated January 19, 2012:
“Decades of scientific research have revealed that great creativity is almost always based in collaboration, conversation and social networks–just the opposite of our mythical image of the isolated genius. And educational research has found that deeper learning results when students participate in thoughtful argumentation and discuss reasons and concepts.
“The increasing use of collaboration, in classrooms and in the workplace, is not a short-lived fad; it is solidly based in research, and it works.”
Fifth: You may think that only the big gorillas with tons of followers are worth reaching for, but that is not so. LonelyBoy15–the fellow who only has 15 followers and doesn’t write for The Wall Street Journal–could be the tipping point. His efforts may prevent your content from being lost in the vortex, and instead get it picked up by the masses.
But you would only know that if you stopped your embargo on small potatoes and truly reached out.
- Spend 10 minutes one day this week to research one of your followers on Twitter, read through their website or LinkedIn profile, and then personally call in order to know them better. If you can’t find their cell number, write a friendly email to begin the conversation.
- Connected consumers find and share information differently. Be a connected consumer. You have found this great post. Now, do the most excellent viral thing and SHARE IT. Don’t grab the link from the URL and paste that into an email; learn to use the ShareThis icon. Click the button and hold it down while sharing to your LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter accounts. Engage with our Mojo40 magnum opus by sharing the playlist.
- Engage with me. Call me up at 914.645.1667 and introduce yourself. I would like to learn what drives your blood pressure up or what impels you to laugh. I can help job seekers, folks with a soul-sapping job, or even those in Plan B Nation.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons 2.0, truthorg
Your thoughts? Let me read them, below.
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