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Monday, October 13, 2014

Not All Social Media Followers Are 'Equal'...

To succeed in business today (and in politics as well) it’s good to have a lot of Facebook likes and Twitters followers, right?  After all, a large and active social media base leads to greater awareness and consideration, and maybe more.  But, perhaps we should consider the practical consequences of attempts to aggressively build likes and followers.

The 'Business' of Exploiting the Social Media

Tell a dedicated employee that it’s his/her job to generate likes and followers, and it’s likely she will go out and find a way to get them.  Pressure him to produce even more and he will get you there as well.  Unfortunately, unless you have made it very clear why you want them, and what you expect those followers to do for your brand, the results may be deceiving and disappointing.

We found an investigation reported recently by Darren Samuelsohn of that casts doubt (or at the very least some skepticism) about the large numbers of followers reported by brands and personalities.  In particular, Samuelsohn found evidence that the number of followers presented by some of the biggest names in American politics are, shall we say, slightly exaggerated.   According to analysis from Politico, eager staffers have likely been using bots and click farms to find ‘followers’.  The result is astounding:

  • 46.8% fake followers for @BarackObama
  • 23.6% fake followers for @SenJohnMcCain
  • 21.9% fake followers for @HillaryClinton
  • 18.9 % fake followers for @Chris Christie

Bringing It Back to Products, Brands and Services...

But you aren’t aiming to be the leader of a country or even a member of Congress, so how does this relate to your business practice?

  1. You need to think quality, not quantity in your social media strategy.  Whether you have millions or hundreds of likes or followers, what you really should be looking for are more opportunities to cost effectively communicate with your customers and prospects.  
  2. Fake followers and users don’t actually interact with your Twitter or Facebook accounts so they aren’t sharing your comments or content.  In fact, they are actually making your ratio of followers to shares look worse!
  3. While you can buy fake followers fairly cheaply, they have absolutely no value, and actually impose a cost.  If your social media followers were ever subjected to careful investigation, the revelation of your fake followers could actually do more damage to your credibility than your accomplishments through your legitimate followers.

Authentic Ways to Build Your Social Media Following

There are any number of legitimate ways to build likes and followers.  The common elements among the approaches is that they involve some hard work and require that you provide some form of value.  That value can be: a chance to win a contest, a special deal or discount, having access to information about your brand not available to the general public, getting cool content to share, and receiving entertaining content that emotionalizes your brand or company.

Like so many other opportunities in life, the best social media followers aren't easily obtained.... the knack is in disciplining one's self to aim for quality over quantity.





2:15 pm edt          Comments

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