You get them all the time on your Twitter and Facebook accounts: “Increase your followers by thousands.” On Linkedin, so-called experts tell you the more connections, the better. Actor Ashton Kutcher made a big thing last year of being the man with the most followers on Twitter.
But is social networking really all about the numbers?
Well, yes, but in a sense. You need followers/friends/connections to make your social networking strategy work, and you should strive to build an effective network.
But there is a thing as too many friends and followers. Being a member of the “500 club” on Facebook or Linkedin is fine, if that’s where you want to be. Keep in mind, though, that the one with the most friends on social networks isn’t necessarily the winner.
People are following or friending you for a reason. They are interested in what you have to say, and they hope you are interested in what they have to say. It’s the ‘social’ aspect of social networking that has gotten lost in the madness today, yet it remains the core of an effective brand strategy.
It’s what you say and how you respond to your network that effectively builds followers. Remember that the mass audience no longer exists. It has been broken down into microcommunities that share common interests. These communities seek out one another and share their information with others in the communities. Individuals can be a part of many communities, and they are the key to spreading your message from one community to another.
The key to growth and success in social networking is not building numbers, but maintaining quality content that your followers find interesting enough to spread to other communities they are a part of. It’s a soft parade approach to growing your brand and marketing strategy, quiet and effective.
So focus on the quality of your social networking plan. Your followers/friends/connections will build the quantity for you.