Stop Worrying About Likes, Followers & Numbers

There is one conversation that ranks as high on the discomfort meter as talking about strangers with your child. It is the discussion with your client about the ROI of a follower, a like, or a subscriber.

Just like you, clients are in the business of trying to quantify and qualify their own customers. So they want to know how the social media platforms relate to extending sales and education about their product or services. Clients who don't completely understand the medium tend to associate success with volume.

Much like the way you felt after your first margarita – most clients assume more is better. They keep asking you to deliver ...

  • more website traffic
  • more Facebook likes
  • more YouTube views

... and the list goes on and on. 

One of the things a social media professional has to educate clients about is that we are not here to create a direct connection to sales. This is often lost on the client, and they still want to scrutinize “the numbers.” don't fault them. It’s in their DNA.

Nevertheless, something you need to understand is that actively engaging audience members is more important than increasing the numbers. Think of it in the basic terms of a social function. One where you are serving margaritas. Don't be upset that your party isn't big enough. Just enjoy your party.

I don't always agree with Seth Godin, but I believe his thoughts on having “1,000 true fans” are right on the money. The basis of this statement is if you can engage and create trust within 1,000 people, you don't really need any more beyond that point. I’m not advocating that you only shoot for 1,000 fans for your customer or personal brand. But be aware there is more power in loyalty than there is quantity.

Let me repeat that “there is more power in loyalty then there is quantity.”

After spending countless hours educating my clients about why this social media truism directly affects them, I ran across the following video. It was shared by my friend John Frost of the Disney Blog. Shameless plug: John is an incredibly talented blogger and social media expert. Hire him with my endorsement, which goes beyond the sexy, young Ron Jeremy thing he has going on.

The true takeaway for me with this video, beyond the defined research it offers, is that ultimately you never know who you’re going to get. Without going into an exorbitant amount of detail, the best approach is to consistently develop natural engagement with your current trusted audience:

  • Post with frequency and consistency
  • Create interesting and engaging content that will not only educate, but create a conversation
  • Be humble, and use the feedback from your audience as actual actionable content that can and will change your behavior
  • Recap important engagement points and discuss process
  • Let the audience be the guide to the future of your content

Let’s go back to that party. I can invite 100 people I know, trust and enjoy spending time with. Or I can simply make it public and see who shows up. Of course with that approach, I've ended up with more than one agitated, drunken, British stranger rummaging through my pantry for a jar of salsa. Screw him for disappearing.

But that truly is a different story. Let's save it for another day. Actually, just forget it.

Do you have any tricks for engaging your true fans? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments section. I would also like the ability to "read your thoughts" but that too is another thing to add to my resume. Let's collaborate and keep the strangers out of our salsa.

Posted on February 19, 2014 and filed under Advertising, Social Media, Process.