Quality vs. Quantity – building followers in Social Media

Quality vs. Quantity in building Social Media followers

Quality vs. Quantity in building Social Media followers

Quality versus quantity: buy followers or focus on my core audience ? This is the eternal challenge for anyone using social media for business, where much of the connected world sees the number of followers we have as the sole measure of our influence and success in what we do.  How many followers we each have will, to some degree, determine the rate at which others will follow us.

I have never paid for followers but I will be honest that, in my early social media for business days, I did get involved in follower exchange programmes on LinkedIn, where we each posted the link to our Facebook page and each person who liked my page would get a like from me for their page.  It served a purpose in getting my follower numbers up to a level at which they gained a momentum of their own and started to become more focussed on new followers who were people genuinely interested in what I was promoting.

The main focus for buying followers is, of course, on Twitter where we all often see people newly following us with an account whose sole purpose is to sell X number of new followers to the people they follow.  I have no idea whether the majority of these schemes actually do work or not, in terms of adding numbers of followers.  The key pros and cons are:

Con:  Having 50,000 followers more than I have now means nothing if 49,999 of them are not in the least interested in my product or service.

Pro:  Having 50,000 followers more than I have now, will get my content more widely seen and help me attract new followers from my key audience.

Both views are equally valid, although the dynamics are slightly different depending on the social media channel.  There are, however, some other factors which anyone who is serious about social media for business also has to consider around this topic.  Principally these are:

1.   If the followers you buy are not targeted and not interested in your product or service they will slowly die away.  In the case of Facebook, especially, they will see less and less of your content even if they don’t remove the ‘Like’ from your page.

2.  The real measure of success in social media for business is the level of engagement and not the number of followers.  Engagement generally results from high quality content shared to an audience to whom it is of interest.  Tweet after tweet from you that doesn’t get re-tweeted and/or favourited or update after update than is never liked or shared means that your message is not getting out beyond those followers you paid for and who don’t care.

3.  People and businesses considering following you or liking your page may look at who is following you to measure the quality of your followers as an indicator of the value of what you have to say.  If the quality of your followers does not stand up to scrutiny, then the impetus you wanted to put into getting your message around may well not happen.

Closely related to the questions surrounding buying followers – because many of the same points apply – is the question of whether to automatically follow back all of those who follow you.  There are services out there that will, free of charge, take care of this for you.  But, if you are not at all selective about who you follow back, then you will still wind up with a pool of followers, many of whom may have no interest in your product of service but who simply followed you to build followers.

I am a close follower or Mark Schaefer and his {grow} community blog.  Mark is also the author of a great book “The Tao of Twitter” and I would recommend anyone who takes Twitter seriously for business and who wants to be taken seriously there to read this excellent little book, which you can get for just £2.23 from Amazon.co.uk ( $4.81 on Amazon.com ).  Much of Mark’s advice can be applied to other social media channels, including Facebook and Google+.  Many of the points here were raised by Mark originally or have been stimulated by reading his blog and book.

I have recently discovered one much better paid service to build followers on Twitter that definitely bears close scrutiny.  Target Pattern (@TargetPattern) uses keywords defined by the user to find tweets and users that are relevant to you.  You have the chance to favourite those tweets, which hopefully does (and it really often does) lead to those users following you.  This scheme seems worthwhile because what it provides you with is the chance to be highly selective about which tweets to pick out from an selection already qualified by keywords and, so, brings you targeted followers.

Quality vs. quantity is a conundrum that often arises in the marketing of most businesses at some stage.  In SmartOtels own business( the marketing of independent luxury and boutique hotels and resorts ) it is vital that all efforts are targeted – that the marketing dollars are spent wisely on reaching those who are true potential clients and not on trying to hit out broadly in the hope that a few potential clients may pick up the message.  I have many times pointed out the error in believing that social media marketing for business is free, so it is important that the same focus is applied to this activity as to any other marketing activity.

Over the years that I have been involved in social media marketing for business, the one thing I have learned above all others is that there is very rarely a “right” and a “wrong” in how you conduct it.  Businesses vary enormously and what works for Joe Bloggs Ladders doesn’t necessarily work equally well for SmartOtels luxury and boutique hotels and resorts – in social media as in so many other things.  So, in writing this post the one thing I have carefully not done is draw a conclusion.  I am genuinely interested to know the views of those reading and sharing this post: what is your view and, most importantly, what is your experience of the quantity vs. quality question in building followers in social media ?  Please comment below.


2 thoughts on “Quality vs. Quantity – building followers in Social Media

  1. Pingback: Quality vs. Quantity - building followers in So...

  2. Pingback: Could Future Guests Sell Resorts and Hotels for You? | Smart Ideas for Serviced Apartments and Hotels

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