We love to measure our worth by numbers. When we’re younger it may be our high school or college grade point average; when we’re older it’s probably our salary. The value of professional athletes is measured in things like RBIs, TDs and field goal percentage.
More often than not, the higher the better.
The equivalent in social media marketing is usually the number of followers, and again the higher the better.
However, if you have the wrong kind of follower, a bigger number isn’t better; in fact it’s worse.
Singers seldom need graphic artists
An acquaintance of mine was trying to build his Twitter following to promote his freelance graphic arts business. He was using various apps to find people to follow who would be interested in what he offers and also be good prospects for where he ultimately planned to take his business.
He was adding followers at a good rate and then he noticed something. Many singer-songwriters started following him. Here’s what was happening: He had some friends in the music business who followed him. A few of their followers started following the graphic artist on Twitter. He returned the follow without thinking and that just caused the phenomena to snowball.
Soon he had a good number of followers on Twitter, but some unknown percentage were people who would never need his services or buy what he wanted to sell at the next stage of his business development. While he made his error on Twitter, the same thing is possible on the other social media platforms. For example, using a giveaway promotion to increase engagement on Facebook could easily pull in the people who just aren’t that into you.
Halt! Who goes there?
Before you start employing every strategy you can think of to increase your social media followers, you need to identify who you want in your “community.” In fact, being able to clearly define your ideal prospect is the first and most important step in any marketing initiative. In all of your social media efforts, including the commercial platforms and your own blog, the idea is to build a community rather than merely a following.
When you define the target for your social media marketing you need to consider attributes such as:
- Location, and
Some platforms and available apps will help you with some or all of these attributes so you can perform searches to seek out the right people. In some cases those attributes will determine the platform(s) you should be active on.
Going back to Twitter, apps such as Tweet Adder allow you to filter by a wide variety of attributes, including location. So if engaging 600 high quality prospects within a 100-mile radius of your location is more valuable than engaging 6000 followers around the world, you can accomplish that.
As you’re identifying your target, some attributes will never change; if you’re selling bikinis, you’ll never care about increasing the number of men in your social media community. However, there are also these pesky things called trends, so you need to anticipate where your industry is going and by doing that you will be laying the foundation for growth in your social media community.
Do your homework: Define your target, find the social media marketing platforms where they hang out, and then use the best tools at your disposal to engage just those people.