Aug 17 2010

Social Media Huge Numbers Aren’t The Whole Story

Category: social mediaGuest Author


Why a large percentage of a small pie might be more valuable than a million “friends”

By Gail Z. Martin

It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game on social media.  Lunch companions brag about how many thousands of friends or followers they’ve amassed. Pop over to a competitor’s page, and “friend envy” takes hold as you realize their list is bigger than yours.

Here’s a radical thought for you: Bigger isn’t automatically better, especially on social media.

Think of it this way.  If you offer free beer, you’ll fill an auditorium with people, but most of those folks drinking your beer will never buy your product.  Appearances can be deceiving. The real question to be asking is: Are all those friends and followers actually qualified leads?

Every user on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites is not necessarily your target audience.  So forget about programs that “guarantee” massive gains in your friends/followers.  Not only are these programs indiscriminate, adding every contact regardless of their interest, but robot programs like these are increasingly likely to get your account suspended.  Even if your account escapes without penalty, all you’ve got is an auditorium of people invited for free beer who have no interest in your product and are unlikely to ever buy what you’re selling.

Free yourself from the mass delusion that more is better.  This is especially true if you serve a definable niche audience that is not very large.  For example, suppose your specialty is fixing antique clocks.  There are likely to be statistics out there on the number of antique clock enthusiasts and antique vendors.  That’s your core audience.  Focus your social media and the rest of your marketing on reaching 90% or better of those niche audience members, and you will do far more for your business than reaching a million people with no interest in antique clocks.

In other words, it’s better to have 1,000 followers who actually care about what you have to say and have a need for the product/service you provide than to have tens of thousands of people who don’t even know why they signed up for your page.

Keep your eye on achieving your top business goal and in reaching the people who can help you reach your goal.  Once you realize that you don’t have to reach everyone, social media becomes an exciting way to connect with people who need what you have to offer.

Gail Z. Martin owns DreamSpinner Communications and helps companies and solo professionals in the U.S. and Canada improve their marketing results in 30 days. Gail has an MBA in marketing and over 20 years of corporate and non-profit experience at senior executive levels. Gail hosts the Shared Dreams Marketing Podcast. She’s the author of The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book and 30 Days to Social Media Success. Find her online at, on Twitter @GailMartinPR and check out her Facebook page at 30 Day Results Guide.

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