Quality vs quantity – this question comes up many times in life, and the answer can vary between situations.
So what do you think is important for social media?
Is it a matter of ‘she with the most social media followers wins’?
How far can you go to get new followers – should there be boundaries or just get as many as possible?
Or is it better to nurture a smaller number of followers who actually are interested in what you have to say?
Quality followers, to my thinking, are those who will read my updates, maybe respond or follow through on links, and hopefully share my comments and/or links.
Quality followers are the ones worth building a relationship with – and that’s easier with a smaller number, too.
Choosing a strategy
I don’t think you can get quantity and quality.
That is, you can get a lot of quality followers and growing your base is not a bad thing in itself. But if you focus on getting many followers the odds are many will not be quality followers and are just there because they were paid or get some other benefit from it.
Like anyone, I like to see my followers increase in number (there’s a bit of that school yard popularity desire in us all I think!) but I don’t make it my priority. I prefer to gain followers who genuinely want to hear from me.
Which strategy do you prefer?
Do you think it varies with different purposes of a social following?
Building quality followers
The obvious technique is to provide quality content on your social media platforms.
I won’t follow anyone (no matter how popular they are or how important others tell me they are) if their social media pages are full of boring chatter or self-promotion. If I’m going to invest my time reading their updates, I want them to be worth reading. So I assume my followers (and potential followers) feel the same way.
Not every update will be awesome, and some chatting is also good, but the bulk of the updates need to provide some sort of value – even if I can see the value despite it not applying to me at that time.
Asking people to connect with you in social media is fine – to a point.
On platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook, you can only connect with an individual (as distinct from a company page) by inviting them to be a contact. But I resent getting invitations from complete strangers who don’t even bother to add a note to the invitation. A friend can get away with that, as I know who they are, but why I should I connect with a stranger? Especially a stranger who is giving the impression that spamming is ok – I don’t want connections who will bombard me with nonsense.
My advice – if inviting someone on LinkedIn, add a few words to show you are a real person asking and that you know who you are asking. For best results, show how you can give them some value for connecting.
Gary Loper recently tweeted “Begging people 4 a RT is sitting on a corner begging 4 change. Let peeps RT u naturally”. And I have to agree – I don’t like tweets that ask to be retweeted and have never retweeted one – including some that I was inclined to retweet until I saw the request (yes, I can be stubborn!) If someone likes my tweet, they’ll share it anyway is my thought. Asking is like young children asking ‘will you be my friend?’ or asking a stranger to pay for your lunch.
Yet I have heard statistics suggesting asking for a retweet increases the chances of being retweeted. I don’t understand it, but there you go!
How do you build your social media followers? Are you focusing on relationships or numbers of followers?* Images courtesy of Word Constructions and 123rf