Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Who Is Following You?

In the last post, Influence is More Than Numbers, I talked about the measures of influence within social media, and how influence should be evaluated with more than just a superficial look at the numbers of people who are following you.

Why then, is influence more important than a large number of followers?

While having a lot of followers may seem a good way to get your message out there, it only works if the people who follow you are paying attention to what you have to say.  For example, a recent study by the Pew Research Center shows that half of Twitter users aren't listening to what is being said.  Another study shows that only about 27% of Twitter users login on a daily basis.  On Facebook this increases to a 41% daily login.  This means that you are taking a shotgun approach, while firing blindfolded, if you are simply hoping that large numbers of followers will see, pay attention to, and help spread your message.

A better approach is to have followers who 1) are interested in what you are saying, and 2) followers who help you spread your message.

Knowledge of your business or product, innovative thinking, humor, and responsiveness helps you gather these types of followers around you and encourages them to spread your message to their friends and followers.  Since social media marketing is really a high tech form of word of mouth marketing, it is important that you are surrounded by people who are motivated by your message, whatever that message may be.

If your business is selling books, surrounding yourself by people who are NASCAR enthusiasts doesn't do much for either them or you.  You may be extremely knowledgable in your field, but you will lack any kind of influence when you have the wrong kind of audience.  When you have yourself surrounded by followers who are interested in the message (in this case, books) you will find that it is much more likely they will respond to the message through interactions with you and spreading the information to those who follow them.

Though you may not have tens of thousands of followers, your message can still potentially resonate with tens of thousand of people, getting many to respond.  Imagine what that kind of influence could do for your business.

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