We all have done it – looked at those little numbers on our social media accounts and based our popularity on an arbitrary number – the amount of followers we have. We have all wanted to be the most popular (or one of the popular ones). Well I am shouting it from the rooftops right now – those numbers do not mean a single thing in terms of successful business and brand and I want to explain why your follower count doesn’t matter.
But first, let me take you back to 2011-2014 seasons of Facebookland. I started out my page in 2011 after photographing my baby nephew for a couple of months. Those three years, I was a new business trying to constantly build my following and get a certain amount of followers. I remember having contests for free sessions if I got a certain amount of “likes.” Now I am not knocking anyone who still does that – but that is not my style anymore. But boy was I happy to get those 1000 likes in 2014. Now I am hovering at 3000+ facebook likes and 450+ instagram fans and I want to drop some hardcore facts. Those numbers mean jack diddly squat.
So let me delve into the nitty gritty about why a large following does not matter in the grand scheme of things:
Social Media Platforms are a business too – and are like, really popular.
There are a gazillion profiles on social media. Probably. I myself have at least 4 different accounts. With the insanely large amount of social media accounts out there, Facebook and Instagram have started to create tailored news feeds and content so that their users are not overwhelmed with a mass amount of information and posts. That means, if you are not engaging very much with a certain brand on one of their platforms, the less likely you are going to see their posts. The more you visit their pages, like, and comment on their content, the more likely that their new stuff will pop up in your feed in the future.
But lets be real – Facebook and Instagram are businesses that are wanting to make a profit and they see a great opportunity to capitalize on their marketing potential for all the businesses that use their platform. Which I TOTALLY understand. Over the last two years, my reach has gone down significantly. No longer are my images and posts going to all of my “likes” or followers. I now have to spend money running “sponsored” posts in order to make sure my content has gotten “out” there to those who do not engage with my posts.
2. Quality over Quantity, y’all.
How many times have I heard my moma say it is not the number of friends you have, but the quality? Millions probably. But moma’s wisdom transcends even over to the internet. This idea is vital for social media. I definitely do not want to foster these false “relationships” on social media where people are blindly following my brand but are never interacting with me? These are known as lurker profiles in my mind. I will admit, I am a lurker with some of the accounts I follow and I just want to apologize to those people (who probably don’t even know I exist). I recommend that instead of focusing on getting more and more friends/likes/followers, try to build relationships with your current ones. This perfectly transitions to my third point…
3. Define your audience and engage
Once you have determined who you are actually posting for – challenge yourself to actively seek out their pages/accounts and leave a comment. Let them know that you are thinking of them and be sure to be genuine. When posting, use creative captions that are honest and relatable. Ask questions to encourage engagement. Share aspects of your life that makes you seem like a person and not a robotic marketing business owner.
It’s not hard to get lost in the marketing potential of social media and it’s really, really easy to get sucked into the popularity contest of who has the most followers/likes/friends. As long as you are genuine and create an awesome experience for your customers, all the followers in the world will not matter.
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