Follower numbers – it’s quality, not quantity

Posted by on Nov 16, 2010 in Social Media Strategy | No Comments

If you forked out for a stand at an exhibition, would you rather say hello to all 500 delegates as they entered the hall or have meaningful conversations with 20 visitors who turned into clients? It’s easier to wave than engage, but it won’t cover the cost of your stand.

Surrounded but noone's listening

The same is true of Twitter, Facebook and any other social media platform. Having lots of followers is like having lots of business cards in a pot; it looks great, but if you haven’t bothered to introduce yourself and establish a relationship, who’s going to listen?
The real measure of the success of your Facebook page is in the number of comments and ‘like’s; the value of your Twitter presence can be determined by the number of ‘@’ replies and ‘RT’s; the popularity of your blog can be recognised by the number of subscribers and comments.
Of course, in time you can have both. In the same way a bigger exhibition stand attracts more interest (and therefore more leads), a more interesting and well-referenced blog/Twitter profile/Facebook page will generate better feedback.
An example is Vroni’s wine bar in Glasgow. Some people were surprised to find Vroni’s on Twitter – it’s a well-established bar that’s been trading for 15 years, but it has always kept a fairly low profile. Now, through a combination of chatting to people, welcoming networking groups, holding a wine club complete with live tweets and linking to wine facts and blogs, Vroni’s has 300 followers. The vast majority are based in Glasgow, interested in wine and like to go out; ie potential customers. So while the numbers may not be staggering and could certainly be improved, the percentage of leads, as it were, is very high indeed.
One of my friends on Twitter said yesterday that he had set himself the task of talking to all his followers this week so that he could find out why they followed him. He’s an osteopath, so he’d like to know if people follow him for his professional opinion or his general chat as a guy from Glasgow. I’d guess the answer will be both – after all, people buy people. You can have the fanciest exhibition stand in the hall, but without the patter, you’re never going to convert the sale.
What do you reckon? Is the ROI of social media best measured in numbers?


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