How do I get more likes? How do I get more followers? I am asked these questions all the time and usually I just respond with some of the tips I’ve written about in detail on this blog. I suggest sharing more content, creating more dynamic content such as images and videos, encouraging engagement, connecting with others through @replies, mentions, tags and more.
But then yesterday, I started thinking if these are even the right questions to be asking in the first place. After all, many social media marketers remind us how a campaign based primarily around “getting more likes” is almost always doomed to fail. As Nate Elliott states, “To put it bluntly, if you’re focusing on fans and followers, then you’re almost certainly doing it wrong.”
So, what should we focus on then? Well, what do all of the best social media techniques have in common? They all require the production of lots and lots of unique content as well as lots and lots of attention given to the content created by others.
Furthermore, if we study the most successful folks who are using social media, we would find that these people produce a tremendous amount of content usually on a daily basis. Moreover, these are the people who try to reach out to as many other folks as possible. They might share an article that they found interesting, leave a comment on a blog post, give a shout out to someone they respect or take a dozen other actions.
In the end, it is this endless stream of fresh content and continuous interaction that powers their social media success. In return, such successful individuals have been able to amass significant followings on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and elsewhere.
The numbers are all fine and dandy, but on their own, such numbers don’t mean that much. A full content stream and a high interaction level are what people really want, so that’s what we should focus on, instead of just drooling over how many people clicked the like button.
Sheila Scarborough argues, “Counting heads is fun – we’re all guilty of it, including me – but unless those people are helping you achieve stated objective(s) for your organization or business, you’re fooling yourself that anything is accomplished by totting up raw numbers.”
Therefore, we’re asking the wrong questions. Don’t ask how to get more followers. Instead, ask how to produce more content and personally reach out to more individuals. This now turns the tables from something that is abstract and out of our control, to something that is well-defined and within our grasp.
For example, we can’t guarantee that we’ll increase our following by 10% next month. That’s impossible to predict. What we can do though is guarantee an increase in the amount of content we produce and connections we personally make by 10% (or more) next month. That can be done and it surely will contribute to more followers, likes, etc.
So stop thinking in the abstract language of likes and follows. Instead, start thinking about using the time you have more wisely and more efficiently, so that you can write more blog posts, produce more videos, create more meaningful status updates, comment on more blogs, mention more people and reach out to more new fans.
Additionally, by doing this you’ll be able to see how successful your campaign is, since it can all be tracked and measured. Then, after a while, tweak what you need to, so that you’ll do even better next month.
Will this technique get you more followers or likes overnight? Of course not. Anyone who promises big rewards for seemingly little effort is selling nothing by lies. Successful social media marketing takes time and effort and on top of that, it takes excellent time management skills. Focus more on these things than on your following count and you’ll surely see that such time and effort was put to good use.