It’s very easy to get caught up in the social media numbers game. You know the game, right? The one where our perceived success or failure is driven by the number of likes or followers we have.
We sometimes get into the mindset that these rather arbitrary numbers actually mean something on their own. Guess what? They don’t.
Well, let me be more specific. The number of likes you have on your Facebook page or the number of followers you have on Twitter doesn’t speak towards your social media success when viewed independently. Such numbers don’t say much about our engagement level with our audience and that’s what actually matters. Who cares if someone likes your page or follows you if they never (or very rarely) interact with you?
As PR professor and social media researcher Tina McCorkindale stated, “Liking something may not translate into anything of value such as behavior or attitude. Just because someone “likes” something doesn’t mean they would actually recommend, purchase a product, give money, or engage in any other type of behavior.” In other words, likes are a part of the social media engagement process, but they certainly are not our end goal.
As so many folks have said before, social media is a dialog. The back-and-fourth communication between you and your audience is what drives the vast majority of social success. In that case, the mere fact that someone clicked a like button is only the first step in the engagement process. It is then our job to produce and share outstanding content that will get our fans and followers talking.
So the next time you think about asking someone to like your Facebook page or to follow you on Twitter, think about what you’re really doing it for. Are you just out for the numbers? Do you think that by having more likes than the next guy that you’re actually succeeding with your social media marketing efforts?
At the end of the day, I’d take an audience of 100 loyal fans, who engage with my brand on a daily basis over an audience of 10,000 “fans” who don’t even know why they liked my page in the first place and never even look at my content.
However, don’t feel discouraged if you’ve been focusing more on quantity and less on quality. We live in a society that loves numbers and as of right now, likes and follows are easy to measure than abstract concepts such as “social engagement level.” But just because something is easy does not make it better.
Remember, our job is to deliver value to our audience, in order to generate engagement. So focus on the content you deliver first and foremost. And if you do this consistently, the likes and the follows will come naturally, because people will truly find value in what you have to say.