I will be honest. I am sick of the magic bean marketing that some people are pitching in order to help you “grow” your Twitter followers or for winning a large group of “friends” for apps like FaceBook. There are so many things that I see wrong with this approach and why I dislike this idea of selling magic bean stalks to businesses or people willing to listen.
1. Can you really call people friends when you’ve never really met them? I don’t accept ANY friend requests unless I know a person or they come as a recommendation from someone I trust. I think in some ways we’ve made it too easy to connect and I am more interested in “real-ationships” than a body count. Not to mention, people do business with people they trust. How can you do this if you don’t know them?
2. Does having thousands of followers really matter? I think the idea of building a massive follower list is just like those childish, school popularity contests where those with the most friends wins. Where are your friends now? We should be more concerned with building quality friendships over shallow quantity ones. Plus, using trickery to build your list doesn’t equal qualified leads or good friendships…but maybe that’s just my Gen-X cynicism speaking.
3. Can you honestly keep up with them? Many bloggers or books say the proper etiquette is to friend or follow a person who does the same for you (and can also a magic bean tactic). This is a great theory and very kind, but highly impractical. You can only keep up with a limited amount of people. And if you are only doing it as a courtesy, doesn’t that cheapen the deal? I follow people because I care about what they are saying or doing, and at 227, this is very difficult to do!
4. What is the real purpose? I understand the power of reach and that having a large list of people can increase your odds at being heard, but there is a huge difference between earning the right/trust/privilege to be heard (or followed) as compared to marketing tactics to bait you into a relationship. If your reason is to create true community then it has to be done with authenticity.
5. Isn’t Social Media about getting results? I’ve been reading Social Media Metrics by Jim Stern and it’s challenged me to go back to my old school reasoning of the ROI (Return on Investment) of using the social media apps at our disposal. In the Introduction, Jim states that you must measure the effectiveness of social media and that there are “The Big Three Goals” in business:
- Increasing Revenue,
- Lowering Costs, and
- Improving Customer Satisfaction
He writes, “they are all that matters in the long run. If the work you do does not result in an uptick in one or more of those Big Three Goals, then you are wasting your time and spinning your wheels.” Stern also talks about how shallow relationships don’t usually generate good ROI. If we take his information as truth, then we must come to understand that the huge social media numbers game really doesn’t help us out and that smaller, authentic communities do.
Bringing it all together…
Many of us know that trusted relationships with our clients, customers, or community will help us with our business or venture. Most of us, if we are being honest, would admit that we don’t use social media just for the sake of having fun – but for the purpose of business. If these are all valid statements (and I believe they are) then shooting for a mass influx of friends, followers, or buddies will not benefit us and therefore making the magic beanstalk worthless.
My advice is that you build your following organically or because you are remarkable. Then your social media numbers will mean something and have real value.
So how do you feel about these thoughts?