16 August 2010 By Northern Lights
I have been struggling with one aspect of social media. Is it a good thing to have thousands of followers – on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and so on?
When I started out in social media I was quite clear in my own mind that the aim should be about forming meaningful relationships. If the people you ‘meet’ through social media are eventually to become customers, then you need to be forming relationships with quality, relevant people – not just looking for anyone who wants to have big numbers on their Twitter account.
Some time ago, Nick Bramley told me his rules for connecting with someone on LinkedIn. He said he would only link with someone who
– he would meet and have a drink with after a meeting
– he was happy to recommend to his clients
– he would do business with
I like these, they feel right.
Then I went to a number of conferences and courses and people I respect started explaining why large numbers can be good.
1. The case for building large numbers of followers in social media
2. Why you want quality relationships
When I was at Liz Cable’s event, I raised my concern about the numbers game. Robert Whitehead of Shulmans solicitors, a fellow delegate, said he thought it was ‘consensual spam’. What a great phrase and I really felt he was right.
Karen says you should grow organically and she recommends being ‘picky’ about who you link with – and make sure they have the same values as you do. Her blog created quite a discussion and virtually everyone commenting agreed that organic and quality is best.
3. Link with people who have the same values
I’ve come full circle. After being seduced momentarily by the idea of numbers, I’m now firmly back in the quality relationship camp.
A lot of our clients and journalists really rate our judgement as to the quality of people we do business with. That reputation takes years to build – I’m not going to destroy it for the sake of vanity. Having 15,000 followers means nothing to us. I want to associate with people who will mean something important to us.
Have you made a decision about this yet? We would love to hear other views.