Why it is about the number of likes

“They” say it’s never about the number of likes. “They” also say it’s never about the money. Both are wrong – up to a point. 

Let’s look at the money equation first. “Money doesn’t make you happy” is actually a myth. Turns out, the lack of it makes you very unhappy indeed. A very interesting study has been conducted on the effect of money on the overall happiness and it turned out that there is a threshold, at which you can live a comfortable life, nothing extravagant but comfortable.

Anything you earn above this absolut number of money doesn’t improve your overall happiness factor. However, the lower that number gets, the unhappier people become as the problems a lack of money creates are making life miserable.

I venture to say that it is exactly the same with “likes” across the social media platforms. All around you hear the “experts” say it’s not the number of likes that is important but the quality, and I’m the first proponent of this statement. I would much rather have only 100 followers on Twitter but who each have me on their “VIP can’t miss”-list than 10,000 and none of them care what I’ve got to say.

But until you have reached a certain threshold of followers nobody will notice you. And until that threshold it’s important to increase the numbers. Not at all cost however. The last thing you want to do is just accumulate for the sake of increasing the number. You also wouldn’t go rob a bank so that you can reach that magic money happiness threshold. (in the US $75,000 p.a. by the way)

Instead you want to look at this whole number of followers game on the social platforms in a holistic way. What we’re talking about is your audience.

Who is your audience and why do they care about your message?

That is the question you need to answer and the stats can help you with that. The first part – who is your audience – comes by looking at how your audiences grows. What are you doing to grow it?

Good ways to increase your audience are

  • number of followers importancefollowing the people in your network you already know, they are most likely to follow you back
  • finding interesting people in your industry to follow, they might follow you back if your bio and tweets are interesting
  • going through each of these people’s lists of who they follow to find more interesting people to follow – discriminate, keep quality in mind
  • add your social profile links to your email signature
  • add links anywhere possible (think not only your website, but your packaging, your brochures, your business cards)
  • interact with the people you follow, it’ll make it easier for them to like you and subsequently to follow you back
  • post interesting stuff people find worthy of a share to their network (increases your visibility into their network)
  • most importantly: be a lovable, follow worthy person running a social media profile
(“Follow” also means like on Facebook and all the other various versions out there)

Bad ways to increase your audience are

  • buying followers, shudder (it’s on par with buying email addresses, just don’t do it)
  • playing the yo-yo game: “I follow you, then I give you 3 days to follow me back, and if you don’t then I unfollow you again”
  • following just anybody (that is highly debatable I agree, but for quality of audience I prefer to think before I follow)
  • forcing people or making them feel bad about not following (“Hey I see you still didn’t become friends with me on Facebook” ugh)
  • going onto other walls and leaving a comment like “Hey I liked you, now please reciprocate the favour and like me too” (instead leave a comment on their wall complimenting them on some thing or other, either their products, their page itself, their posts, anything – they will organically click on your name and check you out to see if they would like you too)

These are just some pointers, there are many more. If you have more please leave them in the comments below!

As for your audience caring about your message. Well that you will notice by the numbers too. If you have an audience of 10,000 and nobody shares or RT’s or re-pins your posts then something’s amiss. By the way, funnily enough, as with money, as your audience grows into stratospheres, so do your problems (management of a lot of money is just as painful as managing a lot of followers, however, nice problem to have, agreed).

How much should you care about the number of your audience?

My rule of thumb is this: look at the total number of your audience across the networks and if that is trending upwards (growing every month) then you’re in the green. You want to watch out for any drastic spikes, up or down, and check what’s going on. Other than that, don’t fuss too much about it. Drive specific campaigns in order to increase your audience and measure what’s working and what not.

But most importantly in all of this: be a person/organisation worth following. 

What is your take on the this topic? What are your “rules” with regards to follow or not to follow?

Generating leads with Social Media

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