A popular topic amongst social media folks is the ongoing discussion around how many likes/followers a person or organization has and how much that matters. Most folks will usually side on how the numbers do not matter, and what’s more important is engagement, conversions, and whether those connections actually result in contributing to business results. All of this is is very true. Having a large social reach is certainly useless if none of those other things are happening. But I can tell you from experience that anyone that says the size of your reach does not matter is flat out wrong.

Almost 3 years ago a bomb dropped on me when Microsoft laid me off. I did not see it coming, nor should I have as they never had laid anyone in history of the company. I was ill prepared to enter the job market with thousands of other unfortunate souls. I had failed to focus substantial efforts on my own social credentials. I was fortunate however to have a decent enough severance package to buy me the time to focus on myself. And that’s exactly what I did concentrating on blogging, building my social following, and influence in social marketing.

Those efforts were the foundation to some fairly significant career happenings in my life. To more clearly reinforce why the numbers do matter, the following are a few examples to demonstrate how.

  1. In the past 2 1/2 years I have scored 3 different interviews, 2 at Microsoft, and 1 for my current gig. In all 3 experiences, my social following was clearly a big reason for getting the initial interviews. It put my name at the top of the list every time.
  2. Every client pitch I walk into is proceeded with my social credentials, and every time, it impresses them enough to walk into the room with a level of credibility before I even say a word.
  3. Most recently, I was contacted by a casting producer for Season 2 of a reality/adventure show called Escape Routes. I was clearly identified and drew interest initially because of my social following.

I know what some of you are thinking…all those people don’t know enough about social media thus are easily influenced by big numbers. And my response to you would be….Yea, that’s exactly my point.

Of course those numbers are not the be all end all. You have to back it up with actual knowledge, experience, and an ability to effectively leverage those networks, which I have been able to do. In all my examples, if I wasn’t able to back it up with clear examples and experience, of course they wouldn’t have worked out for me. But one clear fact remains; MY SOCIAL REACH OPENED THE DOORS. And that my friends, is the whole point of this blog post. Having a large social following in and of itself will open doors for you. You better be able to back it up, but the doors will open. Fair? Maybe, maybe not.

What’s your take or experiences?