November 1, 2010 by Jason Yormark
I'm a 20 year veteran of digital marketing & the owner and founder of Socialistics, a social media agency based in Seattle. My spare time is filled with writing, baseball, my boys and everything Seattle has to offer.
Robert Freeze says
August 11, 2009 at 3:25 pm
Jason, I have thought a lot about this also as for me twitter is one of the main sources of traffic for my blogs too. I totally agree that quality is much more important when it comes to twitter followers. At the same time there is no rule that you cannot have both. I strategically search out and interact with twitter followers in the different areas I blog about (family life and parenting, and social media). This helps me connect with new people in my areas of interest and these people end up commenting on my blogs and RT my tweets etc… Since this is typically just a handful of people every day (30-40 max, like you) it leaves me lots of room to push for other followers who are willing to follow me back. The funny thing is, the second approach has also yielded even more good followers than the first way. Follwers I would not have found otherwise.
August 11, 2009 at 3:59 pm
Good points. I think it just comes down to how individuals (or businesses) decide on their strategy to build out their follower base. A slow, methodical approach to ensure those following are relevant, or a shotgun approach. It certainly can vary depending on the individual or business, but I still think investing the time strategically to grow your following will pay off larger dividends over the long term. I certainly think you can do both, but sacrificing quality for quantity would be a mistake.
Barbra Gago says
August 12, 2009 at 4:08 am
Quality should always be more important that quantity. What's the point of having people that follow you, if they really don't care what message you are trying to send. In my opinion, Twitter and other social tools are reshaping the way that business is done. Social media allows businesses to collaborate with their consumers, and I think the end goal for everyone should ultimately be better quality products, relationships, experiences, services, etc. Also, it takes time to build relationships, people that automate the process are simply applying "old" marketing tactics to a new way of thinking, and of life, and it just won't work in the end.
August 12, 2009 at 4:56 am
Thanks for stopping by Barbra. Couldn't agree more, however there are flocks of individuals who are "automating" the process and branding themselves as social media experts. While I don't think engaging in social media activities is rocket science, it certainly takes more expertise then a large Twitter following.
By the way, absolutely love your blog design. Very unique, and different approach. I'm sold!
August 13, 2009 at 11:05 pm
Thank you! And, by the way, I came to your site because I saw your video application, it was by far the best, very good spin you put on it. 😉
August 12, 2009 at 7:33 pm
Nice post Jason…and expand a bit on Barbra's thought. I have not been Twittering for very long, but within a rather short period of time and no tweets people were following me. I found it odd. However, when I checked out who was following me most were in the 10K area. It seems to me they are following me in the hopes that I would follow them out of politeness? Automated? Several of the 10K Tweeters were following that many. Seriously? They could care less about nearly all of the posts they are "following." Do you follow to be followed?
August 13, 2009 at 4:19 am
Oh definitely, lots of automated followers. Certainly I hope that by following someone they'll return the favor, but my goal is that those that I'm following will have valuable and relevant info to share and vice versa. It's not an exact science by any means. Hell, I've got my fair share of garbage needing taking out.
Christopher Rollyson says
August 16, 2009 at 12:08 am
Jason, thanks for an important discussion that applies to communities of all kinds: forget technology, how do you manage your social life in general? Do you have fewer more intense relationships or more shallow ones? What's really funny about (digital) social networks is they seem new, but there's really nothing new, they are just digitizing human relationship activity.
I have a couple perspectives because I advise companies and conduct my own business. Speaking of business (this would apply to personal, too, but that's a different context), I think you have to think along 2 main axes: what resonates with you personally and (from a business perspective), what do your key relationships expect? Are you a naturally "loose tie" person who feels very comfortable introducing people to each other, neither of whom you know? Or do you naturally like to know people better before you say you know them?
Ultimately it comes back to how you make money. Do you work in a context in which you can do deals with people you don't know that well as long as the terms are right? Or, do you have a complex, big-ticket solution that requires you to develop relationships before you can sell anything? Loose tie vs. tight ties. I've been in professional services, so that's a tight tie proposition. If a CMO in my LinkedIn network wants to meet someone else and asks me for an intro, she is going to expect that I know the third person pretty well. If CMOs are key stakeholders for me, I need to be mindful of that. However, if I'm in tech recruiting, connecting Java programmers with employers, it's more about having the right person at the right price at the right time. That can call for a more loose tie strategy.
I am experimenting with different strategies with different Twitter accounts. I run a loose network on Facebook and a tight network on LinkedIn. But I do so because I think that optimizes my business strategy. By no means to I claim to have cracked the code, this is key R&D for me.
Getting back to your numbers, though. Digital social networking isn't mature enough for us to say, "Given abc business strategy, you need a Twitter following of 125,000 and 55,000 Fans on your Facebook Page." This will be forthcoming within 5 years max.
I would think more about the interactions you're having rather than the number of people you have. Given your business strategy, what kind of interactions do you need to succeed? In micro, you learn to optimize production so that marginal cost = marginal revenue. Here, you need to ask what number of certain interactions do you need to achieve a meaningful outcome? How can you improve the interactions, so you get those outcomes. You need to resonate with company culture and with key stakeholders. This is a key area of my consulting practice.
More on the Social Network Life Cycle Model at http://tinyurl.com/snlcm
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