Keeping Score Sucks

Posted on Monday, August 10th, 2009 at 10:49 am by Engine Communications

DBU067Recently, I (Bryna) bumped into someone I hadn’t seen for a long time. Rather than engage me in conversation, this individual launched into a litany of their up-to-date personal accomplishments. It was like listening to a resume. And I kept thinking, “Why is this person keeping score?”

In light of the work we at Engine are doing in the field of social media, this experience reminded me of the one thing I hate about social networking: the numbers game.

The quality versus quantity debate is a frequent topic of discussion in the social realm. When trying to market a product or service, don’t you want 100,000 followers on Twitter? Shouldn’t you aim for a million fans on your Facebook page?

The answer is: Size doesn’t matter. Your tribe could have a million members, but your business won’t benefit from the numbers unless you have amongst them some genuinely engaged individuals who you’ve connected with in a more meaningful way. This represents your true online following.

Out of all my fans, friends, and followers, I have about 30 people who I’ve actually connected with. Those people are invaluable sources of information, business, and networking potential (and some have become really good friends), but they’re a small percentage of the people that my brand engages with online.

Does that mean social media isn’t worth the effort? Absolutely not! It’s a phenomenal tool for knowledge sharing, marketing your product or service, and networking with clients and colleagues.

The key is that without real relationships, social media doesn’t work. When numbers become your focus, you’ll fall behind, even though you look like you’re ahead of the competition. .

I like this video commentary by Seth Godin on social networking. It sums up nicely the limitations and benefits of using social networking. As Seth says, “You have to earn the connection.”


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