Is A Bigger Social Media Platform Always Better?

Whether you are publishing a book or launching a business it’s seems like simple logic that you want as many people as possible following your social media. In the emerging e-commerce economy, followers are seen as potential customers. Sure not everyone will buy, but just fact that they showed enough interest to follow you is a sign that they are interested–or it was. A big social media following is no longer a true benchmark of a successful entrepreneur.

Almost as soon as social media was born it morphed from communities of like-minded people into a world-wide popularity contest. Numbers are shorthand for being in demand; a fact that was probably true at first. But like everything in the entrepreneurial realm someone quickly figured out a way to make it look like tons of people were interested in you, for a price, of course. It impossible to miss the people hawking Twitter followers on Twitter. If you’ve posted anything about your business they’ve found you. It’s so easy to increase your number of followers by ten fold. Artificially inflating your numbers looks fantastic if you are trying to convince a publishing company or investor that you have a solid base of potential customers in place. Never mind the fact that most of them do not speak English and have no use for your product.

Fake Amazon reviews are another way entrepreneurs make their social reach and popularity look much larger than it is. These are also for sale and about to become harder to pass off as real. Amazon is cracking down on them because they destroy the public’s trust, they diminish the Amazon brand and the brand of all sellers on Amazon.

I’m bringing this up today for two reasons. One, too many people just opening their e-business get needlessly frustrated when it looks like their competitors or fellow sellers are killing it when in fact they aren’t. It isn’t until you’ve been around for a while that you see that the number of likes, tweets, and reviews you have does not necessarily equal sales. The temptation to buy followers get stronger when you think everyone else is so far ahead of you, especially when you’ve been in business about the same amount of time. But getting anyone and everyone to show support for your business will do nothing but frustrate you in the end.

Which brings up reason number two for focusing on this subject. A social platform in vital to any e-business but one built on false numbers will collapse around you. No matter what you are selling there are great customers out there who will love your product or book. These are the people who buy from you once then with some nurturing, become repeat customers. These are the people who will gladly spread the word about your company, especially if they have had some personal contact from you. But how will you see them if they are lost in the chaotic sea of non-customers you’ve gathered on your social media. If you want to truly build your social platform and grow your business you need to concentrate your time and efforts on your core customers–communicate with them, cultivate them, appreciate them.

I met an author whose first book flew up the charts and became a best seller. I was in awe and jealous. What author doesn’t dream of this? But when she told the rest of her story I was surprised. Her second book didn’t sell nearly as well and she’s written several since. Some sold well, others not, but none matched the sales of the first book. She explained that what the burst of fame didn’t do was give her long-term name recognition with readers. She was the flavor of the month and soon forgotten by many. Instead of being upset by this she is concentrating her efforts on the few key fans who have bought all of her books. Her true success is coming from relatively few true followers who are first in line to buy her new work and spread the word through their social media. “Buy this book because I love it and it’s fantastic,” is a lot more effective than, “Buy my book.”

I’m seeing the beginning of the end for social media numbers being a benchmark for a successful e-company. It’s too easy to buy your way to big numbers and bogus glowing reviews. Investors and the general public are too savvy now. Once the curtain was pulled back revealing the fraud it devalued the real followers and reviews making them all less trustworthy.

It can be difficult to take your focus off your numbers, to stop the addictive habit of checking them all day, believing that they accurately reflect the health and potential of your company. But the good news is that once you do and you turn your focus onto individuals and building relationships with your core customers the entire platform building process becomes much more enjoyable. It changes your perspective from one of lack and fear to one of gratitude and potential.

If you are interested in reading more about developing your e-company by using social media to build relationships I recommend, “Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World” by Kristen Lamb. I also welcome your input and comments. Is your social media plan evolving? How has it changed in the past year or two?

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The Best Social Media Sites for Introverts

I’ve outed myself before and I’m going to do it again. Hi, I’m Karen. (This is where you all say “Hi, Karen” in unison). And I am an introvert. I’ve been one my entire life, but I’m really just beginning to grasp what this means in my life. 

The first step was admitting I was an introvert. Seriously. There are still those who know me who might question this because I’ve done such a great job of hiding it from myself and others for so many years. Let’s face it, being introverted is socially unacceptable. Introverts are seen as the death of the party, the non-team players, the people you have to work really hard to get to know. 

So you would think that the proliferation of social media would make reaching out or being reached out to so much easier. In a way it does but while some social sites make our lives easier others make us want to dig deeper into our caves. And within each site there can be some areas where we shine and others we avoid. So, where can you find introverts on social media? (and why would you want to?) Let me start with the first question.


Pintrest is the most introvert-friendly form of all the social media sites. It’s all about pinning/sharing things that are about you, but in a round about way. No one expects you to post personal photos or specific personal information. It also doesn’t require you to be present to participate. You can pin anytime of day or night and the info you pinned doesn’t disappear quickly. The most fantastic feature is the search bar which allow you to find others who’ve self-identified as introverts. The first time you find a page of memes about being introverted you know you’ve found home.

Despite it’s name Instagram can work well for introverts. The trick is to follow people who post exciting pictures and information and never post anything yourself, ever. I’ve found lots of my favorite shows, movies, celebrities, designers, etc. on Instagram and I give them hearts for their efforts often. This is a great medium for people with exciting lives and people, like me, who are happy to stand on the sidelines and cheer for them.  
 

 

Facebook is slightly less introvert friendly, but still not too intimidating. The best feature is connecting with people you already know in a no-pressure situation. You can see vacation pics, note when their kids reach major milestones, etc. Your friends and family might notice your lack of posts but that depends on how out of the introvert closet you are. I definitely fall into a category called “lurker” which is people who only read and almost never post. It’s hard to explain to extroverts how long it takes me to decide on a topic, compose a post, find a corresponding photo (preferably one I’m not in) then remember to actually create a post. I cannot fathom the idea of randomly throwing up a bunch of pics of me and my friends at the beach (but I enjoy everyone else’s).

Then there’s Twitter. I feel like an elderly Luddite on Twitter. It’s fast paced communication of small bits of highly encrypted information. And it’s a game of volume–the number of followers you have. I’m constantly encouraged to follow my friends and have them follow me. OK, that’s ten or twenty people, who I already communicate with in other ways… It took me a while to catch on, but I have found one benefit to using Twitter. Writers love it (many of whom are introverts). They post links to their writing. I post links to mine and voila–I’m being social from the relative calm and safety of my office. 

So, question number two; why would you want to find introverts on social media? The best answer is because you are one and you would like to find like minded individuals but they are, like you, prone to not go out and be found. It’s a misconception that introverts don’t like people or are shy. Most of us are actually dying to meet others, especially others like ourselves. We would just like to do it in our own way–no pressure, indirectly, at our own pace. 

I hope you found my guide helpful and if you did I’d love to hear from you in a comment…only you probably won’t, because that’s another thing introverts are not likely to do, comment. But we are big on sharing so if you think this article would be helpful to your introvert friends then please pin, post, share and tweet. Thanks.