Ditching Numbers: 4 Steps To Strengthen Your Social Media Strategy

Posted in Busyness Blog

How many Twitter followers do you have? Do you have more Facebook friends than I do? Well, I have three Twitter accounts totaling over 100,000 in combined followers. You only have how many connections on LinkedIn? She already has 25,000 folks in her Google+ circles.

Big numbers mean power, right? Adding another zero to the number of social engagements clearly indicates that you are more influential than someone with only 10’s or 100’s of followers. If only it were that clear.

Like many things in life, playing the social media game is often characterized by numbers. Unfortunately, absolute numbers go only so far in determining much, if anything at all. In today’s age of outsourcing and automation it is rare to find the individual using social media as a legitimate avenue to develop and cultivate authentic, personal relationships.

For the past several years I was caught up in the proverbial “numbers game”. The truth is that I used to care about the number people following me. I used to focus on gaining followers, friends and connections at the fastest rate possible. The more the merrier. I cared less about relationships and more about the numbers.

Today I don’t give a rip. At least I don’t care about the useless numbers. Only some numbers are important and unfortunately it took me years to figure this out. Most of us get caught up in the wrong numbers. The wrong numbers are those that have no relation to the bottom line of our business. For instance, most would feel that 100,000 followers are better than only having 1,000 followers. However, I would gladly take 1,000 highly interactive and participating followers over 100,000 disengaged ones. This should be the goal of a sound social media strategy.

The challenge is to increase engagement, to build authority and trust, and to convert your social media followers to full-fledged clients and customers that willingly and excitedly buy your products and participate in your programs. In this scenario, the total number of friends and followers is much less important than measuring the number of those who actively engage in your conversations and programs.

If you are anything like me, you may find yourself staring at accounts with thousands of followers, very little engagement and an extremely shallow level of personal relationships with only a handful of your friends and followers. Over the past few weeks, I have been working to strengthen my social media platforms and have summarized the simple, 4-step process that I am following to convert my social media accounts (and my mindset) from quantity to quality.

Step 1: Develop A Social Media Strategy
Like anything in life, you need a plan of action to accomplish a particular aim or goal. You need a strategy. In hindsight, I dove headfirst into social media with a strategy of simply building up as many followers and friends as possible. This strategy needs to be more. It should clearly answer the questions such as: WHO are you going to engage with? HOW are you going to find them? WHEN you are going to engage them? WHAT are your intentions for your social media efforts?

Step 2: Tear It Down
Unless your social media platforms were constructed with quality relationships in mind, I strongly recommend that you tear them down and position yourself to start over. Popular blogging folks like Michael Hyatt and Chris Brogan are doing it. I am doing it and you can too.

Tools like SocialOomph and TweetAdder can be used to cut Twitter followers one-by-one as well as in mass. Unfortunately, “unfriending” on Facebook is not so easy but there are a few tricks that can be used to speed up the process as much as possible (watch for a future blog post on this topic). You can watch my Facebook account in real-time as the number of friends is dropping by 50-100 per day.

Step 3: Build It Up
It is now time to put your Social Media Strategy into motion. It is time for you to engage on a consistent basis, participate in conversations and add value to the world. Seek others within your niche to engage with and get to know. Create lists within all of your social media accounts to better organize and engage with folks. Add folks who you might not know personally to a “Get To Know” list and spend an Action Unit (AU) per day in doing just that.

Step 4: Measure & Measure Some More
Never forget that social media is more about quality than it is quantity. You know that you’ve made it when you obtain both. In the interim, take comfort in engaging with a smaller number of folks at much deeper and authentic levels. Shift your mindset away from focusing on the number of friends and followers onto more meaningful metrics such as the number of conversations, number of replies, and the percentage of those friends/followers who have joined your email list or purchased your products or services.

I can personally attest to the fact that following this 4-step process has injected life into my previously dead social media accounts. I have reclaimed my Twitter Direct Message (DM) box, am able to actually follow my Twitter streams and have resurrected levels of dialogue on Facebook that did not previously exist. And don’t forget that if you started off on the wrong foot, it is never too late to ditch the numbers and create a more interactive and fruitful social media platform.

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