(Originally published in Society for Marketing for Professional Services’ Marketer Magazine).
Whether Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Google+, racking up followers, likes, 1Ds, retweets, and favorites on our Social Media business pages is gratifying. We all want more in life, right? It’s an endorphin rush just like the one we get when three 7’s align on the slot machine. The problem is that we’re looking at Social Media Marketing engagement all wrong when we focus on quantity over quality.
Increasing Sales is the Ultimate Goal
Let’s set the stage by stating the obvious. If your business has an active presence on Social Media it’s because you want to sell a product or service. It’s also likely that you subscribe to the concept of Content Marketing and genuinely want to build your firm’s brand by educating your audience. Assuming you understand the needs of your audience, you have crafted a content strategy around their interests. That leads us to the question: “do you know how many prospective clients you’re actually reaching on your Social Media platforms.” Cranking out high-quality, engaging content without penetrating your target audience is like hunting while blindfolded. You’ll never effectively hit your target.
Quality over Quantity
It’s not that quantity is irrelevant; it’s just not as important as quality. Let’s take Twitter, for example. You may attract 1,000 followers. The problem is that 500 of them are looking at you as a prospective client. Two hundred may not even be real followers. Believe it or not, there are robots on Twitter. CNN Money broke a story on August 12, 2014 where Twitter itself acknowledged that 23 million (8.5 percent) of its active users are fed by robots. In other words, you may be dealing with an automated response as opposed to a person behind a computer. In this hypothetical scenario, you’re only left with 300 potential clients. Developing a large following is akin to building a large sales funnel where 80 percent of the leads are irrelevant.
Always Question the Intent
The intent behind the action is everything in Social Media. That concept is worth repeating. It’s the intent, not the action itself that counts. Case in point. Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook followed me on Twitter. Do you really think he has a genuine interest in what the owner of a small niche construction and design marketing firm has to say? It’s easy to get smitten when someone likes a post, or follows you, but his or her interest may not be genuine. Like face-to-face communication, people don’t always mean what they say or say what they mean. Sad but true. Our inclination is to believe that the action is genuine because we are all ego-driven to varying degrees. Even if the intent is genuine, we must temper our enthusiasm. It will not necessarily translate into a sale unless the prospect is repeatedly subjected to high-quality, valuable content over time. The importance of the intent is exacerbated on graphic-driven platforms such as Instagram or Google+, where clicking a button to like an attractive photo or infographic is almost a mindless response.
Bring Your Target into Focus
Reaching your true target audience is critical, but the relevancy of your content to that audience is even more essential. So what can you do to increase your potency?
- Conduct a quarterly audit of your followers across platforms
- Cull out irrelevant connections if the platform allows it
- Focus on trends in your likes, favorites, retweets, etc.
- Base your content strategy on the relevant followers, likes, etc.
- Craft your content to reflect the relevant audience, and disregard the rest
- Actively seek out relevant prospects and engage them to increase your true prospects
- Initiate conversation and reply promptly to your relevant audience
New Playing Field, Old Problem
Increasing the quality of our prospect list is the same problem we have always faced in traditional marketing and sales. The power of Social Media is undeniable. Ignore it at your own peril. Posting great content on autopilot without knowing who’s on the receiving end is a losing proposition. Focus on quality, not quantity, and you will accelerate your conversion from followers to buyers.
Are you focused on quality or quantity? How has it served you?