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Having A Trillion Followers, Is It Enough??

Ever wondered why everything in the social networking world is based around the popularity of someone or something? If not, then maybe you should since the answers to this question relates to how consumers look at things out here in La-La-Land.

I cannot count the times I have attended a function and somewhere in the conversation someone asks these questions.

  • Are you on Facebook?
  • Are you on Twitter?
  • Are you on LinkedIn?
  • Immediately proceeding these questions follows

  • How may Followers do you have?
  • How many Friends do you have?
  • How many Contacts do you have?
  • If you have never been asked these questions then just wait for them because they’re coming and probably sooner than you think. I have been getting these types of questions for a few years now and recently did a quick study that included me asking these people why they wanted to know how many people or fans I know or have. The answers to my questions on this issue really outlined how the people in today’s social networking and advertising firms think.

    The Real Question: If a million people were your followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook how many of them actually read your Tweet or updates?
    The Quick Answer: Studies show it would be the equivalent of approx 1%, which is not very many. So is it worth the effort?

    The Old Way of Thinking is Really Getting Old

    It seems the old adage of ‘it isn’t what you know but who you know’ has reversed in the minds of many misguided marketers today. Many of the people out in the social networking groups are out to become popular. Being immensely popular online and offline are these people’s vision of success. In their minds it really doesn’t matter what it is you do for a living or what you do professionally, just as long as you have a large following, this is what the people from the survey are telling me that matters. These people want to be your friend only if you are popular. They are hoping that your popularity will rub off on them, which in their mind would increase the possibility of selling something or getting a job.

    I find this attitude prevails when dealing with advertisers who are in need of getting exposure to products and secure sales. They only want to deal with people who show to have thousands of followers, friends or contacts. Forget about if the large number of followers are people the person actually knows. It is the possibility of getting a product or service in front of a large number of people through the person’s online activity these marketing firms are after. In the old days of internet marketing blasting out product promotions to the tens of thousands of friends in someone’s fan base was somewhat profitable. But…things have changed.

    A Change Has Been Made

    What is happening now, is people are out building artificial popularity through manual or crafty schemes and methods of gaining Followers, Friends and contacts. In some ways, they made it a game on the number of persons, places and things they can accumulate over a short period of time. They monitor the numbers of followers like it was the stock market. Some even have expensive giveaways to get to certain number of followers. All these efforts are done to make them appear popular in hopes it draws the attention of marketing firms who pay lavishly to get in front of that many people at once.

    In reality, the marketing value of these people who falsely grow their fellowship to extremely large levels is nil. However, advertiser react to the large numbers as being an indicator of the possible level of exposure they would get for their products. True, having one of these popular people post something to their Following has the possibility of being viewed by a large percentage of them. Unfortunately, the proliferation of spammers and over zealous marketers paying for advertising to be placed in front of these large numbers of followers has caused the growing population of people in these social networks to not pay attention to posts made for pure commercial reasons.

    In other words those posts are now falling on uninterested viewers. Many surveys are in progress to evaluate the change in consumers’ online viewing. Early reports from insiders are showing a huge decrease in views of links posted on Twitter. Tolerance of the high volume if Link Only posts on Twitter is falling rapidly and the views to business Facebook Pages are holding on but only for the FB Pages offering discounts or FREE products and services. Views to LinkedIn member profiles are waning due to onslaught of business people freely spamming their connections. The overall flood of information hitting members of online social and business groups is taking it toll and as a result the consumers who are part of someone’s huge following are leaving, disconnecting or simply abandoning their digital media footprints. What makes these reports very interesting is all are showing the membership to these sites are growing. If this is the case, who or what is joining these sites and what are they doing to avoid the huge number of unwanted promotions hitting them like a firehose?

    Where the Change Is Leading

    It is fair to predict that the Internet is not going away anytime real soon. One can only hope that a better Internet will be developed and I am sure back in some dark college dorm the next system is being developed. But, until then the current environment has to be dealt with and the world’s economy is riding heavily on finding new ways to promote a business’ products or services to the trillions of consumers online. What is promising is probably the natural evolution of internet marketing that deals with instead of advertising on the sites of a few truly popular people to now advertising on a large number of sites of people who know how to use social media. It makes sense since blindly posting promotions to the millions online is not getting any results.

    A move to selective posting of display advertisement on sites that provide vital information to consumers would be a more logical approach to advertising on the internet today. It is obvious the popularity contests are not working so moving to finding sites who are managed by Real People would be much more beneficial to the advertisers. This seems to be where the change is being made and where advertisers are rapidly moving. Think about it, having a product pitched to an interested audience is much more productive than blasting them with unwanted information. There is more value in promoting a product to a smaller, more targeted, audience which is more likely to produce a sale than posting ads or links to produce information on Twitter and thinking everyone is seeing it.

    Old marketing methods die hard out in La-La-Land making changes to new ways of promoting products come about slowly…sometimes too slowly for the business who spend large amounts of money on the old methods of doing things and get nothing out of it. Hopefully more advertisers are starting to see the value of advertising on niche sites who reach out and pitch their products and wares. This seems the logical progression towards improving a business’ profitability.

    These are my thoughts…what are yours?

    Photo courtesy of Laubarnes
    Photo courtesy of National Library NZ