Don’t Try to Circumvent the System

Every now and then I receive a message from someone I barely know, asking me to “Like” their Page, become a follower, etc.  In fact, I just recently got one from someone who had apparently sent a first message, didn’t get enough responses, and was begging for enough people so she could get 25 followers (in order to get her Facebook URL.)

Now I have no problem with inviting people to check out your Facebook Page.  And if they have a genuine interest in what you have to offer, or are otherwise engaged by the content, “Like-ing” the Page is a logical next step.  But when you ask people more than once, especially as the gal I mention above did, you actually wind up undermining your credibility.

Any attempt to “game” the system, which means artificially inflating your follower numbers, might make you look good on paper, but it does nothing for your bottom line.  I have personally built my entire following on legitimate, one-to-one conversations and the delivery of valuable content.  I am always blessed when folks pass my website, Twitter ID, Facebook profile, etc. along to their friends.  But you don’t pass these along because I’m desperate for numbers and you feel sorry for me.  You pass them along because you find value in the connection to me.  It benefits you in some way, and you want your friends to have the same benefit.

When people follow you simply to be nice, they will never look at your content, and will never pass it along.  Instead, you have diminished your value by trading in a favor.  Instead of showing me how you’ll benefit me, you’re simply showing me that all I am is a number to you.  I’ll never convert.  The number means nothing.

It can be so easy to be interested in building up the numbers of our following.  But that’s not the end game.  Instead, focus on providing value to people that want it.  If that gal asking for people to Like her Page went out and did a few parties, and invited customers to join her on Facebook instead, she would not only find people interested in what she had to offer, but she’d also increase her reorder business.

Numbers for the sake of numbers does nothing for the bottom line of your business.  Focus instead on inviting connections that benefit the person connecting with you.  You’ll enjoy much greater long-term success.

Your thoughts?

6 Responses to Don’t Try to Circumvent the System
  1. Shanna Hatfield
    September 8, 2010 | 2:41 pm

    Love this post, Jennifer! Thank you for reminder that it isn’t about building numbers, but building relationships!

  2. Connie (Sha Speaks) Williams
    September 8, 2010 | 12:21 am

    I truly appreicate this article and will be sharing it in my network in the hopes that people will see it, digest it mentally and then utilize it in their social marketing. I have never been one for numbers and know from my online experience that numbers don’t mean anything if they don’t end up with a bottom line.

    I have not been around that long and am learning so much about business just from the people I have attached myself to online…people like you.

    I never want someone to do business with me because I begged them or they felt sorry for me. I want the business because the potential customer liked what I offered…otherwise you do me a dis service.

    I am changing everything that I have been doing wrong including networking so that I won’t make the mistakes that you have outlined above.

    The more people see you, the more they want to know about you and then they become interested in what you offer…This I know.

  3. Andy Richards
    September 7, 2010 | 5:10 pm

    Good points! I think because there is a certain amount of anonymity on the web, people are more willing to break social norms like the one you described. I doubt that same person would go into a restaurant for lunch and immediately start badgering the owner to do business with them.

    Also, I think anyone who is seriously using their blog for business would take ten committed fans who genuinely like your work as opposed to fifty indifferent followers who don’t really care.

  4. Tisa
    September 7, 2010 | 2:57 pm

    Hi Jennifer,
    Agree with you totally!

    But I am commenting today just to let you know that I didn’t realize there was a space for commenting down here so you might want to point out to your readers that they can comment by scrolling down a little to leave a reply:)

  5. Karen
    September 7, 2010 | 11:30 am

    I agree 100% and received that same message. 🙂 I wrote about about growing your fans organically on a past blog post and I truly believe this is the way to go for long term success in social media:
    Slow and steady wins the race!

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