Quit Trying to Game the System

I was recently hired by a company to optimize their social media presences, and get them started with effective community management. It’s something we do for a lot of companies, and I really enjoy the work. This time, however, I was taking over from a pretty big agency. “Cool,” I thought. They’ll have a lot of good things in place already.

How very wrong I was.

The Twitter account for this client had thousands of followers, and many of these showed up in the company stream. What I discovered, however, was that a very large percentage of these folks had NOTHING to do with what this company offers. Instead, what I discovered is that they were all part of this network of people who agree to follow back anyone who follows them. Every one of them had HUGE numbers of followers. But practically none of them were relevant followers.

And it drives me crazy. Not just because I have to clean up the mess in order to see posts from relevant people who might actually be good for the company. But also because this company got taken in by the illusion of lots of followers. And this agency did it to sell the story of followers, without any results to show for it.


Do not get taken in by vast amounts of followers, if that’s not your target market. Better to spend time cultivating relationships with a small group, and watch it grow organically because people love you and talk about you. Don’t demand huge numbers in a short amount of time. That’s what leads to games like the one I’m currently cleaning up.

The social media strategy the brings results is the one that focuses on cultivating relationships with relevant contacts, and providing them with value.

Your thoughts?

One Response to Quit Trying to Game the System
  1. Karen Clark
    July 19, 2011 | 12:33 am

    Grrrr! When will these agencies (and the companies who hire them) realize it is about connecting with people not collecting people. Numbers mean nothing if you’re not engaging and nurturing a community of advocates.
    Karen Clark recently posted..Why Not to Use a Certain Facebook App

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