Vanity is an ugly thing.
It’s funny how so many of us measure the success of our social media accounts by the number of followers we have. I see a whole host of people from content creators to businesses and even marketers, who are spending actual real-life money on artificial follows in order to fake their way up the social ladder.
Not only does it damage your reputation by proving you have very little in the way of integrity but it actively discourages Facebook, Twitter and Instagram’s algorithms from reaching the few quality followers you have. That means the people who would engage aren’t being given the opportunity to do so.
Vanity metrics count for very little if you’re pumping out weak content.
It’s far more impressive when your company’s social media pages are getting high engagement rates on their posts, as it shows you’re curating quality content and that you’ve developed lasting relationships with your proprietary audience. This relationship is far more valuable than the fleeting attention of a passerby, but it’s also far more difficult to cultivate and volatile when you eventually do.
It’s not easy but it’s worth it when you have genuine friendships with the people consuming your content. After all, it’s your friends who will help you get to the top, it’s your friends who will spread your message and it’s your friends who will fight your corner when you’re not around.
This concept has been discussed by marketers for a while now, most notably in the books ‘Tribes’ and ‘Permission Marketing’ by Seth Godin and ‘Audience’ by Jeff Rohrs. (Both are insightful reads and well worth the pennies you can pick them up for).
Obviously, it goes without saying that the more subscribers, fans and followers you have, the more likely you are at converting the sale. But marketing, I feel, shouldn’t be treated like fishing. The more time you waste on the pursuit of weak leads, the less time you have to invest in the relationships you’ve already worked so hard to develop.
The aim is not to trick people into buying your product or service but to offer so much value that your consumer base WANTS to contribute to your success. Whether they choose to do this by sharing your content, subscribing to your mailing list or buying your product/service is their choice. It’s up to you to make it worth their time, effort and money.