Growing Social Network Numbers Quantity VS Quality

When growing your social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) community numbers is it about the quantity or the quality?

This conversation was started by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing who sent this tweet:

“wondering if as your social networks grow they become less social – engagement doesn’t scale online much better than in person”

I’m thinking wow perfect timing; this has been a hot topic in my circle lately so I immediately tweeted:

“@ducttape funny about growing social networks numbers, how “expert” status is based on them for me quality is more important than quantity.”

To my surprise, within minutes he responded with this tweet:

@SavvyBizBuilder I know, you’re right – social proof drives who gets asked to the dance, but soon you find no intimacy in that #socend”

Unfortunately, on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn some people tend to measure you by the numbers. Their social proof stems only from how many people you have accumulated.

The way I look at it, what does that kind of social proof, really prove?

Let’s start with Quantity

When it comes to Twitter and quantity I can think of a few ways to quickly increase followers:

  • Use a free or paid service that guarantee massive amount of followers some as much as 20,000 or more a month.
  • Randomly follow anyone and everyone with the hope they will follow you back.  There seems to be an Urban Legend stating as a courtesy you should follow someone in return for them following you.
  • Use a tool that identifies if an account has auto-follow activated then follow them.  The tool will automatically punish anyone who unfollows you with a reciprocal unfollow.

Though I am personally opposed to these tactics for my needs, using any one of them will boost your follow count. If you dare to try one or all, keep in mind there is no guarantee your paid followers will be interested in your tweets (messages). As a matter of fact, they can unfollow you at anytime.

Now let’s finish with Quality

When it comes to Twitter and quality I can think of a few targeted ways increase followers:

  • Use directory services to find tribes of your target audience. You can help your followers find you by adding your Twitter handle to these directories.
  • Use the list feature to find real-time tweets from lists of users on any given topic.
  • Listen to your industry or niche, then create and tweet relevant content that adds value. As an added bonus, your tweets may be freely forwarded because good content is often retweeted.

Using these options may not increase your follow count quickly however you should over time grow a targeted list.  As long as you remember about the social part that includes building relationships. In my opinion, quality is more important than quantity. My social proof includes measuring the number of followers who are listeners that turn into buyers.

Come to think of it, should social proof be less about the numbers and more about the ability to monetize your community?

Bottom Line

It doesn’t matter; how many people follow you on Twitter or how many friends or fans you have on Facebook or how many connections you have in your LinkedIn network –if nobody is listening.

I’m curious, like John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing tweeted, who do you ask to the dance…What is your social proof and how do you measure it? Let me know in the comments.

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