An interesting phenomenon is taking place everyday. Twitter fellows celebrate when reaching 1,000 followers. Marketers proudly expose their ever-growing followers list as if that was the only purpose of their social media efforts. Key performance indicators are reasons to show off, as brands and individuals are equally engaged in this battle for who shows the “highest score”.
In this race, they care more about how many (the width) than of understanding the real depth of those relationships. And we all know that depth drives a relationship and is what really generates buzz and consumer advocacy.
Take 3 top social media networks. On one end, Twitter allows anyone to follow you without any permission (of course you can stop unwanted followers any time you want).
Facebook adds another layer by requiring that you ask for permission first, though most people tend to accept most of the friend requests without filtering who should really be part of their circle of trust.
On the other end, in LinkedIn, you not only have to ask for permission but also need to have something in common (work relationship, group, etc). Contacts are business related and you tend to be more cautious about openly sharing them.
See what I’m saying? As marketers and individuals, we need to take some distance from this score race and focus on the depth of our online relationships:
- Instead of counting how many friends you have; understand who are the friends that really count.
- Stop showing off because of your extensive follower list; start asking yourself why they follow you.
- Go back to your contacts and see who is really a business connection.
At the end of the day, in business as in life, you’d better know who your real friends are.
Let’s end with a successful example based on a common sense approach: people tend to “accumulate” lots of friends on Facebook that really represent little value to them.
BK asked its consumers to sacrifice their friends in order to get a free Whopper. And many people agreed that the prize was worth more than the (so called) 10 friends they needed to sacrifice. Facebook put an end to the campaign based on logistic issues. My guess is that it was so successful Facebook got frightened because people were eliminating friends at a faster pace than they were adding them. And for a company, whose strategy depends on “selling friends by the pound”, rather on the depth of relationships. That’s a lot to sacrifice.
Enjoy the Whopper sacrifice!