“Don’t brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!” from Aesop’s Fable “The Tortoise and the Hare”
One of my favorite fables as a kid was the story about the tortoise and the hare. It always served as a good reminder if I rushed to finish a homework assignment that it was worth a few extra moments to look back and make sure everything was done correctly.
What reminded me of this recently was an article that was published in the New York Times, “The Follower Factory.” If you didn’t see it, I highly suggest you give it a read. It’s full of information about Twitter and social media’s black market of paying 3rd party companies to boost your follower numbers. The promise is that for a certain price, this 3rd party company will reward you with thousands of new followers.
Since I’ve been at Sterling Kilgore, we’ve always advised our clients that it takes time and effort to build a following on social media. Having thousands of followers is great, to be sure. But you want to ensure you have a relevant (and real) following. If your target audience is B2B and your followers aren’t buying what you are selling, chances are you’re talking to the wrong crowd. Even worse, if your followers are fake accounts then your message won’t be heard at all.
It’s natural to think the amount of followers is the most important thing to measure in your organization’s social media platforms. However, it’s much more important to have an audience that is active and engaging. After all, you’re trying to build a social community and there’s nothing social about having thousands of followers who are not sharing your content.
Building an active social community that’s willing to engage with your brand takes a lot more than purchasing followers. It takes sound research, a solid content strategy and sometimes a bit of patience. You likely won’t have 1,000 followers overnight but when you do reach 1,000 followers, you’ll be completely confident your brand message is reaching the right audience.
Much like the Hare, taking shortcuts in social media only leads to bigger headaches down the road … and for the accounts that were called out in the New York Times article, a lot of embarrassment. If by chance you ever do find yourself tempted to purchase followers on any of your social media platforms, please keep in mind my free advice: Don’t do it.