I don’t like numbers. Never have. I come from a family of accountants. Yet I appear to have been born without a left brain. My distain for numbers started in my early math classes. Math was really the only thing I didn’t “get” throughout my school years.
So it should probably come as no surprise to me that when I started my online business, I hated the numbers side of it. The first things I outsourced were split testing and analytics. Let someone figure out what works best for me, and then I’ll do it.
It’s only natural that when social media became such a huge part of building a profitable online business, the numbers would be a huge turn-off for me. Twitter followers, Facebook fans, Google circles, LinkedIn connections, Kred scores, Klout scores . . . numbers, numbers, numbers . . .
We seem to be defined online by our numbers.
At first, being a number online didn’t bother me. That’s how the game was played. And there were lots of ways to pump up your numbers.
But gradually, the numbers started to turn me off. I began noticing people with huge followings ~ according to the numbers ~ who, upon closer look, didn’t appear to have any real influence. Or anything relevant to say.
I saw people brag about things they did to increase their Klout score by 10 points in a week. Although their real social influence hadn’t increased at all.
Do the Numbers Even Matter?
If you have an online business, I bet you have more stuff to do in your life, than time that exists to do it. Which means you need to be good at doing the things that matter. In other words, the things that develop real relationships, and that make money for your business.
The fact that you can build your numbers on social media, and still not make a difference to anyone, got me re-thinking how much effort I should be putting into getting people to like, follow, circle and connect with me.
Does it matter if my page has 1 Facebook fan, or 1000? To the disappointment of my number-hating-self, I concluded that yes, the numbers do matter.
Why? Because numbers may not make you a person of influence in your market, but, people of influence, almost without exception, have big social media numbers. It looks something like this:
How to Create Numbers that Matter
The question then, is how do you become part of that “inner circle?” The influencer who has the big social media numbers. After all, that is the combination that will result in the most profitable business for you. The more people you influence, the more money you’ll make.
Growing your social media numbers can be a full time job, and more. It’s something you’ll never check off your “to do” list as “done.” So, when you plan for how much of your valuable time you should devote to increasing your numbers, there are 2 questions you should keep in mind.
1. How Big Do My Social Media Numbers Need to Be?
I’ve always found Twitter to be a great resource for building relationships and meeting new clients. I developed a pretty consistent practice of finding and following people in my market.
But one day I realized that these efforts were coming at a price. I was growing so fast, I was having trouble keeping up with the relationships. And there was no point in growing the numbers, if I wasn’t also growing the relationships.
So, as you strive to maximize your productivity each day, pay close attention to what’s going on with your social media networks. As your follower numbers get bigger, the number of people you are personally interacting with has got to get bigger if you want any of this to make a difference to your business.
Would it be fun to have 100,000 Facebook fans and 1 million Twitter followers? Sure. But, you don’t need anywhere near that to have a wildly profitable business. And, if you look at the “inner circle” of real influencers in your market, you’ll find that they often aren’t the ones with the biggest numbers.
2. Am I Focusing on the Numbers that Matter?
What do you need then, to maximize your business profits? You need email subscribers. You need people to go to your website, read your blog, see the value you offer, and sign up for your email list.
That’s the number that matters. That’s the number the “inner circle” is focusing on.
Your number of social media followers will give me no clue about how profitable your business is. But, the number on your email list will tell me everything. And yet I am continuously amazed at how many really active people I meet on social media, who tell me they haven’t found time to start their blog yet. I think it’s that putting the cart before the horse thing.
Chances are, you need to shift your focus from yet another “Facebook Friday like party,” to one of providing more value to the audience you already have. And, by doing so, you just may find your new focus is in fact the best way to increase your social media numbers. I’ll tell you how next time.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about having a large social media following. How much of a priority do you make the social media numbers in your business? Please share in the comments below.