You're Supposed To Be A Social Media Expert, Why Don't You Have Many Facebook Fans?
by Jo Shaer, on August 21, 2012
It's a question which always amuses me because, first of all, I don't like to promote myself as an 'expert'. I give guidance on the latest information, changes and strategies relating to using the various social media platforms to promote a business. The only people who are truly experts in Facebook, Twitter and Linked In work there!
The only word I dislike more than expert is guru! Long experience has shown that there are very few true gurus who know their subject inside out and can tell you all the ramifications and pitfalls of a particular course of action. And even the good ones can get caught out when a platform makes a sudden change to the way that it does things.
In days gone by, the accepted course of action on social media was to get as many fans and followers as possible to show how well connected you were and promote higher online visibility.
These days, things are rather different.
Facebook Business Page Fans
On Facebook, there is Edgerank - a metric which used to be a guide as to how often your fans engaged with your status update but which has now become a very flexible metric that determines how often Facebook will show any status updates in the newsfeeds of your fans.
So, whereas people used to offer ipads as competition prizes on Facebook to encourage lots of people to enter, they now discover that having thousands of fans who never come back to the Page once the contest has finished is actually detrimental to their ability to be seen online at all.
These days, rather than growing your fanbase indiscriminately, you want to restrict the people who like your Page to those who are most likely to interact with the content that appears upon it. The most successful are now those with must have technologies that promote their latest developments, emotionally charged products like weight loss, hobby pages where enthusiastic individuals exchange tips and show off their creations or stores which can offer plenty of discount coupons to loyal fans.
Yes, there will be lots of social media experts with thousands of Facebook fans, but are they working with local businesses or is their content aimed at those who want to become social media managers themselves?
My target market is local business owners who don't always want to advertise to any competitors that they are following someone who talks about social media or SEO. People can still see my content just by coming to my page when they want to - they don't have to like my page first. They may also get my blog updates via email so they don't need to follow me on social media where any updates might get lost in their various newsfeeds.
The way it works in a Twitter Home Stream is that you will see status updates from those people you are following. So, the more people you have following you, the more people are going to see your status updates.
On Twitter, there are automated robots which can be paid to go out and find users who have either listed or tweeted about areas related to a specific niche. At first it can be very flattering to be followed by a big shot in your industry who already has thousands of followers. Naturally, you want to follow them back. Then you find your news stream filled with continual status updates but no interaction from them on anything that you say.
It's actually better to decide who your experts are going to be by using the Twitter Who To Follow function.
The more people you follow, the harder it becomes to see and engage with what is going on - unless they specifically mention you by name and it then shows up on the @mentions page of your Twitter profile and in a separate column on your Hootsuite or other social media management system.
If you cannot interact with your own followers, who should be contacts that might actually help with your business and who you have followed back so that you can see their tweets, it all becomes a bit pointless.
My rule of thumb for Twitter is to cull regularly using Twitcleaner. This will show you those people who only ever shout status updates at you promoting their own businesses. You can then work your way through and skim off the cream whose content actually provides something that you can retweet to promote your authority as a source of good things in the eyes of YOUR followers.
Many of those who sent out the bots will also have software that will cleanse you from their lists if you don't follow them back. You see, it ruins what they perceive to be their 'average' if they are following more people than they have followers.
Linked In Connections
Yet again, there are people who want to have over 1000 connections on Linked In. To me, the purpose of Linked In is to act as a referral network.
I don't want people deciding to do business with an individual or company purely on the basis that there are some mutual connections when many of those will never have met, let alone worked together.