Too much quantity, not enough quality in social media

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

Social media has quickly caught on like a drug. It’s addictive. It’s impulsive. It’s habit forming. It has been hailed as the new way to do business. I don’t question it’s massive influence on the “social” part of our lives. What I do question is the “business” side. For example, it seems like measurement is based on quantity, not quality. The conventional wisdom that it’s more important to have 1 million followers, most who don’t even know what you do, than it is to have 5,000 followers who are passionate about the same things you stand for. I know some argue that true business does come from social media. I do believe that, but if most marketers are honest with themselves, it is probably less than 4% of their overall revenue source. It may help, but it’s not a driver of leads or sales.

Another trend that has been happening is many keep having the same people on your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. They pass around the same joke, videos, and family photos. It generally begins to reflect their offline lives which is not surprising. We are all still people, not machines. We still relate to one another on a human level with human emotions of likes and dislikes. All of that begins to add to the “noise” in the media space. (Sounds like the same criticism online proponents have against “old media”.)

As I see it, social media has become completely saturated and everyone is trying to figure out what value it has in our lives. From a business standpoint, it’s becoming more about qualified followers than just amassing people who have no idea what they are really being a fan of or recommending as a resource. Great brands want loyal fans, who are passionate, to join their social media sites. They, in turn, evangelize the world for them. If brands went for the masses indiscriminately, they would just end up with large numbers who want free stuff and not many real followers who will passionately share with people on how a particular brand affects their lives.

The marketplace is now making a correction in this line of thinking. There are tools and advice on how to lessen your number of followers that is becoming available. For example, one piece of advice I’ve read stated if you want to be seen as some one worth following on Twitter, don’t follow thousands of people or have thousands following you. Be selective. It comes down to quality over quantity. This sets you up as someone who thinks for themselves and is choosy about who they associate with. There are several social media “gurus” like Robert Scoble who is no longer cross referencing his Tweets on his Facebook page. In his opinion, there is too much noise and not enough tools on Facebook to remove it. Even if there is something worthy of Tweeting or putting on your Facebook, because of the noise, many can’t find it anyway.

There are many social media sites coming on board everyday, including Google’s Buzz. But so far, none have offered anything different that is of real value. As a result, marketers and advertisers are not jumping in. Many realize the problem of over saturation, no real value, and no real purpose. They just add to the noise that is already out there.

The main point is social media is beginning to mature and must figure out the real value it brings to brands and advertisers since they depend on that revenue to stay alive. The lesson that needs to be learned is it does come down to an old school idea of quality over quantity after all. If you want to build a great brand in the social media sector, find true believers, not noise.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

5 Responses to “Too much quantity, not enough quality in social media”

  1. Will you share more about it? We just want to know more. Very impressive!.

  2. Thank you for your reply. Will you tell me more about your thoughts? I am very interested in hearing your viewpoint. –Tony

  3. I want to subscribe

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