Even with all the talk about how we’ve embraced new media, people are still looking at the fundamental human elements of it in old school terms and absolute numbers. The scale of impressions, or the scale of followers, is simply not the end game anymore. Sure it’s a part of the equation, but to give that idea so much stock is just ludicrous and totally misses the point of what makes a platform like Twitter so incredibly unique.
Social media is about engagement. It’s the first time that a business has been able to communicate on a marketing level with their customers in a dialogue format. In other words, traditional advertising is all about a one-way conversation. That’s why nobody gives a damn about direct mail pieces and billboards; because they have no voice – they don’t want to be sold to. But with social media, your customers are much more open to your message because they have a voice too. (Of course, if you are one of those businesses that just spams your sales message on your Facebook wall every day then signs off, you won’t understand what I’m talking about.)
The key here is that your customers have a voice.
Your follower count means nothing. The engagement you have with your followers (however big or small that crowd may be) means everything.
You could have 100 followers, or 1,000,000 followers. All it takes is for one tweet to be noticed by one person, and the word-of-mouth plumbing that social networks are takes care of the rest.
And I’m not talking about going viral. You don’t need to go viral. You just need to get in front of the right person. Hell, you could have two followers… Oprah and Obama. Now all of the sudden that follower count feels a lot less important, right? The absolute number thing is stupid. Every consumer’s word does matter because word of mouth is now at scale and has the infrastructure to go anywhere.
We need to start thinking about this in a very serious way. Because right now, we completely misunderstand it.