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The Quality of Your Social Media Influence

posted 5 Dec 2010, 12:51 by Mpelembe   [ updated 5 Dec 2010, 12:52 ]

Twitter followers. Ashton Kutcher has 5.4 million of them.
Shaquille  O'Neal has 3 million of them. Felicia Day has 1.7
million of them. Wait, who was that last one? Unless you are
plugged into all manner  of things nerdy you may have never
heard of Felicia Day. But millions of  people around the
world have. They admire her and her work. A  self-proclaimed
geek hit the mother lode of niche markets by being  honest
with who she was and what she loves. And the nerds of the
world  loved her for it.

A young woman who loves videos games, science fiction, and
produces  her own web series is a shining example of someone
who used social media  properly. And how being honest about
her passions helped get here  there.

It's easy for someone to tell you how many Facebook friends
or fans  they have, how deep their LinkedIn network goes, or
how many Twitter  followers they have. But the true measure
of that success isn't just a  number, it's about the quality
of your followers and friends and why the  decided to support
your social media endeavors in the first place.

Many people still don't quite grasp the true power of
Twitter. It  isn't just another medium for advertising. It's
not a tool for talking  "at" people. It's talking to people,
and them talking back. It's not a  private instant messaging
service but it is not a chat room.

On any given day, I will receive at least a few more
up-to-date news  headlines from the people I follow on
Twitter than I do from news sites.  Those people then might
share with me photos from the set of the movie  they are
filming, ask about what web hosting you might recommend, or
give you additional information about their latest web comic.

Twitter is about engaging the populace. And unfortunately it
is not a  tool that is meant to be used to make a single
tweet and then log off  without a second thought until you
feel like you want to tweet again. If  individuals wanted
that kind of interaction they would stick with your  blog or

It's important to remember that people know whether you are
truly  looking to interact with them or if you are merely
using them as a  vessel for advertising. The more your
followers feel like there is a  real person on the other end
of your account the more likely they are to  share your
tweets with their other friends and followers. And that is
the best kind of social media influence. People who are
openly engaging  with you and your content as opposed to
blind accounts who have never  actually sent out a tweet or
solely created an account because someone  told them to one

This extends beyond Twitter as well. Responding to comments
on  Facebook, posting on industry-related forums, and
leaving blog comments  are all methods you can use to engage
with your readers and extend your  influence within the

Too often people forget that part of using Social Media is
actually  being social. No matter how great your service or
product might be,  there are not people just waiting out in
the magic world of the Internet  to read about it our buy
it. They need to be sold, convinced, and  friendshipped.

Imagine a conference related to your field of expertise.
Having the  best product and sitting in a corner of the room
is no way to generate  leads or sales. You would engage with
people, shake their hands, learn  their names, and find out
what they do. The same is true online,  although you can
avoid the sweaty and clammy handshakes you were  guaranteed
to receive from some people.

Just remember, the old adage "Quality over Quantity"
translates  beautifully over to social media. You want
people engaged and interested  in you and what you do.
Felicia Day may have 1.7 million people  following her on
Twitter, but if none of them ever actually used Twitter
they would be worth less than one follower who used the
service daily.

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