Social Media is Fast, Engaging it Isn’t

Are you shooting for fast numbers or meaningful numbers?hare-tortoise

Sites like twitter are allowing us to share information faster than ever before. Yesterday, twitter users like @justinlevy and myself found out about Steve Jobs’ leave of absence an hour before any news station reported it on television. Many businesses have seen this fast flow of information and think that they can find fast success on these platforms.  They’re wrong.

It’s not the goal that matters but how you get there. So much focus is put on the numbers whether it be number of followers on Twitter, number of readers on your blog, or any other stat on which companies base ROI.  When asked, many “social media consultants” advise you to focus on relationships and condemn the notion of “numbers = success”.  Others care more about reaching as many people as possible than who they’re reaching.  Both are missing the point which is this…

Once you build strong relationships, the numbers will follow. If you build relationships with people in your community, they will be loyal to your company like they would a friend, trust your message, and be willing to share it with their connections.  Show that you care about who you’re reaching out to, not just how many, and they’ll care back.

It’s not such a bad thing to shoot for high numbers, but how you go about it will determine your success.  If you take the time to build meaningful relationships, you will enjoy the benefits of social media’s rapid viral opportunities in the longer run.

Would really like to hear what you think.  Comments? Criticism?

On a completely unrelated note, I will be at the Mashable NYC event today, tweeting away… so if you see me or want to meet, feel free to say hello or slap me for quoting “Field of Dreams” in a post about social media.  Either way I’d love to meet up!

Edit: Removed inapplicable “Field of Dreams” quote thanks to reader feedback (=

5 thoughts on “Social Media is Fast, Engaging it Isn’t

  1. David,

    You’re right that both sides of the social media fence are wrong, but the build it and they will come approach isn’t much better. cannot be that distant of a memory that we forget the lessons learned.

    Generally speaking, when passionate people carve out polar opposites then the truth is likely to be somewhere in the middle. Neither numbers nor relationships can promise anything because they are only a small sliver of the total communication equation.

    All my best,

  2. It is all about building relationships. it’s the Quality not the Quantity.

    @DavidSpinks and I (@MatthewRay_ had a Twitter chat yesterday with @ConversationAge.

    I agree with you, participation is needed. Sure, sit back and listen, but jump in the conversation when its your time to add value, and don’t be afraid to speak up and say thanks for the great post.

    From other bloggers out there, they’ve said, “they may not respond, but they are listening”. Forget who said it, but could have been @chrisbrogan or @guykawasaki or @jasonfalls for all I know. They probably all said it…

    Be real & Be passionate. Listen & Engage.

    Thanks for the post.

  3. @ Richard The field of dreams quote may not have been applicable… The “it” in “if you build it” I referred to is “relationships”. The main point I was trying to make is that if you establish real, meaningful relationships with people in your community, then you will find that more people (numbers) will listen, and care about what you have to say. You are absolutely right though. showed us a valuable lesson that you can’t just create your own channels, send out messages, and expect people to react. Thank you for your feedback.

    @Matthew Thank you for stopping by! Hope to have more discussions like that in the future.

  4. Thank you David. Fair enough.

    There is an irony in that I participate in social media to develop relationships, but still believe that tends to be situational for many companies. Yeah, I know, not a very popular opinion.

    I will visit again. I enjoyed your post and post comment very much.

    All my best,

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