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Seth Godin’s Social Media Experiment

Viral growth in social media outpaces large numbers of faux followers said Seth Godin in one of his best ever blog posts today. The following piece was published by Jamie Turner, Editor-in-Chief of 60secondmarketer.com, and is reproduced here with his kind permission:

Seth Godin wrote a terrific blog post today. He discussed the propensity for many brands to focus on getting more followers instead of focusing on providing “viral-worthy” promotions or “forward-to-a-friend-worthy” blog posts.

This chart from Seth Godin points out that brands who focus on quantity of followers are missing the point. It’s about the quality of the idea and the engagement of your followers.

This is something the 60 Second Marketer team has been talking about for a long time. Our point is that your brand’s social media success revolves around the quality of your audience, not the quantity of your audience.

We’ve all seen the Tweeple who have 10,000+ followers. In the early stages of the social media game, our collective response was probably, “Wow! This person has 10,000+ followers. They must be really good or really smart or both.”

But after a while, we’ve collectively realized that unless you’re Seth Godin, Chris Brogan or some other well-known person (or brand), if you have more than 10,000 followers, you’re probably spending too much time getting new followers and not enough time providing great content.

Most of us know that there are a number of ways to artificially grow your Twitter and/or Facebook followers. But these techniques are the 21st century version of SPAM. They’re useless, counter-productive and a complete waste of time.

Seth Godin has been preaching about this ever since Permission Marketing came out many, many years ago. The secret is to get real followers who are genuinely interested in what you have to say.

When you have a moment, read Seth’s blog on this topic.

Or, if you’re a member of the Short Attention Span Club, you can read these highlights:

  • Many brands believe that the quantity of followers is more important than the quality of followers
  • In one social media experiment that Seth conducted, 200,000 followers led to a very dismal 25 click-throughs
  • The number of click-throughs is directly proportional to the quality of your promotional ideas
  • If you start with 10,000 “fans” and have an idea that nets .8 new people per generation, eventually, your idea dies out (yellow line)
  • If you start with 100 people (99% less!) and the idea is twice as good (1.5 net pass along), it doesn’t take long before you overtake the other plan (green line)
  • If you start with 100 people and the idea is just slightly better (1.7 net pass along), it can really take off (purple line)

Seth’s bottom line on all this is slightly different than mine, but they’re both relevant:

  1. Seth’s Bottom Line: The better the idea, the more viral. The more viral, the greater the success.
  2. Jamie’s Bottom Line: The better the follower, the more engaged they are with your brand. The more engaged they are, the more likely they are to pass along your content.

They both highlight an important lesson about social media — that wracking up a bunch of “faux” followers only results in this decade’s version of SPAM. It’s useless. A better alternative is to build genuine followers more deliberately. In the end, you’ll have an engaged audience who will be more than happy to pass your social media promotion along to others.

Make sense? What are your thoughts? What’s your point-of-view on all this?

Please share your thoughts and add your questions to the comments below. I’ll try to provide as many answers as possible in my future online videos, seminars, workshops, masterclasses and blog posts.

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