There’s an up and coming trend I’m seeing in the socialsphere that is reminiscent of my early days in the web design and SEO community where reciprocal linking was all the rage. Today I am noticing a new age of online reciprocation in the form of social reciprocation, where users post on forum threads, and communities a simply message, “Like” me and I’ll “Like” you back.
Where’s The Value?
I’ve been fairly open in the past about the fact that I don’t “Like” or “Follow” anyone unless I feel they are going to add some value to my online experience. This applies not only to the general public, but even clients. If their product or business doesn’t have anything of use to me, I won’t include them in my social networks. So when I see people asking random members of a community to follow them in return for a follow, I have to ask, “Where’s the value?”
Sure you’ll add another tally to your total number of friends, followers, or fans, but does it really matter? Will they engage you? Will they share your brand or information? Will they add to your overall online influence? Probably not. But hey, at least you have 101 followers now right?
Social Media Is Not A Numbers Game
Unlike the mass reciprocal linking schemes carried out in the SEO days of yore, inflating your numbers isn’t going to do you much good. To truly have an impact and strengthen your reach, the people you are connected to have to actually care about what you have to say. Don’t believe me? Take a look at all the Twitter follower notices you get tomorrow. How many of them are spam, snake oil salesmen, and the like? If you followed them all back, which they are hoping you will, would you really retweet or spread their message? It’s doubtful. So why noisy up your already noisy social timelines with one more person you don’t really care about.
If You Build It, They Will Come
Social media strategies take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are most major social media campaigns. Unless you are a company like Starbucks, it is going to take some time to really build up a following and gain maximum social media reach. Fine tune your social media strategy, embrace the followers you do have, and share something of value. In the end your numbers will gradually increase on their own; not because you exchanged profiles with someone, but because you offered something of value to your community.