This post takes off of the Quality vs Quantity post from last week but expands on it in a different way…
This may be shocking to some of you and perhaps not to others but I’ll lay it right from the beginning…
Numbers can lie.
But we’re still fascinated by them, aren’t we?
It’s so easy to take the numbers at surface value and THINK just because someone has 100,000 followers on Twitter that they are more influential than someone who has 2,000. Right? You probably do it…, I know I do sometimes… a glance at someone’s profile, see they have X number of followers and immediately our brain ranks their perceived influence (based really on their perceived popularity).
Same goes for Facebook. Same goes for email newsletter subscribers. Same goes for just about anything we can try to quantify based solely on what we perceive by the numbers.
But it’s all perceived.
That’s part of the problem when we try to measure influence simply by numbers. The numbers can be manipulated… quite easily in fact. There are plenty of ways to manufacture a following or to inflate the numbers these days.
True Influence isn’t just something you can measure at a glance. Its more dynamic than that.
I know plenty of people who have a very small presence on Social Media but their ability to create an impact is BIG. And the reverse is true as well… I know many who appear to have influence (because their following is big) but in reality, they can only move a small % to action.
The difference is this: Followers vs Fans
Fans are easy to come by. They aren’t committed believers, their more like casual acquaintances. There’s really no relationship built there yet… they might just like something you said once or have downloaded something and been placed on your list or even followed back out of courtesy.
Followers are something else entirely. They are the people who support you, who champion the cause and who are engaged. They are invested and there is usually some sort of relationship there than causes them to act when you encourage them to do so.
Fans can certainly become followers and that is the goal but the point of this post is this…
Don’t confuse the two.
Fans are not followers.
Just because someone else has what appears to be MORE, it doesn’t always means their influence is greater. Don’t worry about trying to be popular, going wide but seldom deep. Instead, focus on developing relationships and building up those who are engaged. As you do, followers will act and they will help bring in more followers instead of just more fans.
It’s much better to have a 1,000 who you can actually lead than 10,000 who aren’t really listening.