Social Media Matters: Measuring a Company’s Worth

By on April 29, 2011

We read an exciting blog post the other day by Heather Rast (Insights and Ingenuity Blog), that really made us stop and take stock of the real reason why we love social media, and the nastier trends that it’s promoting in the business world. A lot is said about how wonderful social media is, and let’s be honest – it’s pretty awesome. But nothing this good, comes without the bad.

social media race

Courtesy of progressivereadingseries.org

Heather reminded us that people are beginning to judge businesses based on the success of their social media campaigns – or more to the point, how many ‘followers’ or ‘fans’ they have. Since the beginning of the social media wave, it’s been remarkably easy to build a following if you’re already a ‘somebody’ in the world. For everyone else, it’s an uphill battle.

That’s why celebrities, politicians and top businessmen have such enormous followings. People want to hear what they have to say, and feel close to them. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow them to do this. But they shouldn’t be used as the benchmark for other businesses. And we believe this is where most businesses go horribly wrong in their campaigns.

They are on a desperate search for more people – fans, followers, anyone who will make the commitment and say, “yes I like your business.” But at its heart, this is a shallow system. Heather explains that it’s impossible to measure good relationships on social media, and we agree. Social media is not about numbers, metrics and data, it’s about connecting with people, really getting to know them.

Your social media campaign is NOT about the size of your community. It’s about the time you spend nurturing that community, whether it’s for 30 people, or 3 million.

#1: Go The Extra Mile

The basic system of social media has turned many businesses into approval fiends, giving to their community only so that they can get something in return. A good review, a testimonial, a tweet, a post, a link – it all spirals out of control. What will really make your business stand the test of time, is giving unconditionally.

Give your time, your efforts, your talent to genuinely help your community. Go the extra mile for them, even if they’ve never bought a single thing from you.

#2: Build Stronger Relationships With Meaning

Instead of logging into Twitter to keep a conversation going, just because it’s going to make your company look like it interacts – actually interact. This means transcending platforms, and treating people like they matter to your business. And they should matter, after all, without them you wouldn’t have any success as a business.

While people will judge your business based on its outward social media profile, it’s once they get to know you that should really make the difference. These measuring sticks, as Heather calls them, do deserve to be broken. What has the size or popularity of your businesses community got to do with the way you do business?

Take some time to remember what really matters, when you’re nurturing your social media community. If your competitor has 8000 fans, and you only have 80 – it’s not the end of the world.

Have the best possible relationship with those 80 people, and you’ve been successful. Don’t get bogged down with the measuring sticks of the world. They don’t dictate what your business does, or what it will become. Social media is NOT a competition.

Read Heather’s Post Here.

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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