Episode 147: Marketing Myth Busting: Lots of Followers Equal High Engagement

Let me break some bad news to you — you’re not Gary Vaynerchuk. And I’m not either. 

But you know what? A lot of social media celebrity business owners want to treat us like we ARE Gary Vee and they give REALLY BAD advice on how to leverage social media to build your business. 

I mean, have you ever heard any of this advice? 

  • It’s not that hard. Just hire a VA or an intern to post for you.
  • You need to post five or more times a day per platform.
  • You need to be active on every single social network so your audience sees you wherever they are.
  • Save time and use the same strategy and/or same posts on every social media network.
  • You don’t need a social media strategy! Just be your authentic self and post what feels good.
  • Join a “follow for follow” group. 
  • Join a boost group.
  • Pay money to get people to follow and like you.

I’ve heard all that advice and I just can’t even start on how BAD it is for building a credible, long-term business. 

You know what all that bad advice has in common though? 

It’s about tricking your potential audience into seeing you as an influencer with a huge following and nothing but time to post on all the socials.

And anything that starts with the idea that you’re going to trick people is never a good idea. 

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A Ton of Followers Means NOTHING to Your Bottom Line

Seriously. It means NOTHING. 

In fact, I want you to go and check your top two favorite social media channels: Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest or any of the other socials out there. Which are your two top favorites? 

Now, which influencers are you following on those platforms? Which businesses are you following? 

How many times in the past month… three months… six months… twelve months… have you actually purchased something from one of those businesses or influencers? 

If you’re anything like me, you follow a lot of people just to stay in the know, but not necessarily to buy. 

Guess what? Our audiences are like that too. 

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be on social media, but it IS to reinforce the fact that a big following really doesn’t mean anything at all for sales and profit. 

Instead of trying to hack and trick our way into looking ‘big and impressive’, what if we took a smaller, more intimate approach? 

Tricks and Hacks Aren’t Worth Your Time

A couple years ago, I was doing Facebook and Instagram ads for a big influencer for about nine months before her launch. 

As we met for our first strategy session, she confessed something to me. She said: 

“Michelle, we can’t target anyone who follows my business page because last year I panicked about my slow social media audience growth numbers. I ended up buying over 50,000 likes + followers for Facebook and Instagram on Fiverr. I think they’re mostly bots and scammers… it’s so embarrassing.”  

Another client of mine who I’ve worked with for the last three years confessed that she had joined a like-for-like/comment-for-comment Facebook Group. 

She paid over $500 a month to be a part of this group where they spend a couple hours a day liking, commenting and sharing each other’s content on Facebook and commenting/loving content on Instagram. 

As a result, she’d grown her social media following to over 72,000 BUT these weren’t people targeted to her business. They were literally just people who liked memes, GIFs and uplifting quotes. 

Why am I telling you this? 

I’ve seen a LOT of people with big social media followings who look amazing from the outside. You look at their numbers and think dang, they’re a BIG DEAL! But the truth is often more nuanced than that.

In fact, when I first started doing Facebook Ads myself seven years ago the big thing was to advertise for page likes. I can’t even believe that I did that — what a waste of time and money! 

But I did. And it worked. Kind of. 

The problem with all these hacks and tricks is that we end up attracting people who see a funny post or an uplifting post but have zero intention of ever engaging with you as a business. 

For the last few years, I’ve been super deliberate in my social media to eliminate the hype, tricks and hacks. 

Instead, I focus my efforts on talking to the people who want, need and appreciate what my business can offer. 

You know what I found? I found that I need FAR fewer people who are real, true fans. Who actually WANT to engage and BUY from me because what I offer fits what they need. 

Find Your True Fans

Have you ever seen the Kevin Kelly article about creating 1,000 true fans

The premise is simple. You don’t have to be famous to be successful. You don’t need 10s of thousands or 100s of thousands of followers. Instead, it makes a lot more sense to at least start off by building an audience of 1,000 true fans. 

Kelly defines a true fan as someone who will buy most if not all of what you offer. They’re the ones really paying attention to what you offer and getting value. 

When the author, Kelly, wrote this he was specifically talking about creators,  people like artists, musicians, photographers, performers and so on. Essentially, anyone producing works of art. He said these creators only needed 1000 true fans to make a great living. 

You know what I found? I need even less than that because of the nature of what I do.

Think about it — someone who writes a book may keep four dollars or less of the book sales price. So yeah, they need 1000 true fans to buy their latest creation. 

The problem with that is those fans buy the book — or whatever was created — once, then they have to wait for the next thing to come out. 

But for me — and probably you — what I sell is significantly more than four dollars AND my clients get value for months, if not years, from engaging with me. 

What I discovered is that if I have around 100 true fans, I’ve got more than enough business coming in to reach my sales goals. 

That’s why when I see online business celebrities pushing this narrative that you’ve got to build up your social media, spend a ton of time and energy creating content and have audiences in the 10s or 100s of thousands… I just sit back and smile. 

Thank goodness my business model doesn’t require that much wasted energy. I can focus my efforts on 50 to 100 people and have more business than I can handle pretty quickly. 

How about you? Do you really need so many social media followers? How many clients or customers can you really handle? 

Don’t get fooled by the social media noise. Engage with your audience, build your business and enjoy all that time you’re NOT wasting by trying to be Gary Vee.  

Create Profit Without Worry – one system at a time. I’ll show you how to attract a steady flow of buyers without all the hustle with this free download →  5 Steps To Profit Without Worry.

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