Yesterday in the Twitter chat #hootchat (which is Thursdays from 2-3PM CST) we got into a discussion about metrics and ROI and all that good stuff. It’s a pretty common topic as people try to justify their business activity on social media. While I believe just about everything needs to wind it’s way to the ROI, I also believe not every metric and number you find is useful. There are a lot of stats that are easy to gather that just aren’t that meaningful. For example, likes, followers and retweets on Twitter. Maybe they have a bit of meaning. And they sure make you feel good. But in the end, wouldn’t it be better to have 100 super fans who love to interact with you, than a million you have no connection with?
Yesterday I got a Tweet from a friend of mine I’ve made through lots of discussions on Twitter,
What? I haven’t conversed with @joshmccormack today? What gives?
— Ken Gordon (@quickmuse) March 18, 2016
I don’t think his life was seriously out of whack from not talking with me, but it feels good when someone notices they haven’t talked with you. It’s a relationship that has meaning. We can ask favors of each other and we’re happy to help each other out.
Do Tweets like these equate to more sales or leads to sales or something like that? Not precisely. Not exactly. But they’re indicative that you’re building deep relationships on social media, not a phone book of people you have no true connection with. Relationships are everything. They trump price and features. People will come to you even when competitors seem to offer more for less.
This doesn’t work every time, and you still need to prove you can do what you’re offering to do, but you have a huge edge if there’s a relationship. The benefits to your business are there for you, and if you don’t succeed, it’s really because you’re failing to assure prospective clients. In other words, it’s your work to lose. Relationships mean you can be judged by more than numbers. Even if you’ve done a great job at explaining to everyone who matters why follower count, likes and retweets are not meaningful metrics on their own, you’ll still be judged by them. People still assume there’s a correlation between influence and follower count. If you’re going to be judged by management or potential or existing clients based on numbers, it’s great to have connections that show how relationships transcend those numbers.
Look at this video of Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton. He knows how to make devoted fans. People will love him even if his numbers aren’t as good as someone else’s. In a stats soaked field like baseball, relationship building like this is super important. Keep this in mind when you’re wracking up likes, shares, RTs and followers. The important thing is Relationships. And if your boss or client doesn’t get that, things like this will convince them.