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Why You Don’t Need A Lot of Social Media Followers


I’ve recently had one of the craziest conversations with a potential client I think I’ll ever have in regards to Facebook marketing. It’s a quintessential example of a client that I was in no position to help and should have backed away from slowly when he started in with his questions: “How do I get 10,000 followers on Facebook fast?” “I want to use Facebook ads to make lots of money. How do I do that?” “I’m not 100% sure what my product is going to be, but there’s probably people on Facebook that will buy it, right?”

This person and Hot Dog Marketing were never going to do business together.

Call me old school, but I still see value in having people (real people) who actually like and care about what you do follow you on social media. Be it 25 people or 5,000 people, the people who care are the people you want to use social media to keep in-touch with.

Yes, you can reach more people with the potential to care through social media advertising, but the goal of using social media should not be about numbers. It should be about engagement.

If you know me, you know I’m a big fan of the writer Malcolm Gladwell. His book The Tipping Point should be mandatory reading for any entrepreneur or marketer. In the The Tipping Point, he coins the term “maven,” and what it means to be a “maven.” A maven is anyone who is “in-the-know.” You probably have several different types of maven friends. Brandon, our creative director, is a beer and food maven for example. He’s the guy I’m going to ask if I need a beer suggestion or restaurant suggestion.

I’d like to consider myself a marketing maven.

In The Tipping Point, Gladwell points out why businesses should care about mavens. His example is funny. He says, ever wonder why companies put a 1-800 number on the back of their soap box? Who is going to call the soap company and ask a question? Why even bother having a hotline? He’ll tell you why . . . It’s a maven trap. Soap mavens are going to call that number. And when they do, that soap company is going to reward them with free samples, coupons, and get them on an mailing list so these soap mavens can be the first to find out about new soap products. And when you have a question or concern about what kind of soap to use, who will you ask for advice? The soap maven you know in your circle of friends.

Businesses need to use social media as a maven trap. It’s only worth having people who really care about what you do follow you because if they’re a maven of any sort, they’re the ones passing on the referrals and sharing your info with their friends. It’s not about the number of followers you have, but the number of mavens you have following you.

I’ll give you an example.

One of clients is Jackson Electrical Services, a local Austin business. They have 89 Facebook page likes. They do no advertising on Facebook. They blog once a month and post a useful tip or funny joke every day on Facebook. Every post, the same fanatical fans of the business like and share their content. At least once a week, one of their posts will reach nearly 300 people.

They don’t necessarily need more Facebook fans. Their current fans do a great job of driving business. If they wanted to accelerate that growth, then they could definitely do some advertising on Facebook to target people just like their best fans, but in the last two years of this steady and consistent tactic, they’re web traffic has quadrupled.

Here’s their site graph showing the number of visitors by month:


It’s time to get back to basics. Think about who your best customers are and how you can help them online. What do you want to give them to reward them for being a fan of your business: Is it great advice? Is something that makes their lives a little easier?

How are you going to cultivate your maven trap?

It sure looks good to have big numbers on social media, but what’s the point if they don’t care about your business.

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