Quit Following Me!

Friends for many years...
Karma, Sharon, Kathy, & Debbie

People who are connected on Twitter.com are termed “followers” and “following” each other. Inexperienced marketers often use the number of “followers” as a key performance indicator (KPI), but I disagree that this metric should be a measure of social media success. Social media success should be based on the engagement of your network. The following quote by Albert Camus, French author and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, describes the way I try to develop my relationships on social media:

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

Somehow, in less than four months I’ve managed to gather more than 700 Twitter followers. In a bit more time than that I’ve also got more than 200 Facebook friends and almost 300 LinkedIn contacts. I’m grateful, but I’d rather have 7 Tweeps that I can have an actual conversation with than 700 people who never respond to my Tweets. Maybe it’s the term that Twitter uses for connections – “followers” implies to me that they are going to go where I lead, but in the new world of social media we’re all starting out on the same footing so I’m looking for someone to share ideas with not to follow my lead. Karma, Debbie, Kathy, and I have been friends since elementary school. I know I can pick up the phone, send an email or instant message, or see them in person and they will join me in conversation. No one leads, no one follows, everyone contributes. That’s what I want from social media.

Do you want to gather followers in a race to see who can get the highest quantity without worrying about quality?  How do you determine social media success?  I like to use the KPI’s presented in Eric T. Peterson’s Twitalyzer – influence, signal, generosity, velocity, and clout. What tools do you use for social media measurement?  Please leave a comment below to let me know and join the conversation!