Why Numbers Alone Don’t Matter

Everyone is caught up in numbers and metrics. Some metrics are dead on and others wecan do without. Two such metrics people tend to get caught up in revolve around thenumber of friends/followers and the number of tweets.

Why are these numbers not as relevant as you may think them to be?


Don't Cross the Streams!


Number of Facebook Friends or Twitter Followers

Having a large following is a nice topic to throw around in a conversation, but does itreally help you? Many celebrities, pseudo-celebrities, industry experts, authors, and manyothers have a pretty strong follower count which helps from a message push or listeningperspective. Now, look at how many people they follow and see if you are valued in theirnetwork.

Probably not.

It is great for them to push out their information and hope you will share with yournetwork as well. Good for them. Not so great for you.

This is in no means a recommendation to follow everyone who follows you. But withall the “social media experts” talking about engagement, do they really engage or justengage when spoken to? Think about the last time someone with a high friend/followercount interacted with you off of one of your messages without you mentioning orreferencing that person.


Number of Tweets

The number of times you tweet should not mean a thing? Why you are probably asking.

Well, as Twitter is an unbelievable tool for conversations, learning, listening, sharing andnetworking, it also is a great tool for connecting with apparently every other social mediatool created.

You may connect Twitter with LinkedIn, Facebook, Foursquare (and other location-basedservices), Tumblr, MySpace, blogs, etc. etc. etc.

The more networks you are connected to, the more potential of redundant message beingposted, of locations being shared, of somewhat meaningless data.

Should I be able to read all of your tweets on LinkedIn or Facebook? You could argue oneither side of this and make effective cases. What I am saying is that it is some of thesemessages are redundant, auto generated and used to somewhat spam all of your socialnetworking channels.

When I view my Twitter stream, I don’t care to see all of the Foursquare check-in’s. Iknow I am not alone here but I also realize plenty of others share the opposite feeling.

But in strictly looking at Foursquare and Twitter, it is conceivable that half of your tweetsare Foursquare check-ins. That alone artificially inflates your tweets to show how active aTwitter user you are.

Other people/accounts use messageing services that auto tweet for them and possiblyrepost the same message multiple times per day (full disclosure: yes, I sometimes do thisfor my blog posts… but not every day and for everything I read).


In closing, numbers really don’t mean everything if value isn’t there. Isnt’ that why ROIis always an interesting discussion point!

BREAKING NEWS: Social Media Is More Than You Think It Is

Yes, social media is about sharing ideas.  Yes, social media is about networking.  Yes, social media is about branding. And yes, social media is about telling your friends/followers what you are doing.  But it really is so much more than that.

 My definition of social media: it is what you make it. checklist2

If you want it to be about telling people what you are doing or where you are going that is fine (but these people are missing something powerful).  If you want to recycle (retweet) articles or comments from others, excellent.  If you want to strive to be a “trust agent” and produce your own unique content and build a stronger friend/follower base and provide insight on your own particular niche, awesome!  If you want to take conversations offline and connect with others then you are really utilizing social media in a powerful way.


 There is still resistance to social media either from spouses, significant others, your employer because they don’t fully understand why you are doing it and what is the impact.


 Social media is not going to provide an immediate ROI, it is a tool where you need to build trust with your friends/followers as you engage with them on any number of countless topics.  If you want to use it more for your business or professional growth, you still need to keep a “human” factor alive in your communication.


We can smell the bots out there and many choose not to follow them, yet some still do.  As the saying goes, to each their own.


My first recommendation or action plan to everyone who is struggling on how they want to create either a business or personal social media strategy: make a plan.  Understand what you want to accomplish and how will you utilize any number of social media tools to achieve that goal.  This is not an overnight process and takes effort, time and consistency.  Above all, be yourself.


But whatever you think it is, it really is so much more because it is something different to each of us and used uniquely just the same.  Remember that your audience is everyone so do it your way… but be respectful.

Recruitment Social Media ROI

ROI has been defined in certain social media circles as:

  • Return on Investment
  • Risk of Ignoring

While both of these are right on, most companies and “experts” are having difficulty trying to identify exactly how to measure the ROI of social media.  My response is that it depends on each company, business, person and industry.

Potential metrics to consider based upon each particular social media site:

  • Number of followers
  • Number of fans
  • Number of retweets
  • Number of group members
  • Number of direct messages
  • Number of mentions
  • Number of hashtags (#) – are you trending
  • Comment activity on blogs

In social media, this is more subjective than not.  For example, number of followers or number of fans does not mean that they necessarily read everything you put forward.  Maybe a person chooses to follow you and then moves on.  Maybe a “bot” follows you, doesn’t mean that account is a targeted account.  Quality is key and it is difficult to maintain and track.

For recruiting, the ability to track how and were applicants came from by tracking how/where they clicked a particular link.

In order for social media to really be effective in recruiting, it is all about the people.  Is your recruiting team active?  Are the recruiters driving conversation?  Are recruiters attracting and finding talent?  These are areas that each recruiter may track in the ATS system but also to determine what sites are used by those in that particular job field.

From the book Groundswell, use the POST method (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology).  By following these areas, each company/person may best define ROI based upon the demographics of their job audience.

How are you setting up metrics in social media?  Are you setting up metrics?