As we are nearing the end of Social Media Week, this hectic time of networking, information sharing and panel attending shows us how powerful tools like Facebook and Twitter can be to bring people together to spread knowledge and meet fellow cybernauts. It is when we have these occasions that we learn the true power of our Twitter followers and Facebook friends.
Each of us gain and lose new followers on Twitter daily. They are promoting the latest video game, pimping their get rich quick scheme, and finding you because you appeared in search because you happened to tweet that you liked bacon. These followers are worthless because they aren’t reading what you write, they won’t interact with you, and they won’t enrich your Twitter stream. They will create one way transmissions that do nothing more than add noise to the signal of your real followers.
A real follower listens, pays attention and has interest in what you have to say. I’ve been watching links from different users and noticed that when a person tweets a link, there is only a limited number of clicks. Based on my own numbers, using twitpic as an example, I know that if I take a picture, I can expect to see a 3 to 6% click thru rate on it. If the picture is especially interesting to people, I can see as much as a 10% click thru rate. Of course there are always variables that can affect these numbers, like time of day and retweets (other people on twitter sharing the posted link), but it gives one the ability to gauge how attentive and interested his or her followers are.
The true way to get a feel for how people are viewing a person online is when the social part of social media comes to the forefront. With all the panels and networking events at Social Media Week, it is a chance to come face to face with Twitter friends for the first time or to catch up in person with those people whose avatars have become more familiar than their faces in recent times. As we see each other each night, we know what the other people have been up to recently – or as recently as earlier that day – and initiates conversations easily with people, even those you have only met that week.
Even as I met new people this week, we exchanged business cards – most of which had Twitter handles on them. As we begin following each other on Twitter, we exchange pleasantries and from there the relationships grow and continue. As we see each other during the week, it gives us a connection to be able to quickly connect with the person, remember who they are, and continue the conversations as the week progresses and beyond.
The most important part of Social Media is the social part. It’s the people you interact with and having real people to talk to. The media is just the medium that carries the conversation. It’s the people that matter. As you interact with your core followers, the people who really pay attention to what you say, and slowly grow that number out through true interaction, the value of your followers truly grows. The true value of your social media isn’t the number of followers, but the number of interactions.