Grow Your Influence, Not Follower Count: One of Social Media's Dangerous Misconceptions

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From the infamous skinny fit teas to the countless questionable claims made on social media. We all know someone – or have been that “someone” – who has tried to back something or someone up because of their follower count.

Throughout the years, we’ve been trained to think in follower counts. We attach it to ourselves and to others like a price tag. The higher the count, the more valuable and knowledgable we must be. Social media platforms are constructed with human psychology in mind. Every like, every follow sends dopamine racing to our brains. An addictive rush of satisfaction and sense of reward fills us.

But such a superficial unit of measurement is empty. With thousands of sites where accounts can purchase engagement and millions of pages who, quite frankly, just post stupid shit – follower count is not an indicator of substance or genuine influence.

What to do if you’ve been annoyed, feeling defeated, or like you don’t even want to try

You can either complain about the way things are and how much simpler it was in another time OR You can ignore the noise, adapt, and play the game the right way. Your choice. It doesn’t cut it anymore to just have the more traditional bases covered from website to business cards. If you want to be heard and be relevant, social media is no longer an option - it’s a must.

Don’t be discouraged by the higher follower counts. It’s your influence that truly matters and you can have quite the powerful influence with as little as 300 followers. Where most brands tend to go wrong is as follows:

  • Not even bothering to try social media for whatever reason

  • Always pitching but never truly being social on social media by providing value and/or entertainment

  • Giving it a shot for a week or a month to see what happens but ditching it when they don’t become social celebrity in that timeframe

  • Buying their engagement, following, or automating their interactions due to their impatience to match that high follower count at whatever cost

Change your strategic thinking from short-term to long-term in order to start understanding and allowing yourself to see the value of nurturing relationships. When you’re on social media, it’s never about you. People are selfish and only care about what you and/or your business can do for them. There’s a massive difference between sharing what you THINK people want and sharing what you KNOW people want because you’ve done the market research (talking to people).

As a major introvert myself, I know how scary it can be to put yourself out there. But don’t let anything stop you from trying. The worst thing you can do, personally and professionally, is to close yourself off from growth because of a mind that prefers to limit you rather than embrace the challenge.

Let’s get social!