As businesses cotton onto the benefits of social media to boost their online authority, they also start matching themselves up against their competitors to see who's pulling out the big guns on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. We all appreciate that social media is still young and we're learning about the intricacies involved with every day, but for the less informed it seems like it's nothing but a glorified popularity contest that is measured by Likes and the number of followers.
What's in a Like?
There's a lot to be said for the "Like". To some it's the holy grail of social media rewards, to others; it's nothing but a small indication of fellowship. While it's a method of conveying appreciation for a brand, business or post, it's also not the ideal measure of online clout - or Klout in social media terms. It doesn't offer a clear depiction of the amount of user engagement your page has, which is a far more accurate measure of your social media success. The same applies for Twitter followers. It seems that too much stock is placed in the actual number of followers and not so much in the actual active following that takes place within the profile. This is inclusive of reading, re-tweeting, replying, quoting etc.
Emphasizing on the Wrong Areas
Social media standings have become a game of comparisons - "my page has more Likes than your page" - and businesses are furiously trying to match up to their counterparts, even if it means buying their way to the top. It's a sad state of affairs, but there will always be those who want the quick fixes and aren't willing to put in the time required to make it happen. A sound social media standing is not something that will happen overnight, but you can buy yourself to the top of the Likes or followers standings - that is if you go to the right vendor.
There are businesses that make their livings from promising genuine Likes or followers to social media accounts. There are businesses that actively enlist the services of these establishments to "boost" their social media status. But what are they actually gaining? Sure, they might be 1,000 Likes richer in the morning, but do the people behind those Likes exist? And if they do, do they care what the content of the page holds? Will they engage with the business? Will they share the content therein? Or will they not even pay it another thought?
If you forget about the Likes and followers for a second and focus on creating a solid social media strategy instead, you might find that you place more emphasis on user engagement - which is the basket you want to place the majority of your eggs in. A hollow number of Likes or followers is just a façade that holds no value at the end of the day. It just makes you appear to know your stuff to those who are actually none the wiser. It's hard work, but the emphasis should be placed on how people interact with your social media accounts. Getting people involved in what you have to say and share is what businesses should be aiming for, it is "social" media after all.