Everybody involved in social media in any way has probably done it. You know what I mean. Sneaking a peek at your rankings on Hubspot, analyzing your “reach” or counting the number of followers, friends and connections in an effort to validate the amount of time you spend on social media sites–either to yourself or perhaps, your boss.
Here’s the thing. It’s not the numbers that matter. What matters is whether or not you are communicating, creating real relationships and making a difference in some way in the lives of the people you touch. Are you the go-to girl on your area of expertise? Do you brighten someone’s day or teach them something new? Do you help other people spread the word about what they do or who they are as a person?
This post by Kyle Flaherty really struck a chord with me. As a professional social media person (and author–have I mentioned the book yet?) people seem to need to measure up as soon as they find out what I do. They go on and on about how many followers they have and their strategies for gaining more. Rarely do they tell the stories I want to hear. How are you using social media to really connect? Has it helped your business? Have you got an interesting story? Who ARE you?
Honestly when I start hearing the bragging I never actually ask that person much about themselves and that’s a shame. There may be a real person under that strutting, but frankly I don’t have the patience to extract it.
Recently I had a chat with a well known blogger who regularly looked up users in an influence monitoring software to decide if particular users are “worth re-tweeting”, meaning that if they didn’t have enough influence in the network engaging them would be wasted effort. This kind of thinking really bugs me. Sure, it’s a way to expand your own influence and reach more people with your posts, but having a smaller following doesn’t invalidate one’s contribution to the conversation does it?
I confess I do know my rankings on most of the major stats engines, and these ratings are beginning to have a little more validity as they mature. TechCrunch just did a post on the new iteration of Klout that allows you to see more than just stats on how many friends, re-tweets etc you have. Klout will let you see which influencers are having a conversation about a particular topic. Now that’s valuable.
As these data slice and dice sites improve we should be able to get more information that will actually help find the conversations to want to engage in. What are your favorite tools for researching topics/ Share them in the comments, I’m always looking for new ways to find those conversations.