Mythbusters, social media edition: Myth #2 – The more Likes (or Shares) you get, the better


Thanks for your emails and feedback to my last pot.  It was refreshing to chat to people who feel relieved to know they should be spending their time on creating quality, not quantity.  It was also refreshing to chat to a few people who disagreed – and realise the fact that every single one of them was a social media consultant.  Thanks for proving my point, guys and girls …

So now to Myth #2 – another myth to bust and a chance to show your business that there are new ways of looking at social media that will help you improve your chances of success.

Myth #2: The more Likes (or Shares) you get, the better.

The business approach to social media is just an extension of the business approach to web sites that we saw in the 1990s.

I’ve been on the web since the graphic version began and still remember the clarion call of web designers in the 1990s … “what you’re aiming for are thousands of hits”.  Successful web sites were measured by hits – popularity won the day.

Two things here: one, those people who were aiming for hits more often than not didn’t actually know what a hit was.  Two, I was the online editor for a University web site that some weeks achieved millions of hits.

To address point one: hits were a rubbery measurement tool at best.  They didn’t exist in the real world, but they were somehow being used as a gold standard metric as to whether your web site worked.  The varying definitions of a ‘hit’ were hilarious: a person who visits a web site, every time our web page is viewed, every time someone clicks on our page … none of which were true.

To address point two: our web site – with its millions of hits – was unworkable and not achieving anything in the real world.  It had to change, so we changed it; not with a view to making more ‘hits’ appear, but rather to get more foot or email traffic to our key selling points.

That mentality of being popular has extended to social media.  According to most media stories, you’re only successful in social media if you have a million friends.  That’s myth #2.

Here’s the deal though, you can be immensely popular in social media and still go bankrupt.  And the way to both prove that point and bust myth #2 is this: if you think popularity is a business metric, head down to your local bank branch and slap your million Likes on the counter.  Ask them to deposit them for you.  Or try to pay your electricity bill with your Twitter followers.

While you need as big a spread as possible – so therefore you should be trying to grow your community – focussing on the numbers can actually harm your content development.  How?  Well, if you view a community as numbers and not people, you’re almost certain to miss engaging with them. So focus on people as people, not Likers – that will help.

And when you’re considering your Calls to Action, make them a touchpoint with the world.  Ask the question – what will make this reader email me, give me a call, drop in or visit our web site to buy a product online?  Because the answer to that question will help generate money, which IS something you can take to your local bank branch.


If you’d like some help rethinking your Calls to Action to generate responses rather than just popularity, let us know.  We’ll be pleased to speak to you …

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