Following Others In Social Media As A Growth Strategy… Let’s Talk
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 13, 2012
I’d actually like this one to open up into a discussion of some sort because I’m wondering if someone can convince me that I might be wrong. Yeah, it’ll be hard to do I know, but if someone has other ways of thinking about it that make sense, I’m open to hearing it.
About six weeks ago I wrote a post titled What Will You Do For More Followers, and I added a video to the mix. First, although I ended up getting probably the appropriate number of comments to views of the video, it’s only been viewed 22 times; come on people, I ain’t making these things because of my good looks! lol Go ahead, watch the video; I know it’s 10 minutes long so watch at least some of it, okay? Don’t make me beg.
Anyway, on Sherryl Petty’s blog Keep Up With The Web, she had a guest post almost a month ago where the writer’s topic was How To Grow Your Google+ Followers. One of his recommendations stirred something in me, which happens often. It was to follow people at random and try to follow people in your niche.
Me being me, I commented, and since I wrote it I’m going to quote a small part of it here:
I always end up asking myself this question whenever someone makes it a point in an article and now I’m going to ask you this… what’s the deal with following people in one’s niche? I mean, I know the expectation is that if you do this those people will get to know you and you’ll make connections with those people.
However, experiments have proven that most of the time people in your niche don’t want to connect with you because they’re worried you’ll take potential customers away from them. In the area of leadership, which I write a lot about on one of my blogs, I’ve found only one person who seems to not be threatened by my visiting his blog, as he visits mine often as well. The others… well, half the time they won’t even approve the comments, and other times they never respond, and don’t ever visit my blog.
Of course some of you remember my post talking about commenting on similarly niched blogs and how it seems to be a failed concept. However, this is something a bit different. The question here is in growing one’s connections on Google+, and you might as well add Twitter to this conversation because it’s almost the same recommendation I’ve seen on other blogs.
Here’s the question. How do you feel about following a lot of people with the intention of trying to get more people to follow you? Here’s my take on it, just to establish a baseline.
I think when you first get to a place such as G+ or Twitter, the first thing you do is look for people you already know that are there. That will help you at least get established to some degree. What I did after that when I first got on Twitter was see who they were connected to and if I knew any of those people, I followed them as well. It wasn’t until much later when I started following some people who were talking about things I was interested in, but I still can’t say 4 years later that I’ve gone out of my way to find people in any of my niches, if you will, that I follow, or went looking to follow.
When I got to G+ it was pretty much the same thing. I went looking for people I already knew first, which I knew a lot more people in 2011 than I did before, and few of them were local. Then things started to take off, but it was mainly people following me and my connecting with them later on. And the only niche, if you will, that I really have is that many of the people I’m connected with are bloggers. That’s it; they aren’t even mainly people in my fields of expertise, but bloggers in general.
So I have people I’m connected with, but the numbers are relatively small. As I received a request to connect with someone a few days ago on Twitter that is in one of my niches, someone with 75% fewer tweets than me but is following and has followers around 25,000, it got me wondering if, as I wondered before, are my social media standards too strict for what I’m trying to do? Yes, personally I’m very comfortable with doing things my way, but does business suffer in some fashion because I’m not “everywhere” for “everyone”?
And there’s the conundrum, and thus why I throw the question out there. I know some of you have fewer connections than I do, but some of you have way more as well. Hopefully this will be an interesting discussion, and I ask you to see what others have to say on this topic as well when you come to comment (I know you’re coming lol). I’m really interested in knowing your thoughts; someone go get Marcus Sheridan and tell him to get into this discussion as well (heck, while you’re at it, go get Chris Brogan, as I bet he’ll offer some great perspective also).