How many Facebook friends do you have? How about followers on Twitter? Since the earliest social networks, like MySpace, the number of friends you have on your profile has been a widely pursued figure. It is commonly seen by individuals and brands to be the proof of social media success. I have often found myself slipping into that mindset with the pages I manage. But is a simple number really a true reflection of the relationships you have and your influence on them?

In a lot of ways using social media is like standing in a massive crowd at a concert. You share similar interests and all yell out song lyrics. Though you would not consider those thousands of people your friends. Facebook has redefined the term friend and called it just that. All it takes is having a similar interest, showing up online & then clicking a button. You are now friends and have the capacity to get a whole lot more of them. We in our strong desire for belonging and connection eat this up. Though they are often not true friendships. Your true friends at that concert would be the ones you went to the concert with and were standing right next to. They would also be the ones that would hang out with you the next day and share stories of the amazing night before.

Now translate that into influence. Still to this day a friend referral is widely regarded as the biggest factor in a persons decision to purchase. We care what our friends think and like. Simply put, we care about their opinion. You couldn’t say that about the person 6 rows behind you at the concert. If your job is to grow a brands influence on social media this needs to matter. Having 1,000 followers that are mostly spam accounts or other brands will never help you succeed. It is better to have 100 followers who actually care about you and your content. People with whom you have real relationship with and can actually influence.

I am trying my best to bring this principle into this site and my social media presence. I do not want to put the effort into writing posts like this and have a bunch of random people maybe click a Like button but never read it. I would rather my current 7 email subscribers read it and get something out of it. Did you? 🙂