“Stop Counting Followers—You’re Wasting Your Time” was originally posted by hint Founder & CEO, Kara Goldin, on LinkedIn here:
These days, building a brand is inseparable from social media. I’ve watched companies like Zappos, BarkBox, and even the board game Cranium hone in on their demographic and build a sizable social media audience with clever marketing strategies. As a result, they have an impressive number of followers they’re able to reach on a daily basis. My take on that? If it translates into sales—more power to ‘em!
The question is whether or not it does. I watched a great video by Gary Vaynerchuk recently, where he talks about the trap of counting “friends” and “followers” as a measure of success. We live in a time when those high numbers create an aura of accomplishment for a person or business; the assumption is that lots of followers means lots of revenue. But the truth is that that’s not necessarily the case. Counting followers can add up to a lot of wasted energy… and not much else. Here’s why…
Can’t Buy Me Love—Can Buy Me Followers
This happens all the time. Companies will often buy followers—by the thousands—in an effort to portray that aura of success. These are the empty calories of social media—they do nothing for your business. They’re not customers who bring in revenue, and they’re not going to get you customers who bring in revenue. A loyal customer base is the result of an awesome product, among other things—not faux followers on your social media accounts.
This isn’t to say that any business or public figure with millions of followers has bought them—that’s certainly not the case. But you can’t know from looking at those numbers that each of them represents an invested customer helping to strengthen the company. Bought followers are there to make a company appear popular, and that’s it. Invest that money in actual customers, and you’re making a far wiser investment.
Are You Spending Quality Time With Your Followers?
The thing is, followers who actually represent your customer base are invaluable, and that’s because while boasting those high numbers is one thing—engaging them is another. At Hint, we have an ongoing conversation with our social media audience—and that dialogue has helped us understand our demographic in a whole new way. For example, do they drink Hint in the morning? During a workout or a hike? Are we helping them with a health-related issue? If so, what is it? The answers to these questions make us smarter in every area of our business—from marketing to brand collaborations. By actively interacting with our followers, we get to know the lives of our customers and understand their relationship to our product in ways that have a viable impact on our strategies. For my money, five hundred followers who have a dynamic involvement with Hint are far more valuable in the long run than 10,000 followers who are just numbers on a page.
Real Followers, Real Results
The policy of our social media team is to keep the communication lines open so that we aren’t doing all the talking—we want to hear from our followers and apply the information they give us to the fortification of our brand. How? The two-way street interfacing we’ve established on our social networks open an opportunity for content development. For example, a lot of our followers have told us that they’re drinking Hint because they’re pregnant or because it’s helping them lose weight. Now they want to know—what else should I be eating to keep the pounds off? What are some other health tips for expecting moms? When we create content for our blog or any of our social media outlets, we already know where our customers’ interests lie and are able to tap into them. This doesn’t just build our customer base, it allows us to go beyond the limits of a beverage company and market ourselves as a lifestyle brand with a focus on health—and no amount of faux followers could ever bring us that.
Kara Goldin is Founder and CEO of Hint Water, the fastest-growing flavored water in the United States. Kara started Hint when she couldn’t find a healthy water that tasted great without questionable additives like sweeteners. Hint Water has 0 calories, 0 sugar, and 0 diet sweeteners and can be purchased online at www.drinkhint.com in a variety of flavors including Blackberry and Watermelon, in both still and sparkling.