Featured on Linkedin. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/likes-followers-social-media-does-really-matter-mary-grace-nguyen

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The number of likes and followers you make on social media may make you seem popular, but does that really mean you’re getting genuine likes and authentic followers? I had a eureka moment this morning when I managed to find a couple of unfollow apps. I learnt a few insightful things about my Twitter and Instagram followers.

I have been cultivating my Instagram (@nguyenuk11) account for a year now and have invested almost four years on my Twitter (@marygnguyen) account. As I cleaned through my ‘following’ lists, I realised that many of them:

a)  don’t follow me,

b)  are bots and are not managed by people,

c)  hardly interact with me,

d)  don’t spread content related to my interests, usually because they are spam, or

e)  are redundant accounts, or were shut down by social media.

It was a relief to purge my lists. I now follow only 50% of my original users. I feel more at peace knowing that my Twitter and Instagram feeds are customised to the people and organisations that share similar interests with me. That is information which I’ll want to share with my followers.

Social Media is still a relatively new form of marketing, and in the last decade it has rapidly advanced to the point that almost every organisation is encouraged to utilise it for their corporate branding.

In order to use social media correctly, you have to share content that your followers, or in business terms your ‘audience’, will consume and want to get excited about. It has to make them want to click on your video, buy your product or read your website. You have to truly care about what your followers want to make that happen. This is the key method of retaining loyal followers who will continue to like and share your content.

When you see people with 20,000 followers on Twitter who are following 21,000 followers, do you think these follower metrics are significant? Is it even humanly possible to interact with that many people on a regular basis? Absolutely not, is your answer.

Don’t get me wrong, numbers matter for certain analytics like tracking your web traffic, your conversion rates, clicks and Amazon rating. These are helpful indicators of how well your product is selling through social media, but don’t become obsessed with the numbers or else you’ll forget the ‘social’ aspect of social media.

Just ask yourself this question: would you walk into a crowded room hoping to make friends through a few brief interactions for instant gratification or with the intention to build strong and worthwhile relationships? I’d opt for enriching and deep connections where I can learn new things and open myself up to new opportunities and collaborations. That also includes sticking to your existing pool of followers you already know and nurturing those relationships. After all, relationships are like a seed in a pot. You have to give it water and light to let it grow and blossom.

Long-term relationships are just the same. Neglect and forget to look after what your followers and audience seek, and soon enough you’ll lose their interest. I’ll tell you that I’ve made many important connections, friends and colleagues through my hobby as a blogger.

I’ve managed to be a panel speaker for a couple of conferences and received opportunities for paid work through social media. More importantly, social media has increased my interest in opera and theatre, and made it an enjoyable medium to interact with new people. By knowing people with similar interests as me, who read, write, blog and see the same shows and operas as I do, I have managed to develop my passions, be it opera, theatre, blogging or posting images on Instagram, organically.

Living in a large city like London, it’s hard to find people with such niche interests, but social media has made it easier for people to get together. Use social media to nurture your passion and your community. See through the fake followers, pretenders and bots, and pay attention to the followers who are here to stay.

Follow me on Instagram here and on Twitter here.

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