The proliferation of social media websites has changed the sales world, for better or for worse. In many ways it’s great, because we have the opportunity to connect with so many more people than we used to. Unfortunately, too many people fall into the “numbers” trap, concerning themselves with such things as:

  • How many Twitter followers can I get?
  • How many people can I connect with on LinkedIn?
  • How many “likes” does my Facebook page have?
  • How many views do I have on my YouTube channel?
  • How many re-tweets do my blog posts get?
  • How many comments do my blog posts generate?

Some people collect followers (and numbers) and display them like trophies, and I have to admit, I too have been seduced by these metrics from time to time.

Size doesn’t matter. Many people who sell a product or service mistakenly believe that the larger their network, the more successful they will be. You can have tens of thousands of followers on Twitter or be connected to hundreds (or thousands) of people on LinkedIn. But those numbers don’t necessarily translate into sales. Just because you have a large network doesn’t mean you will achieve your sales goals.

A friend of mine has a substantial number of followers on Twitter. But he recently admitted that he works the system in order to attract these followers. His efforts have not resulted in an increase in sales, and he doesn’t believe Twitter is an effective way to generate sales leads.

I know many people who use services to attract new followers, inflate their numbers and expand their network. The problem is that their followers are not necessarily interested in what they have to say, nor are they likely to generate a high-value leads.

The truth is that the number of followers, likes, comments and views you have means nothing. What really counts is how you are using that network. Like any network, you have to deploy it in the service of your aims. Your network does not hold value until you tap into it—strategically.

You need to have specific goals and reasons for connecting with people that go beyond amassing sheer numbers. Otherwise, you are simply wasting your time.

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