Who’s Counting? Quantity vs. Quality in Social Media

Mississauga Board of Trade
Mississauga Board of Trade


February 17, 2015


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Photo_Lisa_Apr2012By Lisa Kember

In case you haven’t already heard, the number of fans, followers and connections on social media doesn’t matter that much. It comes down to the old debate — quality versus quantity.

The advocates for quality say it is less about the numbers and more about the amount of influence you have over those followers.  The fans of quantity argue that more fans, followers and connections provide you with more people to hear your message.

Here are the facts.

For any business that focuses on a specific niche market – from a retail store selling collectible doll houses, to a consulting firm focused on advanced manufacturer, to a property management company targeting individual investors – it would be more important to identify and connect with a core group of people interested in your focus area.

But the number of followers are still important. If you go to someone’s Twitter account and see that she’s following nine people and has 900 followers, you may think you should follow her too. But if she was following 900 people and had only nine followers, that changes your perception somewhat!

To be successful on social media, what you really need is a few loyal advocates, people who speak positively on your behalf and promote you to their own followers. This would be better than 1,000 casual followers who do not pay any real attention to your posts.

Only you can determine who your quality connections are. Maybe you’re trying to expand your network or find more connections within your field. You may – possibly – be looking to connect with your past buyers online to leverage the credibility of your customer relationships. The bottom line is that you have to determine your focus and how you can offer value to those contacts. At the end of the day, it’s this value that will help you attract more quality followers.

So on the issue of quality vs. quantity, perhaps the final answer is that it is best to go after both. Develop a social media plan that has strategies designed to reach large “masses” of people, while looking for ways to engage a few followers and fans in a strategic way.

And that brings us full circle on the issue of quality vs. quantity. Effective social media marketing is about engagement.  The more you engage with people on social media, the less you speak “at” them. This leads to more quality connections.

Lisa Kember is the Regional Director for Constant Contact in Eastern Canada. She can be reached at lkember@constantcontact.com

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Mississauga Board of Trade
Mississauga Board of Trade
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