There’s a well-documented obsession with “big numbers” in social media. Whenever the mass media does a story on Twitter, they usually mention how many followers each person has. More is better, right? Well… I say that if Pete Cashmore (@mashable) has 1,000,000 followers – that’s quite impressive and valuable – for him.
But if you are intent on climbing higher on the social media ladder, you’ve gotta decide who is most important and strategically valuable — for you — to spend your limited time interacting with.
Reaching out to the less-connected “little guy” has many big advantages. image: schlag
Reaching out to all the 4, 5 and 6 figure “big guys” isn’t necessarily the best strategy for making new friends and partnerships. In fact, many of them are too swamped for you to expect anything beyond a flakey, surface-level relationship – if you can get their attention at all.
Benefits of Befriending Less Popular Users:
If someone just started out last month and only has 87 followers, many people would automatically pass them over as insignificant. I personally think that’s a huge mistake, as the “little guys” can be some of the most valuable people to invest your time in. Here’s why:
- The “little guy” is more likely to see your updates.
- They “little guy” usually has more time to interact.
- The “little guy” will never forget you when they become “big” and popular online
@guykawasaki and @kevinrose are powerful players, but unless you end up either investing in their companies or sleeping with them… there’s only a slim chance that they’ll personally see your message. Even if someone is “only” following 4,000… they may well miss most of your updates.
She isn’t overloaded with links and requests yet, and is far more likely to have a spare moment to reply to you, leave a comment on your blog, or Digg your stories.
New users are starved for help and attention. If you reach out to a newbie and help them figure it out, you’ll stay in their “inner circle” for life.
When I go to the Twitter directory We Follow to find new friends, I feel they have it backwards. At the top they show the “power networkers” with tens of thousands of followers. I skip those people – because I know they’re probably too slammed to pay any attention to me – and go right to the back of the list. There’s where I like to find friends who probably have to time to chat, or extra space on their screens and RSS readers.
Connecting with influential people is also important… but my own strategy is to spend about 30% of my time establishing and maintaining my relationships with “bigger name” people, and 70% of it reaching out to newer people who seem like they “get it.”
I’ll invest time in anyone who shows promise and potential, let the relationships form… and then watch as my “social garden” blooms in a dazzling variety of colors and connections.
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Brett Borders, the author of this article, is a professional copywriter who specializes in increasing website sales and signup rates. I'm available now to write for your website and optimize it for maximum sales and profits. Please contact me now for a free consultation.