Sometimes I wonder to myself, how did that person get 1640 likes on that instagram post? How did they get 16,000 followers? How did their story reach so many people? I don’t ever get traffic like that for my podcasts, my blog, my instagram posts or the like. I don’t know what they are doing to get that many followers on social media or other online platforms.
It occurred to me that perhaps I don’t understand the ways of social media now days. After all, I am from the end of generation X and the beginning of the millenials. The internet was invented when I was about 20 years old. I am not the technologically savvy social media guru my daughter is. I don’t really understand the ways to get followers. I remember her having 10,000 followers on Twitter when she was 16 years old and literally being “Twitter famous”. I also remember the hours she spent on Twitter replying to and retweeting her followers to make them know she was actively engaged in their ‘community’.
I guess this is what I recall the most about her Twitter fame. She was literally on the internet 18 hours a day engaging her followers and trying to tweet content they would want to see and basically entertaining them. She was into it at first, but after a few months, it became somewhat of a burden. She feared losing followers if she ducked off the internet or missed a popular tweet. It was demanding and grueling.
When I look at the crowd on the internet now days, I feel like there is a lot less sincere followers than I had originally imagined. Yes, we all have our friends and family and associates that may follow us and there may even be those that are truly interested in our posts and tweets on a sincere level. But then I think there are a ton of followers who are just there to be entertained for free. After all, we all turn to the internet for a wide variety of reasons: to be informed, to be educated, to be in the know, to be connected, and also to be entertained. I guess I am late in figuring out the last of these reasons. I did not completely understand what gaining a following really was all about. Naively, I just thought it was a bunch of like minded people who enjoyed what you post.
I think on some level, that is true. However, I do think there is also a darker side to gaining “fame” online. It is the world of satisfying the crowd with content they want at the expense of you being the one to meet their demands and if you don’t, you lose the following. It becomes a type of free service you provide to those willing to “like, share, comment, repost” your content. They are your bridge for free advertising and you are their source of entertainment. At least, in some cases this true. Not all.
It is a kind of relationship you have with these followers on your social media that develops. They agree to broadcast to the world that they “like” what you share and you agree to give them content they will like. It’s a simple contractual arrangement if you look at it like that, but what about when they decide your content is no longer worth their time? What happens then? In the simplest way, you lose their following, but it’s a type of demand placed on you with a promise of social media fame being on the line that can drive you to spend your entire day meeting the demands of the crowd.
My question is, is it worth it? The hours and days you spend online providing content that the masses want to follow you to receive and then share, is it worth it for social media fame? Some would automatically say yes. My thoughts are more toward does it lead to free advertising of a product or idea you are trying to sell online, and if it does, does that in turn lead to actual sales? I have been for some time contemplating the idea of a presence on social media for my small business and am constantly bombarded with free classes on how to generate sales by developing a pinterest site, a instagram professional site, a email list, a webinar series, a so forth and so on.
My thought when I see all these people teaching me how to use social media to sell my products online instantly jump to a pyramid scheme. I wondered, if everyone is teaching me how to sell my stuff online instead of selling anything other than the idea of how to sell online, is there really any success at social media advertising or is the only thing that people are successfully selling being the idea of how to successfully sell? It seems everyone has a free course to get if you only give them your email address where you become exhausted by spam emails telling you how to sell. Reminds me of the days when they use to claim you could make a ton of money stuffing envelopes, but what you were stuffing into them was claims to being able to make a ton of money stuffing envelopes.
I’m not a business or economic person, nor am I an advertising genius or technical person. To be honest, my careers have always been in the service industry and I haven’t ever been much of a con-artist or understood what motivates people to buy or purchase things, or how to get them to do anything other than what they want to do. I have never understood that aspect of human interaction and basically wanted to have little interaction with people when it came to sales. So perhaps I am just in the dark when it comes to things like social media advertising, but I am left wondering, does it work? Is there a genuine benefit to using it when you have a small craft business that you want to get going?
It seems that everyone has the answer when it comes to this question and if I would only just give them x amount of dollars, I too could have all the answers on how to sell on social media. The problem is, I think I may have to sell the idea of how to sell in order for it to sell.
Just one writer’s observations.