Personal Branding

For many people social media size does matter and the recent focus on social proof is causing many of us to be far too concerned with how big we are! Social media is a powerful tool to build our personal brands, but here is the catch: we can easily fall into the trap of focusing too much on the numbers and not the engagement.

The fact is that social media numbers do give us the immediate validation we are looking for and it is exciting to see our growth. But when our score drops or our followers stop following, we run the risk of feeling inadequate and, well, small! John Falchetto calls this ‘number porn’:

With the online measuring tools at our disposal we now have the ability to indulge in number porn. The bigger the number, the more we get hot and bothered.

Don’t inflate your size!

TwitterWe can always inflate our size by buying ‘fake’ followers who make us appear bigger than we really are. On the surface it might look attractive, but underneath it is just plastic and no substance. Status People have a great tool to measure your ‘real’ size called ‘Fake Follower Check’. Give it a try and see how you measure up!

Let your numbers grow organically. By being natural and authentic you will show that what you have is actually worth looking at. You will create a real community of true relationships and growth with come naturally.

It’s not the size that matters. It’s how you use it!

This is the classic quality versus quantity condundrum:

Don’t be focused so much on how big it is, how much you have, or how many follow you.

Move away from measuring “how many” and focus on WHY your page, post, tweet, is popular:

  • Was it a question you asked that prompted a lot of comments?
  • Did a video you post result in a high number of retweets?
  • Did a thought leader in your sphere of influence mention your post in their blog or tweet?

All of these are indicators of how you use it.

How to “size up” who to follow:

Here are 5 criteria I am using to “size up” the people I decide to follow:

  1. Do you have a photo? I want to connect with a real person not an egg head, silhouette, or cartoon character. No photo? No connection!
  2. What are you tweeting and sharing? If I notice that all you do is promote your size and self-worth, well, time to move on. Remember, successful promotion of your personal brand on social media is 80% listening and 20% speaking.
  3. Who else is following you? I put a lot of trust in thought leaders I respect and value. If people I respect also follow you, then it is practically a done deal.
  4. What is your blog or website about? I always click on the link you put on your profile statement. Does your site/blog resonate with me? Is it something that I am eager to share with others? I want to know more about how you use it, not how big it is!
  5. Are you in my target audience? Robert Caruso, founder of Bundle Post, says, “Follow back your target audience always. Otherwise you are being a celebrity not building relationships”. This one is so obvious, yet can easily be forgotten in the number porn game.

Avoid the red light district of number porn. Nurture the community who respects you for how you use it. What is your follow policy? How do you avoid number porn? Let us know in the comments below.

About Peter Sterlacci

Peter Sterlacci is known as “Japan’s personal branding pioneer" and is one of 15 Master level Certified Personal Branding Strategists in the world. His company, BeYB, is introducing a leading global personal branding methodology to on-the-move careerists in Japan. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSterlacci

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