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I am not a number!

Like most independent marketing Consultants, I belong to a number of online forums where businesses advertise for freelancers to help with their social media.

Many of the requests for proposals go something like this:

"Get 4K American Likes on Facebook."

"Get me 1,000 likes on Instagram!"

"I need 3K Followers on Twitter."

Sound familiar? I’ve got to be honest, these subject lines drive me crazy. They completely diminish the value of professional, online marketing.

Organic growth is always healthy

We all know the process of gaining new, quality Fans or Followers takes time, so do we really imagine that seeing a massive peak in the number of Facebook Likes on our business page is really real and going to add long-term value to our online community? Organic growth may be slow, but it's steady – and long-term, it wins the race.

Trying to quickly acquire massive audiences is like going to a huge party, and shouting at the top of your voice that everyone there is your friend (I already feel embarrassed!) The chances are that only one or two people in a hundred will stand out as ones you'll stay in touch with after the great party. You know, the ones you feel a true connection with. Who share a common interest. Who excite you. Who make you laugh out loud. These are the type of people we really want to engage with using social media. The ones we can give something back to. Who we understand. Who we can provide value to. It all comes down to 4 key steps, none of which can be rushed:

Like me.

Know me.

Trust me.

Want me.

Creative content creates customers

If you find my content interesting, because it resonates with your current or future needs, you'll follow or like me. By regularly sharing compelling content, you get to know more about my business and how we might help you. After some time, you'll hopefully decide that you like what we have to say. You slowly start to trust our brand and what it represents. But like all relationships, the time it takes for each individual to go through that process is different. Some of us trust easily, others need a lot more convincing. Lastly, we hope that our customers will want us! That they’ll try out our products and services. Of course, if we don't deliver the goods and we disappoint, we'll go tumbling back to an earlier stage in the relationship – having to build up the trust again. Or maybe not even getting a second chance.

So when people ask me, how many Likes will you get me? How many sales will I make? I can't honestly give you a number. Because I can't control the speed of how quickly each individual person will move from 'Like Me' to 'Want Me'. What I absolutely can do (assuming that I Like and Trust your business too), is share content that will make your customers want to find out more about you, want to keep in touch with your updates and support you. I'd rather build an audience of 300 quality Fans on Facebook, with a high percentage of people who regularly engage with the content by Liking, Sharing and Commenting. Because those are your 3R customers: they will Remember you, Refer you and Remain with you.

Attract the right customers first

Do you want loyal, long-term relationships with your customers? Those are the ones I can help you foster. Your potential customers are individuals, not numbers. By all means we can use measurements to identify what's the most useful content for your customers, but the only number to use to refer to your customers is number one. With good reason, that's the only number I’ll commit to.

Sunday, 8th March 2015
Vanessa Hunt

Written by Vanessa Hunt

Vanessa worked as an independent CRM Consultant from 2006, before establishing Vanessa Hunt Consulting Ltd in January 2010. She's held training and management positions in software organisations and consultancies such as Maximizer Software Ltd, McAfee, Detica and CSC Computer Sciences. With twenty years' experience in training, marketing and CRM, she's very much at home in anything martech, CRM or cloud related. When she's not in the classroom in heels, she's outdoors in muddy boots!

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