Even despite the fact that in the last year, it felt like trends such as “digital detox” have become more popular and practiced more widely than before, it is still crucial for many businesses to have a huge audience on social media. Especially small and medium sized businesses try to gain as many fans on the internet as possible – which is of course a good thing. Social media can help smaller businesses to gain interest from all over the world and to be more memorable. But in most cases, it is important to keep some things in mind to prevent yourself from putting too much hope in likes and followers and from overrating your social media reach.
The sad truth is that a high number of followers does not mean that your content will actually reach them. For the last years, Facebook and Instagram for example have been working on and integrating features and algorithms that are helping users to see more of the things they are interested first. That means that if your followers have not concretely marked you as their priority or the program thinks that there are way more interesting things for them to see, you can create great content but it will not help you in any way.
Of course, if you are lucky and you are prioritized by the algorithm you will gain more traffic than many other businesses. But importunely, in most cases news about friends or celebrities will show up first on your followers’ timeline. And if there is only a small chance that your content will be seen in the first place, it is also unlikely that your (potential) costumer will comment anything and you will also show up in their friend’s, timeline which would gain you a wider reach. Additionally, it will be hard to have a constructive engagement with your “fanbase” that way.
The fact that quantity does not say anything about quality does not only concern the question how fans will actually engage with your business online. If you are not an online seller or some similar business which only operates from the distance, social media reach will never be as helpful as having a local fanbase. It is good to have recognition value through social media and work on your brand, but often the time and money invested in social media could be not worth it. In most cases, you should really thing about whether local or online fans will bring you better chances to build a stable fanbase. So, if you really want some constructive and direct engagement with potential customers, sometimes it might be better to invest in different marketing strategies: “Old school” marketing such as posters or exhibiting at trade fairs are only two of many alternatives.