The amount of people who are blinded by the number of followers and “likes” someone has still baffles me. Being someone who has a sales background, I understand how important “numbers” and metrics can be; but when it comes to social media, it’s imperative that we shift our focus. Now, before fire comes out of your ears, allow me to explain.

I recently came across an article that revealed a website that allows someone to check the status of the followers they have. Then I came across another article that revealed how selling Twitter followers has become big business. When I read these, I couldn’t believe that there are people out there who are willing to deceive their audience by buying followers. So, here’s what I did. I logged into this website and began to plug in twitter handles of people that I follow, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a person, who will remain nameless, that I follow who has over 10k followers, but the website revealed that 85% of them are fake accounts. There was another twitter person that had similar results. I was extremely shocked by this.

It’s amazing how our society focuses so much on numbers to where people feel the need to fake their performance. We focus too much on quantity as oppose to quality and people feel a need to act in an unethical manner to gain approval of others. It’s sickening and a practice that you will NEVER see me partake in.

What prompted me to write about this topic was that as I engaged with potential clients, I’ve had a couple people question my number of followers. At this present time, as I type this post, I sit at 336 Twitter followers, and I’m not ashamed at that number at all. Let me shed light on why I’m not ashamed. My number is AUTHENTIC. I average about 20 new followers a week just by being myself. I’m not promoting a brand, I’m not pushing a product or service, my strategy is to simply be myself. My Twitter handle is my name, so I am not going to be anything but me on there. I REFUSE to buy followers just so that I can appear to know what I’m talking about. That’s what my posts and events are for. Those followers do not equate to sales or engagement. Those fake accounts can’t retweet my tweets, they don’t @mention me, they’re simply a number.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone with over 10k followers are fake, but I am saying that it’s not all about the number. I follow people with a high number of followers and those accounts are over 90% real. Those people have also been active and engaging on Twitter for over 5 years as well. It takes time to build a large and organic following, unless you’re some celebrity or icon with a large amount of exposure in some other media form.

My point is that in order to gain a high number of ORGANIC followers, you MUST engage. You MUST post. You MUST interact and speak to your followers directly. I’ve seen too many small businesses who throw up a Twitter profile and expect people to follow. I’ve also seen people who link their Facebook page to their Twitter and expect people to follow. Why follow you on Twitter, which is tied to you Facebook, when they can just follow you on Facebook???

Remember, people will do business with people they like. People will do business with brands they like. People will do business with those who care. Show you care by engaging with your audience. If you can’t and it’s too much on your plate, then INVEST in someone who can help you in that area. Times are hard out here. Do NOT leave any money on the table. Invest in your audience by engaging.